Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev Photo:VCG
It started as a tight bond that the two sides feel deep emotion toward each other. In less than five months, the strong emotion has given way to a feeling of tiredness.
Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Security Council deputy chairman, suggested on Telegram on Saturday that the “stormy romance” between Europeans and Ukrainians is coming to an end. According to him, Europe is tired of refugees, as well as the topic of the Ukraine crisis.
Medvedev’s remarks mirror an evolving situation between Ukraine and Europe. Europe has provided aid to Ukraine, including accepting Ukrainian refugees and offering military assistance. But there is no sign of a ceasefire in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and ordinary people in many European countries have suffered from a number of social issues triggered by a record high inflation and a flood of refugees fleeing conflict in Ukraine, said Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator. Furthermore, many Europeans think it is difficult to meet the constant demands from Ukraine for aid.
Against this backdrop, many Europeans increasingly see Ukraine as their burden, which they feel difficult to carry on. They are starting to feel Ukraine fatigue or war fatigue, which means the “honeymoon” between Europe and Ukraine is drawing to a close, said Song.
“It wouldn’t be bad if Ukrainians remembered their former love for the inexperienced guy in the green shirt. And, for their own good, they should end that marriage forever as soon as possible,” added Medvedev.
Both sides are in an awkward situation. Apparently, NATO will not grant Ukraine membership. Except for EU candidate status, Ukraine has gained little in its relationship with Europe. Europe’s snobbish manner toward Ukraine means that they are not soulmates. When there is growing weariness against Ukraine within Europe, it is time that Kiev ceases its unrequited love.
Many Europeans’ war-weary sentiment has attracted wide attention. If the military conflict continues and expands, Europe will be forcibly involved in a war, which regional countries are reluctant to see. Additionally, more Europeans feel antipathy against Washington’s hegemony and underline Europe’s strategic autonomy. If the war is prolonged, it will arouse a confrontation between Russia and NATO. In that case, it would mean a nuclear war in Europe cannot be ruled out.
Song noted that many European countries have been aware that in regard to the Ukraine crisis, although the US has provided some assistance, it has done nothing. What the US has done is primarily to exploit Ukraine to contain Russia, and control Europe. Many European countries have already been frustrated with the US over the Russia-Ukraine crisis and do not want to become a pawn of Washington once again.
What the UK, another party that is keen to extend the conflict, has done is more lip service than practical moves just like the US. In March, the UK was heavily criticized as it only issued around 50 visas to Ukrainian refugees. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in June that Ukrainian refugees face being sent to Rwanda if they travel to the UK without authorization.
An anonymous Chinese expert told the Global Times that the Ukraine crisis will not end in a short time. The US and UK are taking advantage of the ongoing Ukraine crisis to dominate the construction of the European order as well as the global order. It is the specter of the pursuit of hegemony that has triggered the US and the UK to exploit Europe and NATO to such an extreme degree.
In this context, France and Germany, two major European powers that have repeatedly been calling for strategic independence, cannot sit idly. They must play their due role as regional great powers and cannot allow Washington and London to trample on European interests, said the Chinese expert.