From Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 25, 2022, p. 11. Condensed text:)
. . . The US is taking steps to draw out the military conflict in Ukraine. It views its political and financial support for [Ukrainian President] Vladimir Zelensky, who is prepared to toe the American political line, exclusively in the context of its own long-term objectives. The US needs the military operation in Ukraine to continue so it can justify failures in its own economic policy, which have recently worsened. These include growing inflation, the persistent shortage of a number of food products, and rising energy prices. The American economic crisis has strengthened the aspirations of George [sic; Joe – Trans.] Biden and his administration to shift blame to Russia. By supporting Ukraine and prolonging the conflict, the Biden administration is attempting to cause as much damage as possible to Russia’s economy.
This US strategy is being determined by worldwide changes in the global economy. The US’s interest in taking advantage of the conflict in southeastern Ukraine has been raised by the battle between the US and Russia, trade and economic tensions between Beijing and Washington, the strengthening of other countries’ positions in other regions, and more. This internationalization was achieved through US efforts. In particular, the US has involved the European Union in its battle with Russia. It is demanding that European countries allocate additional financial and military assistance for Kiev, [including] weapons, and accept new refugees from Ukraine. One recent step European countries took was imposing restrictions on trade with Russia. At the same time, these measures are hurting the EU’s economy, and their consequences will be felt in the near future.
Under pressure from the Americans, Brussels is following a policy of rejecting Russian hydrocarbon resources and wants to replace them with other [energy] sources. In an effort to support American policy and hurt Russia, the EU has found itself involved in a global reconfiguration of energy markets that could deal a powerful blow to its countries’ economies that will have far-reaching consequences. It is not in the EU’s geopolitical interests to support the US’s geopolitical ambitions and the nationalist regime in Kiev. And the biggest winner will be the US, which is counting on supplying its own hydrocarbon resources to the European market in the future.
The US is purposefully encouraging a further escalation in relations between Russia and the EU, isolating the two sides from each other for all intents and purposes. To disrupt settlement of the conflict and exert pressure on Kiev, the process of Ukraine’s accelerated “accession” to the EU has started. This is supposed to demonstrate the West’s readiness to keep supporting Kiev and Zelensky’s policies. In turn, the Ukrainian leader is actively pursuing an anti-Russian policy by proposing various conditions to European leaders, and demanding financial assistance for Ukraine that is comparable to or exceeds the budgets of a number of European states. However, new emergency financial aid is already being allocated to Ukraine without this. With an economy that is barely functioning, Kiev is in need of funds to finance budget items and help maintain infrastructure.
The US has stepped up deliveries of weapons to support Kiev and make up for losses inflicted on Ukraine’s military and infrastructure. This gives the Ukrainian side additional opportunities to conduct military operations and is prolonging the conflict. In this context, a policy is being implemented to attract foreign mercenaries. The US and its allies support their arrival in Ukraine, knowing that Russia’s efforts are aimed at reducing Ukraine’s military potential.
In addition to the economic component and plans to strengthen its own geopolitical positions, the US is interested in keeping Russia a party to the conflict. This will allow Washington to continue its political and informational pressure on the Russian government and justify new economic sanctions.
In this context, the question of the next steps for the main participants in the geopolitical competition arises. For Russia, the key objective originally formulated by the Russian president is to eliminate the possibility that a regime based on the ideology of Ukrainian nationalism will emerge on the territory of modern Ukraine. This can be achieved by establishing total control over Ukrainian territory and reformatting the political space in Ukraine. Accomplishing these objectives takes time. It will also be necessary to overcome opposition from the US, which is pushing its NATO and EU allies to take action, pumping up the Ukrainian side with weapons and supporting Vladimir Zelensky. The US views this tactic as a way of drawing out the conflict, particularly its military phase, and complicating the transition to a political settlement. Many questions remain regarding the future borders of the Ukrainian state, or a group of states that may be formed on the territory of modern Ukraine. It is telling that the population of one district in Zaporozhye Province has already come out in favor of joining the Donetsk people’s republic. In this regard, we can expect to see various scenarios for how events develop. For now, there is no reason to assume that US policy on Ukraine will change. The US is making significant efforts to prolong the conflict and maintain tension between Russia and Ukraine. It is continuing its attempts to expand the geography of the conflict and involve European countries in it. In this way, the US expects to strengthen its geopolitical positions in the world and deal a blow to Russia’s economy while simultaneously causing Europe’s economy to collapse. Clearly, such aspirations should cause Russia to adjust its approaches to settling the conflict. Questions related to the time frames for completing the special military operation in Ukraine and establishing control over transportation infrastructure throughout the country should be front and center. Resolving this task will help end the delivery of weapons and the arrival of foreign mercenaries to Ukrainian territory and make political contacts between official Kiev and Western countries much more difficult. Otherwise, the US and its allies will have the chance to provide more aid to official Kiev and continue to play the Ukrainian card in their own interests.