What Happens if the West Abandons Ukraine?
The US has failed to deliver the $60 billion in aid it has promised to Ukraine, and the EU has likewise proved unable to fulfill its €50 billion ($54.8 billion) pledge. If this aid does not materialize soon, Ukraine could be lost to Russia, and the Kremlin’s revanchist agenda is unlikely to end there.
WARSAW/ODESA – Western leaders are well aware of the dangers of a Russian victory in Ukraine. “When dictators and autocrats are allowed to run roughshod in Europe,” US President Joe Biden recently observed, “the risk rises that the United States gets pulled in directly,” with the “consequences reverberat[ing] around the world.” Specifically, he noted previously, if Russian President Vladimir Putin attacks a NATO ally, “we’ll have something that we don’t seek and that we don’t have today: American troops fighting Russian troops.” Similarly, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg recently warned that “If Putin wins in Ukraine, there is real risk that his aggression will not end there.”
Let us play Cassandra. The US has failed to deliver the $60 billion in aid it has promised to Ukraine, and the European Union has likewise proved unable to fulfill its €50 billion ($54.8 billion) pledge. Because these failures are rooted solely in internal politics, no amount of charisma and persuasion on the part of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, or pluck and perseverance on the part of the soldiers fighting under General Valery Zaluzhny, can make much difference.
Suppose that aid never materializes. Without sufficient weapons and munitions, Ukraine’s military would eventually have to capitulate to Russia. As commentator Simon Kuper recently pointed out, Russia has already carried out “mass executions, castrations, rapes, torture, and abductions of children” in Ukraine, there is good reason to think that such a surrender would not end the violence there. Putin’s forces – comprising largely ex-convicts and untrained soldiers – may well inflict terrible “victor’s justice” as they occupy all of Ukraine’s territory.