Relations between Russia and Ukraine continue to deteriorate rapidly. To the point where Russia and other European countries are preparing for an imminent war. Negotiations between Russia and the United States on the Ukrainian question have not led to a breakthrough.
Even the diplomats, who nevertheless have a reputation for negotiating until the last minute, are beginning to lose hope. This is, among others, the case of the United States Ambassador to the Organization for European Security and Cooperation or even the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland. Russian diplomats are equally disappointed with the lack of results of the negotiations.
What are the new signs that announce an armed conflict?
Russia's attack on Ukraine seems to have already begun. The Ukrainian government announced that 70 government sites across the country had been attacked. On the screens of people who wanted to use these sites, the hackers displayed this message: “Be scared and expect the worst”. The message added that the Ukrainians' personal data had been hacked and was now unrecoverable. Although the proof has not been established, it is logical to suspect Russia of this attack. Worse, the Russian government has threatened to adopt “military-technical” measures, to use its terms, if the diplomatic talks do not lead. And Moscow is shipping more heavy equipment to Ukraine's border.
Is Putin bluffing?
It's hard to know if Vladimir Putin is bluffing. Hacking, harsh language and the strengthening of the military can be understood as levers intended to make the Americans and their allies give in. But the Americans still have to have something to give up. In addition to a reduction in NATO personnel in Eastern Europe, a reduction that would suit the Americans, who could thus move some of their troops to their bases in East Asia, Joe Biden has not not much to offer Putin. Biden cannot guarantee that Ukraine will never enter NATO, if only to weaken himself further in American public opinion.
< strong>In the event of an invasion, would the United States and its allies send troops to Ukraine?
It is unlikely that the United States will send massive troops to Ukraine. The Ukrainians could no doubt count on a few elite units, intended among other things for training in the Ukrainian army. But the US government, by announcing economic sanctions rather than a military response, has somehow pre-delimited its action in the conflict. This makes a Russian military operation that much easier.
What can Europe do?
European countries are watching helplessly the beginnings of a new war in Ukraine. A standing Europe would have sent troops to support the Ukrainian army. But no European country will do so, for various reasons, including to ease relations with Russia.
Would Russia win a war against Ukraine?
In the short term, it is likely that Russian troops would achieve victory. But in the longer term, Russia will lose. It will lose because Russian troops will not be able to stay in Ukraine for more than a few years, because the Americans and their allies will impose sanctions on Russia that will undermine it from within, and finally, because Vladimir Putin will not live forever.