Russian-Ukrainian War News: Live Updates

So far, the United States and its European allies have maintained a united front against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But two and a half months into the war, some signs of friction are beginning to appear.

They focus on American determination, which has grown with Ukrainian military successes, to ensure that the conflict weakens Russia “to the extent that it cannot do the kinds of things it did by invading the Ukraine,” as Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III put it last month.

The European powers, on the other hand, do not want a long war of attrition that risks escalating or what they believe to be a dangerous humiliation of Russia. They are more focused on getting a ceasefire in Ukraine and a withdrawal of Russian troops, at least to the February 23 lines that existed before the war started. They consider it essential to maintain a diplomatic dialogue with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.

“Together, we must never give in to the temptation of humiliation, nor to a spirit of revenge, because they have already ravaged the paths of peace in the past,” French President Emmanuel Macron said this week. in a speech in Strasbourg. .

He added: “We are not at war with Russia. We are working in Europe for the preservation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and for the return of peace to our continent.

A diplomatic official close to Mr Macron, who requested anonymity in accordance with French government practice, described the evolving US position as essentially arming Ukraine to the end and maintaining sanctions indefinitely. against Russia. This was a source of frustration for the French.

France, he said, wants to push the negotiations hard because there is no other way to ensure Ukrainian security and strategic security on the European continent.

The official said that ultimately a relationship with Mr Putin was inevitable.

Mario Draghi, the Italian Prime Minister, seemed determined to express a similar line after a meeting Tuesday with President Biden in Washington.

“We must support Ukraine,” Draghi said. “But we also have to start talking about peace.” He added: “All parties must make an effort to sit around a table, even the United States.

Mr. Draghi continued: “You shouldn’t try to win, victory is not defined. For Ukraine, this means repelling the invasion, but for others?

The thrust of European powers – at least those not in Russia’s immediate neighborhood like Poland and the Baltic states – is that Ukraine’s defense must not mutate in the pursuit of victory. overwhelming on Mr. Putin’s Russia.

The United States, however, seems to see little chance for diplomacy at present. Avril D. Haines, the US director of national intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that Mr. Putin was “preparing for a protracted conflict in Ukraine in which he still intends to achieve objectives beyond the Donbass”.

Ms Haines said US intelligence agencies did not believe Moscow could exercise control over the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine and the buffer zone Russia wants to establish – across Ukraine’s coast from the Black Sea to the region of Transnistria in Moldova – in the coming weeks. But she said the Russian leader was pursuing a longer-term goal.

“Putin most likely also judges that Russia has a greater capacity and a greater willingness to withstand challenges than its adversaries,” Ms Haines said. “And he’s likely counting on US and EU resolve to falter as food shortages, inflation and energy prices worsen.”

His assessment made no mention of possible ceasefires, Russian troop withdrawals, diplomacy or possible Ukrainian neutrality and the security guarantees the kyiv government would need from Western powers for this.

These are subjects of intense interest to France, Germany, Italy and other European states closer to war than the United States.

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