Nadezhda Alekseeva & Alena Medvedeva
Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said that he would withdraw the Croatian military from the NATO contingent in Eastern Europe if an armed conflict breaks out between Russia and Ukraine. The politician blamed the crisis in eastern Europe on Washington, which, according to him, is behaving inconsistently and dangerously. The position of the Croatian leader has already provoked a sharp reaction from Kiev: the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry demanded a “public refutation” from Zagreb. At the same time, other NATO countries are not going to participate in a possible conflict on Ukrainian territory either; so far only the Czech Republic is considering such a possibility. According to experts, if hostilities are nevertheless provoked, Kiev will be left without real support from “partners”. And some Ukrainian politicians understand this even now.
Croatia will withdraw its troops from the NATO contingent in Eastern Europe in the event of a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, President of the Republic Zoran Milanovic said , speaking on national television.
“I, the commander-in-chief of the Croatian army, are watching statements according to which NATO – not a separate state, not the United States – is increasing its presence and sending some reconnaissance ships. We have nothing to do with this and will not have anything, I guarantee it, ”TASS quotes the words of the politician.
Zagreb will not only not send its military to the region, but, on the contrary, “will recall everyone, to the last Croatian soldier,” in the event of an escalation, the Croatian leader stressed.
Milanovic noted that this decision is not related to Ukraine or Russia, but due to “the dynamics of American domestic politics, namely Joe Biden and his administration.” The Croatian leader explained that he supported the coming to power of this administration in the United States, but now he sees “inconsistency and, in fact, dangerous behavior” in matters of international security on the part of the White House.
Kiev reacted to the wo-rds of the Croatian Presi-dent. The Ministry of For-eign Affairs of Ukraine su-mmoned the Ambassador of the Republic Anitsa D-zhamich. The Foreign M-inistry said that Milan-ovich’s remarks “offend the memory of Ukrainians who gave their lives for the Eu-ropean future” of the country. The ministry even dema-nded a “public denial of these offensive statements” as well as confirmation that such a thing would not happen again in the future. “Zoran Milanovic’s statements relay the narratives of Russian propaganda,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stressed.
According to Timofey Bordachev, director of the HSE Center for Comprehensive European Studies, the Croatian President’s statement is just the tip of the iceberg. “European politicians are well aware that Washington is simply trying to drag Europe into the conflict. Therefore, each European country is now trying to play its own game. For example, Germany and France are trying to stay away from this story, but the President of Croatia just openly expressed what many are thinking now, ”the expert said in an interview with RT.
“Saving the American Monopoly”
Earlier it became known about NATO’s plans to build up its forces in Eastern Europe because of Russia’s military potential on the border with Ukraine.
“NATO Allies are putting forces on alert and deploying additional ships and fighters to NATO deployment sites in Eastern Europe, thus strengthening Allied deterrence and def-ense capabilities,” the NAT-O website said in a statement. In particular, the Pentagon may send about 5,000 military personnel to the region, such information was previously disseminated by the American media. Preparations are being made in the context of a propaganda campaign centered on allegations of Russia’s allegedly impending “invasion” of Ukraine. The White House even prepared 18 action scenarios for this case, which was announced in an interview with the Financial Times in mid-January by Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland. According to Vladimir Shapovalov, deputy director of the Institute of History and Politics of the Moscow State Pedagogical University, the United States is trying to use both European NATO allies and Ukraine to expand its influence.
“The entire policy of the White House is aimed at maintaining the American monopoly on major geopolitical decision-making by Europe and other American allies. And Russia interferes with these plans of the American leadership, opposing the unipolar world order. It is to inflict damage on Russia that the United States is trying to create a zone of controlled chaos in Ukraine, to destabilize the situation, ”the expert noted in a commentary to RT. At the same time, the North Atlantic Alliance do-es not plan to directly enter into a potential conflict, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with CNN.
“NATO will not send its combat troops to Ukraine, but we must be sure that there are no misunderstandings about our readiness and our obligation to protect all allies, especially in the eastern part of the alliance,” Stoltenberg said.
