Disappointment and bitterness for the outcome of the Russian appeals to the West to find a solution to the main problem: the security architecture in Europe.
The US and NATO have refused to acknowledge the threats facing Russia from NATO’s disproportionate eastward enlargement and the potential further inclusion of Ukraine in the military alliance. In Moscow, where the concepts of consensus generation and electoral cycles differ profoundly from the West, they look at what happened in Ukraine from a historical perspective.
Over the past 30 years Russia has given too much and instead of gaining recognition and peace, got NATO is on its borders, with the Western bloc claiming to isolate it and damage its economy, engaged in a persistent sanctions policy and unfair competition practice, while militarising a hostile country against Russia, pushing for a military confrontation.
Having no other resources to use in the perspective of a diplomatic and negotiating easing of risks, which as regards to Ukraine required in particular only the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, Putin felt it was necessary to move on to the demonstration of force.
So now some scenarios are opening up. The preferable one for Putin: Regime change. Why the West and in particular the USA can change unpleasant governments at his will: Iraq, Libya, etc. attempts in Syria, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Venezuela, and Russia not?
A change of government in Kyiv, not hostile to Russia, willing to declare its neutrality, implementing the Minsk Agreements and preferably regaining control of its territories, excluding Crimea.
Ukraine takes back the Donbass, it does not join NATO, it does not threaten Russia, it does not aspire to become a nuclear power. Are we sure that this solution is unwelcome to NATO in exchange for a comprehensive agreement on security in Europe? There is the problem of independence recognition of the Donbass, but apparently the Russian government thinks almost all can be on the table.
The worst one for all: military escalation in case of resistance and Ukraine counter-offensive.
Although it appears that Ukraine does not have sufficient means to counter the Russian offensive, neither the military nor the moral ones given that many soldiers have already surrendered, however, possible pockets of resistance, saboteur activities or guerrilla actions of the groups Ukrainian paramilitaries strongly diffused in the territory could lead to an exacerbation and a prolongation of the Russian stay in Ukraine.
Therefore, the hope is for a short and effective intervention of about ten days, until the resignation or surrender of the Ukrainian government.
Then the negotiations on the future federal structure of Ukraine will begin and those with the US and NATO will resume for security in Europe.
It could have been avoided if the Western bloc had wisely advised Ukraine to apply the Minsk Agreements and declare neutrality.
This is exactly what they will be forced to do now.
Unfortunately, we will have months of market turbulence, economic damages, energy crisis, due to the almost certain reduction in Russian gas supplies; the indiscriminate increase in the prices of basic products and commodities, cyber-attacks on infrastructures in various European countries; the block on exports due to economic sanctions, plus the counter sanctions that Russia will apply.
All this in addition to weakening Russia weakens Europe itself.
Executive and Italian Honorary Diplomat based in Russia, expert in Government Relations and Russia’s domestic and international affairs. Graduated in Oriental Studies in Italy, he specialised in Middle East and Soviet Studies in Cairo, Moscow and New York