Stock Groups

West must not show weakness when confronting Russia


A group of civilian soldiers from the Kyiv Territorial Defence Unit train in a forest Saturday, January 22, 2022 in Kyiv.

Getty Images| Getty Images

According to Wladimir Klitschko, Kyiv’s Wladimir Klitschko, the West must be alert to showing weakness when dealing with geopolitical crisis like this one between Russia and Ukraine.

Klitschko was asked if the U.S. had done enough for Ukraine in its current military conflict with Russia.

He said that he believes that the West sometimes shows weakness in some situations. According to him, we must be more united in protecting each other’s interests and our own democracy.

He said, “I believe that this unity will give us tremendous strength”, adding that communication should improve between Western allies and that an invasion of Ukraine would be a problem for everyone.

Some Ukrainian officials are critical that Kyiv was not included in high-level talks between Russia, NATO, and the U.S. to avoid a potential military confrontation.

Klitschko’s brother Vitali, Kyiv’s mayor, has been publicly critical of the response of one of Ukraine’s European allies, GermanyAccording to him, Berlin’s offering of 5,000 helmets for Ukraine was “a joke” that had rendered him speechless.

“The German government’s behavior leaves me speechless. It seems that the defense ministry has not realized that perfectly-equipped Russian forces are at our disposal and could launch another invasion of Ukraine anytime. he told the German newspaper Bild last Wednesday. “What kind support is Germany sending next?” He asked. “Pillows?”

Following a conference Wednesday, Vitali Klitschko stated that Ukraine should now be prepared for “any scenario”, as tensions are not being reduced. However, diplomatic talks continue between Western and Russian leaders.

Wladimir Klitschko, also a former champion boxer, said there was little appetite in Ukraine for more bloodshed — particularly given the deaths of over 13,000 people in east Ukraine in an ongoing conflict between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region — but said, “we have to defend our country.”

Competing interests

Ukraine is not an EU or NATO member but it does have a pro-Western administration. Russia claims it does not intend to invade Ukraine, but has annexed Crimea in 2014. It also supports two proRussian republics located in the Donbas area of eastern Ukraine.

NATO does not have to protect Ukraine, but has increased its presence in Eastern Europe for the event of an attack. While some countries have provided military hardware for Ukraine, such as the U.S. or U.K. to aid it, others like France and Germany are willing to talk with Ukraine and Russia to try to end the impasse. This is mostly seen as an issue of geopolitical influence, where Russia and the West dominate, while Ukraine lies in the middle.

Russia has repeatedly said it wants to defend its own security interests in the face of what it views as an expansion of Western military might (that is, NATO) on its doorstep in Europe and, particularly, in eastern Europe where missile defense systems are positioned in Romania and Poland.

The U.S. demanded Ukraine be denied membership in NATO and that NATO reduce its military presence in Eastern Europe. Although the U.S. refused to accept these demands, it said that there was still room for dialog.