Are we going to allow obscurantism to triumph over freedom, darkness over light, the Russian winter over the Ukrainian democratic spring? This is the question all Europeans urgently need to answer, whether we are citizens or politicians. It would be easy – and many have given in to this temptation – to restrict our reading of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine to cold, elegant geopolitical analysis, to talk of the return of empires and power games, and to reflect on the future of multilateralism and the international rules-based order. However, something much more concrete and even more fundamental is at stake in Bakhmut or Kherson. For the past ten months the Ukrainian people have been fighting for something Europeans have considered part of their comfort for decades: the core values which govern the democratic functioning of European societies. This is exactly what Vladimir Poutin wishes to weaken, and what Volodymyr Zelensky is doing everything he can to preserve.
« The Ukrainians are fighting because they feel European and want to remain Europeans. It is our responsibility to help them. »
— Nathalie Loiseau
The paradox is, although this combat is of such importance to us, we are not at war. The fate of Ukraine as well as all of Europe will depend on how this war ends. The outcome of the war in Ukraine will condition our destiny far more than it will impact the future of the United States.
It is excellent news that Washington has chosen to support Ukraine, almost a good surprise in a
period when American policy is focused on Asia. But going forward, in Europe we have much more to expect, hope or fear from the outcome of the war in Ukraine. As Europeans we must do
everything possible to ensure our continent is no longer living under the Russian military threat. This is clearly much more important for us than for anyone else.
This is why we need to increase the chances of a military victory for Kyiv, through increasing our
support, reinforcing sanctions against Russia and exercising much stricter control of their
application by clamping down on avoidance. European leaders have the responsibility to act with determination, firmness and unity to make this happen.
But more is needed. Today Ukrainian civilians are being targeted by incessant Russian strikes
which destroy housing and deprive populations of light, water and heating. We can all come to their assistance. We must. Financing and sending generators and transformers, and setting up civil heat centers in Ukrainian cities is not only the responsibility of our governments. Regions, counties, municipalities and associations can contribute and build solidarity between Europeans. The Ukrainians are fighting because they feel European and want to remain Europeans. It is our responsibility to help them.
This column is written by Mme. Nathalie Loiseau for the association Stand With Ukraine. It is published with the permission of the author.