The Ukrainian situation is having a profound effect on Europe.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen is promising to overhaul defense strategy in response to Russian aggression against the government and people of Ukraine. The Russians have been using “power politics and military force,” to get their own way.
The latest deal, Minsk 2, brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the aid of French President Francois Hollande, failed to end the fighting. It’s clear who is the major problem – yesterday, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, was warning Ukraine to pull its forces out of yet another of the country’s cities, so that Russian rebels can take over. There’s ample proof these rebels include Russian professional soldiers. This is a blatant attack by Russia on the sovereignty of one of its neighbors.
Not content with being the biggest country in the world, the Russians clearly want more territory. It may even be that Moscow is intent on taking back all the territories of the former Soviet Union. The fall of the USSR in 1991 was once described by Mr. Putin as the greatest disaster of the twentieth century.
It’s less than seven years since Russian troops invaded Georgia in support of ethnic Russians living there. Less than a year ago, the Crimea was annexed. Now eastern Ukraine is seriously threatened. Other countries on Russia’s borders now face the same prospect, as the western alliance is proven impotent in the face of Moscow’s aggression.
Watch for dramatic changes ahead in Europe. As the US shuts down military bases in Europe to focus on needs elsewhere in the world, only one western European country has the capacity to fill America’s shoes. That country is Germany. The German Defense Minister sees clearly the need for Germany to reassert itself in the face of Russian threats from the east.