Has the Russian-Ukrainian War Turned Into a Proxy War?
Al-Ahram, Egypt, May 13
The decision of the United States of America to support Ukraine with a sum of $40 billion came as a surprise to everyone. US President Joe Biden activated a symbolic mechanism dating back to World War II, the “lend-lease” act, which was adopted by former President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 to help Europe combat Hitler. In addition, President Biden announced additional military support for Ukraine consisting of 1,400 Stinger systems, 7,000 Javelin anti-armor systems, hundreds of drone systems, 7,000 small arms, four radars, multi-purpose armored vehicles, night-vision devices and helmets. The United States is also working on multiple fronts to get European states to take a unified stance regarding an embargo on Russian oil, but this measure has been rejected by some European countries that depend completely on Russian oil, such as Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria. These countries are seeking to secure alternative means and financing guarantees from the European Union to build new oil pipelines. Thus, Washington is devoting its full energy to supporting Ukraine both militarily and economically. Another direction in which the United States supports Ukraine is by providing it with nuanced military intelligence. Even neutral countries like Finland and Sweden are now seriously considering an accession to NATO, with the aim of ensuring their security and safety. The United States also is working hard to deprive Russia of its most important production and a major source of national income, which is natural gas. For the first time in history, America made 10% of its oil reserves available to its European allies in order to prevent them from importing Russian gas. President Biden also asked the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to redirect gas exports aimed for China toward Europe. It seems like, today, America’s goal is to prolong the war in order to drain the Russian economy and lead to Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine. Putin, however, seems determined to mark a victory in Ukraine, most likely by seizing the Donbas region and the port of Odessa. In doing so, he will deprive Ukraine of its port cities and cut it off from the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. This would be a huge blow to Ukraine – one of the world’s biggest exporters of corn, wheat and sunflower oil – which relies on these ports for its export of grains. Once he completes this takeover, Putin is expected to pause the fighting and start negotiating with Ukraine over a permanent cease-fire. But he will only do so when he feels like he has the upper hand. The question here is: Will Ukraine agree to such talks? And will the United States agree to Russia’s demands from Ukraine? – Samir Farag (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)