September 29, 2022

What Happened on Day 77 of the War in Ukraine

8 min read

LONDON – The West has united much faster and more strongly against Russia’s war against Ukraine than almost anyone expected. But as the war escalates into a protracted conflict that could last months or years, it is testing the resolve of Western nations, with European and US officials questioning whether the growing economic losses are time consuming. At the same time, it will destroy their unity.

So far, the cracks are mostly superficial: Hungary’s refusal to sign the Russian oil embargo thwarts the EU’s attempt to impose sanctions on the continent. Tensions in Paris with the Biden administration’s aggressive goal of militarily weakening Russian President Vladimir V. Putin; Concerned President Biden blamed Putin’s rise in prices on skyrocketing food and gas prices.

Along with these tensions, there are further signs of solidarity: as Finland and Sweden approached NATO on Wednesday, Britain offered security assurances to both countries to stand up to the Russian threat. In Washington, the House voted 57 to 368 to one. About ً 40 billion aid package For Ukraine

Despite this, Russian tanks were patrolling the Ukrainian border only 76 days ago, which is tantamount to blinking in the scheme of the perpetual wars of history. As the fighting intensifies, the effects on supply chains, energy pipelines and agricultural crops will be felt more intensely on gas pumps and supermarket shelves.

Mr Putin, some experts say, is predicting that the West will grow tired before Russia can wage a long twilight struggle over Ukraine’s disputed Donbas region, especially if the price of continued Western support is turbulent. Charged inflation, energy disruption, public finances and declining. Tired population.

Credit …Funbar and Rally for the New York Times

The Biden administration’s director of national intelligence, Aurel de Haines, dismissed those suspicions Tuesday, warning senators that Mr. Putin was digging for a long siege and that “perhaps food shortages, inflation and The United States and the European Union are confident in their commitment to energy.

Mr Biden on Wednesday Traveled to a farm in Kankaki, Ill.To make the case that Mr Putin’s war was responsible for the food pressures and cost-of-living pressures on American families, it is a clear sign that his steadfast support for Ukraine – a policy that Has gained bilateral support in Washington – can take. A political price.

Mr Putin is facing his own domestic pressures, which were evident in his tone of voice. During a speech In Moscow’s Red Square on Monday, there were no calls for large-scale mobilization and no threats to escalate the conflict. But he also made it clear that Russia’s campaign to rid its neighbor of “torturers, death squads and Nazis” had no end in sight.

Fighting on the ground in Ukraine shows signs of becoming a protracted war. A day after Ukraine retaliated by ousting Russian forces from a cluster of towns northeast of Kharkiv, the region’s governor said on Wednesday that Ukraine’s efforts had pushed Moscow’s forces out of the city. “They have been chased away, which has given them less opportunity to shoot.” At the regional center. “

Credit …Lynsey Addario for the New York Times

Ukraine’s apparent success in pushing Russian troops out of Kharkiv – its second-largest city, about 20 miles from the Russian border – has played a key role in reducing shelling in recent days, even While Russia is advancing along parts of the front line in Donbass. Territory of Eastern Ukraine.

It is noteworthy that Ukraine will find itself in an ongoing war, almost three months after the full invasion by Russia. Analysts point out that a protracted war will increase the resources of the Russian military, which has already suffered heavy losses of men and machinery. In light of this, some argue that the West should take advantage of the situation by tightening economic pressure on Moscow.

“I’m worried about Western fatigue,” he said Michael A. McFall“That’s why the leaders of the free world need to do more to end the war,” said the former US ambassador to Russia.

He said the United States and the European Union should immediately impose a full range of tough sanctions, instead of throwing them into the rising tide, as they have done so far. He said Western countries had come closer to such a comprehensive strategy with military aid, which had helped the Ukrainians stop the Russians.

Credit …Funbar and Rally for the New York Times

But blocking European oil embargo talks shows the limitations of this approach when it comes to Russia’s energy supply. Ambassador of the European Union Another fruitless meeting took place. In Brussels on Wednesday, a member of the bloc failed to break Hungary’s fierce resistance.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has a warm relationship with Mr Putin and has been at loggerheads with Brussels, argued that he had thwarted hopes of a show of unity by blocking the latest move. Russian oil will be banned. Equivalent to an “atom bomb” for the Hungarian economy.

