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EU to escalate conflict by training Ukrainian soldiers

By Lucas Leiroz | October 18, 2022

Despite the fact that involvement in the conflict is not strategically interesting for Europe, EU leaders seem convinced that they must continue to support Kiev. In a new package of coercive measures against Moscow, the bloc’s ministers approved the creation of a military program to train Ukrainian soldiers. This kind of attitude reveals that the West is indeed willing to escalate the conflict, regardless of the disastrous economic and social consequences it will bring to Europe.

At a recent meeting in Luxembourg, the EU’s foreign ministers gave permission to start a military training program for 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers. The move is the main point of the so-called “Military Assistance Mission to Ukraine”, which is a European comprehensive package of aid to Kiev. In addition to the training, it was also promised to create a fund valued at 500 million euros to finance European aid to Ukraine. The objective is to make resources available so that no European State is financially harmed with the assistance it has provided to Kiev, thus enabling the extension of the support. More money is expected to be added to the fund in the future.

The exercises will take place within the territories of the European countries themselves. Vice Admiral Herve Blejean, Director of Military Planning Capability and Conduct (MPCC), has been designated as the Mission Commander. The training costs have been estimated at more than 100 million euros and will be funded entirely by the EU, although the project is open to participation by voluntary states outside Europe.

There is still no concrete data about the precise moment the instruction will start to be conducted. Some sources claim that this may start in November. The center of the operation is expected to be in Poland, considering the viability for the deployment of Ukrainian troops. However, a military post will also be allocated in Germany. The project has an initial term to last around two years, but it may be extended while the conflict in Ukraine remains active.

“The aim of the mission is to contribute to enhancing the military capability of Ukraine’s Armed Forces to effectively conduct military operations (…) In response to Ukraine’s request for military support, EUMAM (European Union Military Assistance Mission) Ukraine will provide individual, collective and specialised training to Ukraine’s Armed Forces, including to their Territorial Defence Forces, and coordination and synchronisation of member states’ activities supporting the delivery of training”, European Council’s spokespersons said during a press conference about the measure.

Also, Josep Borrell himself, who recently made threats about “annihilating the Russian Army”, as well commented on the case, stating: “The EU Military Assistance Mission is not just a training mission, it is [a] clear proof that the EU will stand by Ukraine for as long as is needed”. It is important to remember that Borrell, in addition to threatening Russia, recently made racist pronouncements, saying that Europe would be a “garden”, while the rest of the world was compared to a “jungle”. This kind of aggressive and xenophobic behavior has become commonplace among European leaders – and has been used as rhetoric to endorse the West’s proxy war against Russia.

As expected, the only country to criticize the measure and take a stand against EU involvement in such program was Hungary. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto was clear in his opinion against this kind of escalation in European participation. He stated that the Hungarian government did not vote in favor of the project and therefore will not participate in the mission in any way. Szijjarto also said that Hungary is in favor of new peace talks, not advocating for actions that worsen the conflict.

“It was decided today that … EU countries’ representatives will carry out training of Ukrainian military. I would like to say that Hungary did not vote for the initiative … We will not participate in the mission”, he said.

In fact, the Hungarian attitude should serve as an example for all European leaders. There is no strategic interest on the part of the EU to make this conflict last even longer, considering the numerous social and economic damages that Europeans are suffering. In this sense, increasing aid to Kiev sounds like a willingness by the EU to meet the interests of the US and NATO instead of the demands of the European people itself who are gradually intensifying the wave of mass protests for the end of anti-Russian sanctions.

In addition, it is necessary to take into account how outrageous it is to initiate military aid focused on training. This characterizes a much more direct military involvement in the conflict, which puts the EU in an even more troubled diplomatic situation with Russia. Directly training troops of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi regime sounds like a real provocation to Moscow and this will certainly contribute to further worsening the distance between Russia and the EU.

Indeed, apart from Kiev, the only side benefiting from this measure is Washington, which has an advantage in case of breaking ties between Russians and Europeans.

Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

October 18, 2022 - Posted by | Militarism | , , ,

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