News that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his French counterpart President Emmanuel Macron have agreed an international conference in Paris for next month should give pause for thought.
The December 13 talkfest will discuss assistance for Ukraine over the winter. Its focus will be the bare essentials – electricity, water supplies and other critical infrastructure
This is going to be hard. With at least 30 per cent of Ukraine’s power-generating capacity destroyed by Russian air attacks since the start of October, Ukraine badly needs solid help. Nearly five million Ukrainians were without power on November 4. This will only get worse, unless Ukraine’s allies continue to pitch in.
But, this is going to be hard with increasing signs of weariness both in the US and some European countries.
Keith Naughton recently said in this article for The Hill, that American public support for Ukraine may be weaker than previously thought.
And in Europe, opinion is slowly moving towards the “d” word – diplomacy.
In Germany, Michael Kretschmer, Christian Democratic premier of the state of Saxony, has called for a diplomatic end to the war and Germany’s return to using Russian gas. Late last month, Croatia’s President Zoran Milanović boycotted an international summit on Ukraine held in Zagreb. He said: “In the end, Americans and Russians will have to sit at the table because they are waging a proxy war over Ukraine.” Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has argued constantly for diplomacy, even going so far as to say, in October (paywall) that the only “hope for peace goes by the name of Donald Trump”. In Italy, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and League leader Matteo Salvini, whose parties are back in government, regularly take a pro-Russia position. But also, to be fair, they speak in favour of peace. Giuseppe Conte, another ex-prime minister, is also soft on talking to Russia.