Without help from the West, Ukraine may cease to exist. The fight between Kyiv and Moscow is like David and Goliath, only the wave and the stone necessary to overthrow the giant embodied in the figure of the pseudo-tsar, Vladimir Putindepend on the relations of the Government of the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, with his allies. After a week of reproaches between neighboring countries, especially Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, over the grain crisis, it has become clear that trade disagreements could jeopardize the European alliance against the Kremlin.
Fortunately for the Kyiv Government, tensions are beginning to dissipate thanks to initiatives such as that of the Minister of Defense of the Czech Republic, Jana Cernochova, which on Friday urged Ukraine and Poland to “apologize to each other,” despite making it clear that Zelensky’s complaint to the World Trade Organization against the three dissenting European states, which announced a unilateral restriction on Ukrainian grain , as well as his statements at the UN Assembly against Poland were “really counterproductive.” For this reason, Cernochova insisted that “the parties put pride aside, sit down at the negotiating table, take a breath and move forward. Otherwise, we will all lose.
The Czech position is the same as that shared by Lithuania, one of the countries bordering Russia and its ally Belarus that can feel the breath of the war beast that sits on the throne of the Kremlin. “Ukraine and Poland have to resolve their differences,” the Lithuanian president wrote on his social networks. Gitan Nauseda. In addition, he said that his country is willing to “facilitate” dialogue between the parties.
In this regard, the European Union announced this week that it is preparing to recommend that accession talks be launched with Ukraine, thus offering a boost to Kyiv in its attempt to ensure that allies continue their military and financial support. However, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawieckiwho announced on Wednesday that his country would stop arming Ukraine, continues his threatening tone: “I want to tell Zelensky to never insult the Poles again,” he said during an election rally for his party, the far-right PiS.
As is happening in the campaign for the Polish elections, where “relations between both countries have become hostages,” according to what he indicated. Piotr Buras, a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations based in Warsaw, Slovakia is mired in an electoral process that does not benefit Ukraine either. The two-time prime minister of that country, Robert Ficois once again the favorite to win Parliament with his left-wing populist party Smer, which has adopted a pro-Russian stance by promising to “reverse Slovakia’s military and political support if elected in the September 30 elections,” according to Associated Press.
For his part, the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, has put all his efforts to reduce the tension between both countries: «I do not believe that the political dispute will lead to a collapse of relations. “This is an issue that we must resolve between us.” A position that is also shared by his Foreign Minister, Zbigniew Rau, who assured on Saturday that, as a consequence of the conflict with Russia, “he wants to see the emergence of a strong Ukrainian State with a vibrant economy.” Likewise, he insisted that Warsaw “will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO and the EU.”
However, Rau admitted that the dispute has produced “a radical change in the perception of Polish public opinion”, which is why a “titanic” diplomatic effort is being made. Meanwhile, Russia is rubbing its hands against any gap in tension that could harm Ukraine. “We predict that friction between Warsaw and Kyiv,” which he described as the main centers of Russophobia, “will increase and, over time, so will other European capitals. This is inevitable,” according to the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. In addition, Putin’s spokesperson assured that, “of course, we are watching events closely.”
Regarding the benefits for Moscow, President Zelensky emphasized during his visit to Canada that “either you help Ukraine, or you help Russia. In this war there are no half measures. By weakening aid to Ukraine, you will strengthen Russia. And, given what we have seen, what can we expect from a powerful Russia? For this reason, the Ukrainian leader insisted that “if someone wants to take that risk, go ahead, but, to be frank, we must fight for freedom, democracy and human rights.” Zelensky expressed his gratitude to the partner countries that help Ukraine with weapons and financing, although he recalled that in that fight they pay “the highest price”, referring to civilian and military casualties.
The discrepancies and tensions arising from the grain crisis have made it evident that, in the long term, if Ukraine wants to have the weapons necessary to win the war, it has to stop depending exclusively on military support from the West and develop its own arms industry. Something fundamental after almost twenty months of a conflict with a combat front of more than 1,000 kilometers, where the Ukrainian economic and industrial capacity has been devastated.
Ukraine and the United States agreed on Friday to launch “joint weapons production that will allow Kyiv to develop its own air defense systems,” among other products, according to Zelensky at the end of his American tour. For this plan to be effective, the country’s main arms production company, Ukroboronprom, will have to make fundamental changes to increase its transparency and production capacity.
However, both this cooperation plan and any future agreement are not 100% guaranteed. At the moment, the Administration of Joe Biden, the Democratic Party and most congressional leaders still support aid to Ukraine. In fact, on Friday the White House approved a new aid package of $325 million, as well as confirmed the shipment of long-range missiles (ATACMS), capable of traveling a distance of 300 kilometers, which Kyiv considers essential to defend itself from Russian missile launchers.
But what will happen if the Republicans win in the November 2024 elections? Taking into account the opinion of Donald Trump y Ron DeSantiswho have publicly stated that they want the United States to stop sending weapons to Ukraine, their victory would do nothing good for Kyiv’s military and economic needs.