Earlier, the head of the White House, Joe Biden, also reported that Washington would not send its military to Ukraine in the event of an armed escalation in the region.
London does not plan to fight either. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, answering a question about whether British troops would be sent to Ukraine to carry out combat missions, said that such a possibility was small. The Minister recalled that London helped in the training of 50 thousand Ukrainian troops, and also supplied defensive weapons to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Recently, British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab expressed a similar position. The politician called the dispatch of British troops a “highly unlikely” event.
“But we can report that we are already ready and participating in training programs aimed at assisting Ukrainians in matters of self-defense, that’s for sure,” he added.
According to Timofey Bordachev, the British authorities are trying to provoke a war between Russia and Ukraine, while remaining on the sidelines.
“The British authorities cannot offer their citizens to take part in such a conflict – this is clearly not in the interests of the country,” the expert added.
At the same time, Kiev has special hopes for London: earlier, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadym Prystaiko, said that in the event of a military conflict, Kiev is ready to seek direct military support from the British leadership.
“If the threat is real, if there is a start of active operations, we will ask for anything, including British military personnel on our territories,” the diplomat said in an interview with the Ukrainian UATV channel. At the same time, Prystaiko noted that a real war could be a disaster for Ukraine and “even for Russia.” Therefore, Kiev would like to avoid a direct military confrontation, although this “may happen.”
In an interview with Sky News, the Ukrainian diplomat even stated that he believes in an imminent military clash between Ukraine and Russia.
“I really believe (that this will happen. – RT ), this will not be the first time. We will fight until we die; unfortunately, many people will die in our country, but we will try to defeat as many Russians as possible from those who come,” the ambassador said.
If such a scenario develops, the Czech Republic may enter the war on the side of Ukraine – this was not ruled out by the head of the Ministry of Defense of the republic, Yana Chernokhova.
“If the Czech Republic is asked to send soldiers to Ukraine, we are ready to consider it. We have the will to help Ukraine,” she said in an interview with Nezávislý Deník.
At the same time, Berlin clearly takes a different position: according to The Wall Street Journal, Germany had previously blocked the supply of German-made weapons from Estonia to Ukraine.
This caused indignation in Kiev, Vadym Prystaiko severely criticized Berlin for such an approach.
“Among the NATO member states, Germany is the last one from whom I would expect such statements; very many Ukrainians still remember what Germany did in our part of the planet, especially in Ukraine. She is the last person from whom I would listen to the words that Ukraine cannot have weapons, ”said the Ukrainian ambassador.
Earlier, the head of the German Foreign Ministry, Annalena Burbock, urged “not to mix” Ukrainian territory with the territory of NATO countries.
“In such a critical situation, it is extremely important to take a differentiated approach to measures. As an alliance, we stand in solidarity with Ukraine. But you can’t mix the territory of the alliance and Ukraine here, ”TASS quotes Burbock.
At the same time, not everyone in Kiev shares the propaganda rhetoric about the “Russian threat.” So, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov , appealed to the media with an appeal not to sow panic and “turn down the heat”.
According to Timofey Bordachev, Kiev understands that if the Ukrainian side starts a military conflict in the Donbass or takes some action against Russia, “European countries will try to distance themselves from confrontation, following the example of Croatia.” A similar point of view is shared by Vladimir Shapovalov. According to him, although Kiev claims the FRG and other European countries for insufficient support, in reality, for Ukraine, such a position of the European countries should be a sign that the Ukrainian side will be left alone with Russia if it unleashes a military conflict with it. And this is despite the fact that now the United States and its European partners, such as the United Kingdom, are conducting an active information campaign designed to justify Ukraine’s military actions in the Donbass, Shapovalov added.
“Russia does not have the plans that they are trying to attribute to it. And in Europe, many people also understand this, so the statement of the President of Croatia is quite typical. Most likely, many other NATO member countries will try to take a similar position. And this situation speaks of a lack of unity within the alliance, which expanded uncontrollably after the collapse of the USSR, ”summed up the expert.