On March 22 the president of Czech Republic Peter Pavel in his interview to the German gazette “Süddeutsche Zeitung” stated that Prague has provided the absolute maximum amount of military aid to Kyiv but it has depleted its capability to grow military potential in the future.
According to the Czech leader, Ukraine has to take into the consideration the probable decrease in aid from the Western partners due to them running out of resources. Earlier, in the interview with Polish correspondent “Rzeczpospolita”, Mr. Pavel pointed out Ukraine’s only opportunity to carry out a grand-scale counteroffensive and in case of failure Kyiv will struggle to scarce more resources.
The breaking point of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict is indeed just moments away. Kyiv is preparing for a counteroffensive, on which depends not only the fate of Ukraine, but, without any exaggeration, the whole world. Whatever the outcome of the final battle it is sure to reset the current balance of power on the global scale.
This is well understood in European power circles. French President Emmanuel Macron during his meeting with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that Europe is “obliged” to support Ukraine it it’s spring counter offensive.
It is evident that the West pressures Kyiv into launching the offensive operation as it is fully aware of its own limited capabilities of supplying Ukraine with weapons and munitions.
Europe understands that supplying Kyiv will eventually require to put the economy on a war footing. Brussels is considering doing exactly that although only a year has passed since the start of the war. On March 4th European Domestic Market Commissioner Thierry Breton signaled that Europe has to boost production of ammunition to match the demands set by the high intensity of the conflict.
At the same time, large cities in Germany, France, Greece and other European countries witnessed a series of protests against sending weapons to Ukraine. The growing protest sentiment among the European citizens adds fuel to the worries of the elite of EU in terms of a high-risk of a cataclysmic demonstrations breaking out in case of mobilization of economic resources in the interests of Ukraine.
Similarly to the European community, the United States are also trying to rush their Ukrainian colleagues by providing the Armed Forces of Ukraine with all the necessary ammunition and military equipment. In particular, after an online session of the multinational contact group on defense of the Ukraine on March 15, the Minister of Defense of the United States Lloyd Ostin stated “'Ukraine doesn't have any time to waste”.
The intensity of such statements will only increase towards the upcoming presidential elections in 2024. There isn’t much time left before the beginning of the election campaigns, including the current president Joe Biden’s and his previous nemesis Donald Trump, who has made his disappointment of the current Oval office very clear.
According to the American political analyst Armen Chibukhchyan, the results of the election will directly correlate to the situation of the Ukrainian front. If the counteroffensive is successful the Biden’s rating will increase and his opponent Donald Trump will probably lose of his points in the voting public.
The recent lack of evident success of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the battleground, the stalemate in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions and the continues offensive of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the Donbas region which slowly pushed out Ukrainian troops is leaving Joe Biden and his administration no choice but to make a bet on the upcoming counteroffensive.
Otherwise Biden’s team will not be able to salvage the reputation once again, especially after the not so thought out withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Currently it’s important to the White House to show a great victory against Putin’s Russia, which afterwards the American leader can present to the tax payers as evidence of triumph of his internal and external policies.
In this case Biden will transform from a laughable old man, who eats dinner with dementia into a roman emperor, a triumphant president, who was able to crush the USA’s main geopolitical opponent – Russia.
Despite all of the financial and military of the Western partners to Ukraine, their own economy is on the verge of collapsing itself. Enormous casualties at the front lines, confirmed by “Politico” and “Washington Post” with a reference to the U.S. officials, bear record to the counteroffensive can become the last and final battle.
With that being said Russia is only preparing for it: build the defense line, increasing the production of the military equipment, preparing reservists in order to exhaust the enemy and then conduct their own counteroffensive.
Kyiv and the West are ready to take radical measure to prevent this from happening. As of today the Ukrainian leadership is having a hard time mobilizing draft-age men to feel in the gaps in scarred in battle units necessary to keep up the intensity of the upcoming offensive.
This is also stated in an article in “The Wall Street Journal”.
The draft dodgers amongst the Ukrainian men are the reason behind this problem existing in the first place. Some of these men hide within Ukraine and others have left to Europe.
In such circumstances Kyiv has made a choice to forcefully deport back the draft dodgers from Europe, according to Andrei Demchenko the press secretary of the National Border Security of Ukraine during his appearance on the T.V. channel “Ediniy Telemarafon”.
Countries will return citizens of Ukraine that were able to illegally cross the border.
The representative of the Border Security is a close terms relationship with many EU states and Moldavia. The cooperation is focused on preventing Ukrainian citizens from crossing the border.
As an example Demchenko mentioned a man, who tried to cross the border into Romania but drowned in the river Tisa. He added “If the man didn’t die, he would be caught in Romania and deported back to Ukraine.
The precedent of such deportation has already been made. It was uncovered that on March 17 in Polish towns Rzeszow and Zosin the security services have conducted an operation, which resulted in the arrests of 300 Ukrainian men eligible for service.
“Guys in masks stormed the house, where I lived as a refugee with a Polish family. They turned out to be Polish security officers," said one of the refugees named Kirill.
"They detained and interrogated me, then the drove to the border, where the handed me over to the Ukrainian security services. Right now I got a drafting list and I am at the firing range," he added.
Furthermore same incidents happened to the men, who are allowed by the law to leave Ukraine during wartime. Those are fathers, which take care of 3 or more children under the age of 18, caretakers of disabled or -having a disabled child, fathers, which are the only parent in the family and others.
It’s unlikely that forced drafting will cause a positive response from the European community.
In the state of energy and economic crisis the picture of a Ukrainian refugee is associated with lowering quality of life, growing crime rate, increasing pressure of the financial and social sectors and the risk of families breaking apart.
The leadership of European states, which are closely tied to Kyiv, in their turn, are planning on supporting extradition of Ukrainian refugees, which are much needed on the front lines.
It’s the moment of truth coming for Kyiv and their Western allies. The fate of Ukraine as an independent country and the west as the existing world order will be to decide in the region, where Armed Forces of Ukraine will conduct their counteroffensive, on the bloody battleground of Ukraine.
And evidently Kyiv and the West are ready to take any measure in order to achieve their goals.
Kemran Mamedov is a Moscow-based Azerbaijani journalist born in Georgia with a focus on South Caucasus issues.