Mr Orban has continued to resist, even after concessions that would give Hungary more time to free itself from the fierce lobbying of Russian oil and other leaders. European Commission President Arsula van der Leyen traveled to Budapest to try to influence him when he was telephoned by President Emmanuel Macron.

“We will only support this proposal if Brussels proposes a solution to the problem that Brussels has created,” said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Cjagarto. Will cost

In Washington, Mr Biden has had little difficulty finding support for military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The House vote in favor of a massive aid package showed how the barbarism of the war has overcome the right and left-wing resistance to US intervention in military conflicts abroad.

And yet rising food and fuel prices, fueled by the war, are a real threat to Mr Biden. Food prices rose 0.9 percent in April from a month earlier, according to data released on Wednesday. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Allen said the administration was “deeply concerned about the global food security,” adding that 275 million people worldwide face malnutrition.

Credit …Doug Mills / New York Times

Mr Putin told farmers in Illinois that “Putin’s war has cut off vital sources of food.” “Our farmers are helping on both fronts, reducing the cost of food at home and increasing production, and providing food to the world in need.”

It remains to be seen whether the United States can increase agricultural production enough to reduce the shortage. But a farm visit came as Mr Biden sought to reassure Americans that the White House was taking price increases seriously, under pressure from the sharpest inflation in 40 years.

While Mr Putin is under tremendous pressure – from war casualties to the economic pain caused by sanctions – he is exploiting nationalist sentiment, which some analysts have noted suggests he is in power. There will be an opportunity to live.

The Kremlin made the announcement on Wednesday. It could join the strategically important region of Kherson in southern Ukraine.Occupying officials have said they will make a formal request to Mr Putin to annex his territory to Russia.

Francis Fukuyama, a political scientist at Stanford University, said: “They are influenced by powerful nationalism, for which they are prepared to suffer extraordinary economic losses.” Still, he added, the West’s muscular reaction There could be a moment of change in the self-confidence of democracy.

Credit …David Gutenfelder for the New York Times

For some Europeans, the United States may be moving too far. French diplomats with ties to Mr Macron described US policy as primarily aimed at arming Ukraine and maintaining indefinite sanctions on Russia. He said France wanted to put more pressure on Mr Putin to negotiate because there was no other way to achieve lasting European security.

Other analysts say the risks to the Western alliance are too great. The move by Finland and Sweden to join NATO not only shows that the alliance is coming together, but also that its center of gravity is moving east.

Even before the invasion of Ukraine, Mr Putin had warned those countries that they would face “retaliation” if they joined NATO. During a visit to Stockholm, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that the United Kingdom sign a declaration of mutual security with Sweden – in which the two countries pledge to help each other if they If they face a military threat or a natural disaster, they will deal with it.

Mr Johnson told Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson that “sovereign nations should be free to make these decisions without fear, influence or threat of reprisals.” “The announcement will allow us to further share intelligence, strengthen our military exercises and advance our joint technological advancement,” he said.

Credit …Pool photo by Frank Augustine

Despite Germany’s ambiguity about cutting off Russian gas, it seems unlikely that it will back down from its historic commitment to increase military spending. On Wednesday, Germany began training the first class of Ukrainian gun crews on the use of self-propelled Howitzers in West Germany. The German military plans to donate seven heavy weapons to Ukraine.

Elliott A. Cohen, a political scientist who served in the State Department during the George W. Bush administration, said that “the Russians, because of their barbarism, continue to produce images and news that will help the Western alliance.” “If the Ukrainians continue to succeed, I think people will encourage them.”

Reporting was supported by Matina Stevis Gardnev From Brussels, Roger Cohen From Paris, Matthew Empok Big And Cora Engelbercht From London, Anna Swanson And Alan Report From Washington, Ivan Nichipurenko From Tbilisi, Georgia, and Christopher F. Schutz. From Berlin

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