The US Secretary of State’s sudden trip to Ukraine belies the West’s concern about recent Russian advances By Dmitry Drize, political observer at Kommersant FM Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (L) shakes hands with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) prior to their talks in Kyiv, on May 15, 2024. © Brendan SMIALOWSKI/AFP

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken admitted during his visit to Kiev this week that the situation in Ukraine has deteriorated. This is mainly due to the Russian offensive in Kharkov Region. He promised not to leave Ukraine without support, promising that the next batches of Western weapons would soon – in particular air defense systems. He also reiterated that Ukraine’s future membership in NATO is still on the table and that Russia must pay for the country’s reconstruction.

Blinken’s arrival was unexpected, and it betrayed the critical stage currently reached in the conflict. The US is urging Kiev to carry out an effective mobilization, and seems to hope society will reorganize itself in some way. By the way, this is the most important question: what do Ukrainians themselves think they should do next, and how do they want things to be? But let us continue.

At almost the same time, Olaf Scholz was addressing journalists. The German chancellor announced a €7 billion ($7.6 billion) bailout for Ukraine. Previously, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the threat of nuclear war could be even greater now than during the Cuban missile crisis, more than 60 years ago.

It should be remembered that the Russian army has launched an offensive along a new section of the front in Kharkov Region. The Ukrainian side assures us that Kharkov city itself is not in danger. Meanwhile, Moscow seems to be trying to create a so-called cordon sanitaire around its borders, or is perhaps trying to divert Ukrainian units from other directions. There is no point in entering into a polemic on this issue, but the “critical situation” thesis is being heard more often and louder. And many people are asking pointed questions of the authorities in Kiev, as if everything was known in advance, and fortifications were promised to be built, but for some reason they were not.

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In any case, the Westerners have clearly woken up and come to their senses, which is logical. If you talk for six months, utter all sorts of political niceties and don’t deliver weapons, there will be consequences, just as there will be consequences if you don’t do a proper mobilization.

And now they have arrived, however late. At the same time, the G7 meeting in the picturesque town of Brindisi in Italy is just a month away. Then there will be a high-level conference on Ukraine at the Bürgenstock in Switzerland, and the NATO anniversary summit in July. And there will have been no major battlefield or political successes to celebrate. At the same time, the world is also, strangely enough, on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. One could say to our former Western partners: “it’s your own fault, gentlemen.”

So we come to a very simple conclusion. If there are no results yet, that means they have to be achieved somehow. The question is how. The answer is obvious: by responding to the raising of the stakes. We would just like to point out that no one is talking about a peaceful scenario; the next round of confrontation has arrived. Perhaps it will lead to a sudden peaceful solution, but we should not be too optimistic. Another thing we would like to point out is that Western Europe is practically powerless without America, no matter how much Emmanuel Macron threatens to invade. And secondly, according to the West, Ukraine cannot, or at least should not, lose.

This article was first published by Kommersant, translated and edited by the RT team