By Stanisław Żaryn, for StopFake

Some strange statements made by European leaders are disturbing, as in fact they lead to paralyse efforts made for Ukraine. It is happening in the situation when Russians have seized the initiative on the frontline and Ukraine’s position becomes dramatic.

British media spotlight Chancellor Olaf Scholz who, while explaining why he doesn’t want to give Ukraine German missiles Taurus (which is hard to explain in a rational way), is believed to reveal the British and French involvement in trainings and other efforst on the territory of Ukraine. Such a statement has actual consequences – it exposes British and French soldiers (if they are indeed in Ukraine) and it stirs up Russian propaganda (from the outset Russia argues that NATO is taking part in the war). Such words constitute also specific political and military damage. Scholz’s comment will paralyze the will of the Brits, the French and other countries to help Ukraine, as they will feel additional pressure resulting from the fact that their involvement may be revealed by allies. For the sake of defending its own interests and image, Berlin has caused harm not only to Ukraine, but also to countries currently supporting Ukrainians. It can’t be excluded that because of Scholz’s words, the countries now acting for Ukraine will withdraw from their help or will suspend their support. And in future they will hesitate to make such decisions. It’s yet another element of the gift made by Scholz to the Kremlin.

We witnessed an act of similar paralysing few days ago. Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico revealed before the meeting in Paris that some NATO countries were considering sending soldiers to Ukraine. According to Fico’s words none decision has been made and there’s only an ongoing discussion and potentially, there is a will of some capitals to take such steps. It was not clear what kind of military presence had been discussed. The information, made public by the pro-Russian politician, provoked an obvious reaction. Subsequent countries convinced that that they hadn’t made such a decision or even vowed they ruled out such steps. Prime Minister Fico revealed the talks’ topic before they actually kicked off. It obviously defeated the purpose of the discussion planned in Paris, but informational consequences go further – to paralyse the support for Ukraine. Without judging the adequacy of the idea that Fico talked about, making such discussions public and giving them an interpretation right from the beginning, lead to decision-making paralyse in the near future. With such an atmosphere and tense emotions no one will risk discussing any new kind of actions for Ukraine. Everyone who will raise such a topic in the international arena will be confronted with the question about the idea of sending troops to Ukraine and about the authors of this initiative.

Actions by Scholz and Fico also help Russia in other efforts – which are hostile towards NATO and the EU. Making public the topics of discussions or disclosing information about the involvement for Ukraine destroys trust among allies and obstructs, or even thwarts cooperation among members of the Western Community. In this regard, statements made by Fico and Scholz help Russian propaganda in its strategic efforts targeted against the West – Moscow’s plans include the destruction of NATO’s cohesion.

The abovementioned words by Scholz and Fico resemble other actions – a thoughtless statement made by Joseph Borrell on giving Ukraine Poland’s Mig-29 fighter jets stopped this process for many months. It was also a gift for Russia, as it suspended the process of supporting Ukraine and brought the Kremlin the benefit of dominance on the frontline. The present words by the German Chancellor and Slovakian Prime Minister are a similar gift. Their statements are harmful to Ukraine, Europe and NATO and they help Russia.

All this is happening when Russians seize the initiative on the frontline and Ukraine’s position becomes dramatic. Kyiv is talking about serious shortages and the need for support. The support which is being paralysed by Fico’s and Scholz’s actions. The West has anyway got a more and more visible problem with maintaining the support for Ukraine. There are countries that want to forget about the war, count on a reset with Russia and want to come back to cooperation. That’s why the pressure to freeze the conflict will increase. And this will involve forcing Ukraine to compel a truce. This will also mean a consent for the occupation of the part of the Ukrainian territory by Russia and will give Russia time to recover and reconstruct forces and logistics. Moscow is already reinforcing its army, mobilising new troops, stirring up hatred towards the West among Russians. The Kremlin will use the time of cease-fire in Ukraine to corrupt western elites, to exert brutal pressure to renew political and economic relations and, over time, to prepare another strike against Ukraine or another country that this time maybe a NATO member. Taking this perspective, calculating actions of some European leaders which can be seen also in their statements can be terribly dangerous to the whole of Europe.

By Stanisław Żaryn, for StopFake

Stanisław Żaryn is Advisor to the President of Republic of Poland.