The Atlantic Alliance resolutely behind kyiv, Moscow denounces a new “iron curtain”

The Atlantic Alliance resolutely behind kyiv, Moscow denounces a new "iron curtain"

NATO ended its summit in Madrid on Thursday, where more than 40 heads of state and government discussed the future of the Alliance, which reaffirmed its massive support for Ukraine. Its new strategic roadmap now identifies Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to the security of the allies”. For its part, Moscow evokes a new “iron curtain” falling between Russia and the West.

NATO ended its summit in Madrid on Thursday June 30 on the observation, made by Moscow, that a new “iron curtain” was falling in Europe at a time when Ukraine, on the strength of the alliance’s renewed support, resumed to the Russians a symbolic and strategic island for the control of maritime routes.

“The Iron Curtain, in fact, is already coming down,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Minsk, using the term that made history. of Europe during the Cold War, and only fell with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

“This iron curtain is erected today by the Westerners themselves,” added his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei, whose country is an ally of Moscow in its confrontation with the West.

Moscow and Minsk reacted to the summit on Wednesday and Thursday of the Atlantic Alliance which reaffirmed its massive support for Ukraine. Its new strategic roadmap now designates Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to the security of the allies”, and denounces attempts by Moscow and Beijing to unite their efforts to “destabilize the international order”.

“We will stand with Ukraine and the whole Alliance will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” US President Joe Biden said at the end of the summit.

NATO is not at war and Russia bears sole responsibility for the conflict in Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday at a press conference after an Alliance summit in Madrid. .

“If the European continent is no longer at peace, the Atlantic Alliance is not at war for all that”, declared the French president, stressing that “Russia alone bears the responsibility for this war as well as the serious consequences that ‘it imposes on the whole world”.

“Ukraine is not part of NATO (…) but the fight it leads to defend itself is ours” and it will therefore benefit from the support of the Alliance “as long as it takes” , continued Emmanuel Macron.

Emmanuel Macron at the NATO summit in Madrid
Emmanuel Macron at the NATO summit in Madrid © France24

The allies have announced new military aid to Ukraine: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an addition of one billion pounds (1.16 billion euros), Joe Biden a new tranche of 800 million dollars. As for French President Emmanuel Macron, he has planned the revision of the country’s military programming, stressing that “we must now, entering a period of war, know how to produce certain types of equipment faster, stronger”.

“Ridiculous”

Finally, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz considered “ridiculous” the accusation of Russian President Vladimir Putin who had affirmed Wednesday evening – taking up a leitmotif of the Russian narrative – that NATO had “imperialist ambitions” with regard to Russia.

“It is rather Putin who has made imperialism the goal of his policy” by saying that the neighboring countries were “part of his country”, added the German chancellor, who promised to make the German army from now on the first conventional army in Europe, also breaking with the détente born of the fall of the Berlin Wall more than thirty years ago.

China, a circumspect ally of Moscow and cautious in the Ukrainian crisis, was content to declare that NATO, which described Beijing as a “challenge” for its interests and its security, “is stubborn (…) to smear Chinese foreign policy”.

As for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is trying – while supplying deadly drones to Ukraine – to keep in touch with the two parties and to mediate, he called for “intensifying efforts” for a cease fire.

“For Turkey there will be no losers with peace,” he told reporters at the end of the NATO summit, of which his country is a member.

Serpents’ Island

But for the time being, on the ground where they have been under very strong pressure for weeks in the Donbass in the east of the country, it is a victory of great symbolic value that the Ukrainians have obtained with withdrawal of Russian forces from Serpents’ Islanda strategic islet in the Black Sea that they had taken in the early hours of their offensive.

The Russian army said it was withdrawing “as a sign of goodwill”, its objectives having been “accomplished” according to it, and to facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain from Ukraine through the Black Sea.

This militarized islet, initially held by Ukrainian border guards, is located in the northwest of the Black Sea, southwest of Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port where millions of tons of grain are waiting to be exported, and facing the mouth of the Danube.

>> To read also: Serpents’ Island, this little piece of land that has become crucial in the Black Sea

The Ukrainian version of the Russian withdrawal is markedly different.

“Unable to withstand the fire of our artillery, missiles and airstrikes, the occupiers left Serpents’ Island,” the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, Valeriy Zaluzhniy, announced on Telegram, accompanying his message of a video showing strikes on the island.

The southern command of the Ukrainian army clarified that “the enemy fled in two launches”, leaving the island “on fire” where “explosions are still heard”.

Risk of a major food crisis

The issue is also strategic and global, since this area of ​​the Black Sea is at the center of the stakes for the export by boat of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian cereals, the blocking of which threatens the world with a major food crisis.

The authorities installed by the Russian occupation forces in southern Ukraine for their part announced Thursday the departure of a ship loaded with 7,000 tonnes of Ukrainian cereals from the port of Berdiansk, passed under Russian control.

Ukraine has been accusing Russia for weeks of stealing its wheat crops in the occupied regions to sell them illegally internationally.

Receiving in Moscow his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the G20, Vladimir Putin again affirmed Thursday that Russia was not “obstructing the export of Ukrainian wheat”, and blamed Western sanctions restrictions on Russian exports of fertilizers and food products.

The Indonesian president said for his part that he had given Vladimir Putin a message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“The Battle Continues”

On the eastern front, the shelling continued Thursday morning in the Donbass region, where the majority of the fighting is concentrated.

The city of Lysytchansk, a major stake in this front after the capture of the neighboring city of Severodonetsk “lives under an uninterrupted bombardment of all kinds of weapons”, deplored Wednesday evening the governor of the Lugansk region, Serguiï Gaïdaï, estimating that 15,000 civilians remain in the city.

But the number 2 of the general staff, Oleksiï Gromov, told reporters on Thursday that the Ukrainian forces had “no intention of retreating there”.

“Measures for the defense of the city are continuing. In the morning the enemy began assault operations from different directions (but) the battle continues.”

It is the last major city to be conquered by the Russians in the Lugansk region, one of the two provinces of the Donbass industrial basin, which Moscow intends to fully control.

According to the Russian agency Ria Novosti, the forces of Moscow and the pro-Russian separatists claimed Thursday morning the capture of the refinery of the city.

Near Dnipro, in the center-east of the country, a bombardment also hit an agricultural company, destroying 40 tonnes of corn, according to regional authorities.

Finally, Russia said on Thursday that it was holding “more than 6,000” Ukrainian prisoners of war, the day after Ukraine announced that it had obtained the return, in an exchange, of 144 soldiers, including 95 “defenders of Azovstal” to Mariupol in the “biggest exchange since the beginning of the Russian invasion”.

With AFP and Reuters

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.