The rhetoric of the West during the three months of the war changed quite a lot — from the assurance of German diplomats that Kyiv would fall in three days anyway, and therefore there was no need to even help it, to the assurances of the United States that they would move heaven and earth to help Ukraine defeat Russia.
February 24: strong condemnation and multiple promises
On the morning of February 24, the EU voiced its strong condemnation of Russia's actions. Europe promised to hold the Russian Federation accountable, block Russian state assets abroad and close the access of all Russian banks to global financial markets. The second has not yet happened.
U.S. President Joe Biden, for his part, announced a meeting with G7 ambassadors, also promising a decisive response to Moscow's aggression. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had been outraged by the horrific developments in Ukraine. Later, Johnson admits that he offered Ze to leave Ukraine, but he refused.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called Russia's invasion of Ukraine a gross violation of international law, and the German Parliament urged for weapons to be provided to Ukraine.
Ukraine was supported by Poland and the Baltic states, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg convened a meeting to discuss Russian aggression. Turkey assured that it would not recognize any step against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Despite all these statements, later in an interview, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov admitted that the maximum term given to Ukraine was three weeks: no one believed that we would contain the invasion of Moscow.
Military analysts would later say that they had underestimated the Ukrainian army and overestimated the Russian one.
Refusal to close the sky for Ukraine
Already on March 4, the rhetoric of a tough response slipped to the fact that NATO officially had refused to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. All the petitions to close the skies, which subsequently collected millions of signatures, failed to convince the Alliance.
Of the interesting statements on the same day, let us recall the words of U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who called on the Russians to kill Putin, Sky News reports.
"Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?" he asked.
Here Graham was referring to Mark Junius Brutus, who played a major role in the assassination of Julius Caesar, and Klaus Stauffenberg, the German officer who unsuccessfully tried to kill Adolf Hitler.
Zelenskyy-Churchill and Kyiv’s successes
It is interesting that, despite the confidence in February that Ukraine would lose to the "second army of the world", on March 5, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was already telling the BBC that Ukraine can win.
And on March 6, U.S. lawmakers expressed concern that Volodymyr Zelenskyy might be assassinated, Military.com reported. Senator Ben Sasse commented on the Ukrainian leader's response to these fears:
"Zelenskyy's message is simple: close the sky or give us planes."
On the same day, BBC News called Vladimir Putin the most "disruptive international leader of the 21st century," Joe Biden — a "Cold War warrior," and Volodymyr Zelenskyy — a made journey from comedian to Churchillian colossus.
Starting a conversation about oil and gas
On March 7, Lithuania called for an embargo on the sale of energy resources from Russia. At that time it was stated by the country's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, who was quoted by the BBC.
He stressed that "we cannot pay for oil and gas with Ukraine’s blood".
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi even scheduled a meeting with EC President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on this matter.
However, at that time Germany and the Netherlands immediately rejected the embargo plan.
MiG-29 for Ukraine: All the risks on Poland
In early March, the possibility of handing over MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine was still blocked, as The Times reported.
The thing is that there was an attempt to shift the transfer of aircraft onto Poland's shoulders: British Defense Minister Ben Wallace assured that London and NATO would support Warsaw, but this would be its decision, and the risks of a Russian attack cannot be ruled out.
Ultimately, Duda, who at first demanded more NATO troops and weapons on the borders with Ukraine, did not dare to hand over the planes. The decision was left up to the United States, and they blocked the transfer so as not to provoke the Kremlin into World War III.
Only on May 21, after three months of a full-scale war, countless victims, and destruction, did they return to this topic. Slovakia stated it was again considering the possibility of supplying the MiG-29 and Mi-17, Defense Express reported.
Ukraine's accession to the EU: The first disputes
On March 9, discussions began on the possibility of granting Ukraine the status of a European Union candidate member, Sky News reported.
At the time, EU leaders were divided over whether to put Ukraine firmly on the path to membership. The bloc’s extension was called the risk of provoking Putin to attack European countries.
Later, most countries supported Ukraine's willingness to become a candidate for the EU membership, and now the debate has been reduced to whether it is possible to make an exception for Kyiv and speed up the accession procedure. Candidate status can be granted to us as early as June 2022.
"Golden ladder" for Putin
Despite Western allies' assurances of support, their actual moves and rhetoric in the media remained not only slow and ambiguous, but somewhat outrageous for Ukraine.
For example, on March 14, The Telegraph, a reputable outlet, wrote a large article on how to "build a golden ladder for Putin," that is, about what Kyiv could give up to the Russian Federation so that it could be passed off as a victory for the Russian population.
The authors of the article believed that Ukraine and the West should allow the Russian president to declare victory, even if he suffers a real defeat. They feared that, terrified of losing his regime, Putin might "double down on his bloody war."
"Grubby and unsatisfactory compromises may have to be made to secure a peace Putin does not deserve but Ukraine needs," the authors write.
The terrible mistake of the West
On March 15, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was quoted by the BBC, said that it was vital for the West to free itself from dependence on Russian oil and gas in order for the Kremlin to finally stop its "intimidation".
According to him, this is the only way to stop President Putin’s "continuous blackmail".
He also admitted that when the Kremlin had first attacked Ukraine in 2014, the West had made a terrible mistake by letting the Kremlin dictator get away with it.
Coerce Putin into a peace
On March 16, little has changed: Reuters reported that Putin could agree to peace in a way that would allow him to "claim victory."
At that time, both Putin and Zelenskyy announced certain shifts in the peace talks, but in the end everything turned out to be futile.
The truth was that the compromise for Russia looked like a significant loss by Ukraine of its territories, in particular, the entire Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Crimea, and the cities and towns already captured by the Russian Federation in the south.
The Financial Times, for its part, expressed the view that Kyiv should give up its ambitions to join NATO and pledge not to host foreign military bases or weapons in exchange for protection from the U.S., Britain, and Turkey.
Already on March 17, the United States warned the Russian Federation about the consequences of the use of chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, the BBC reported.
The Washington Post, meanwhile, published an opinion piece by geopolitical commentator Jennifer Rubin on why the Kremlin had already lost the war. According to the author, Putin will never be able to subdue ordinary Ukrainians.
Through his actions, the Kremlin dictator has also united the West, encouraged NATO to increase military spending, and demonstrated weakness with an awkward suppression of the media.
"It’s clear the war has been devastating to Russia — and perhaps crippling to Putin. He now finds himself the butt of jokes," Rubin wrote.
She quoted White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who, after the Russian sanctions against the United States, had stated:
"None of us are planning tourist trips to Russia."
The next day, the BBC quoted a British military expert as saying that Ukraine was "humiliating" Russia on the battlefield and "wiping its feet on them from the point of view of the world community."
Biden and the peacekeeper proposal
On March 21, Western media wrote that Volodymyr Zelenskyy was increasing pressure on Joe Biden.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield expressed doubt that the war in Ukraine could soon end through negotiations, The Guardian reported.
At that time everyone was waiting for the NATO summit in Brussels on March 24 and Biden's speech in Poland, as well as the discussion of Warsaw's proposal to send peacekeeping forces to Ukraine.
Republicans, meanwhile, criticized the pace and content of the U.S. support for Ukraine. According to Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso, the president had to be pushed and pulled to where he was today.
An insight into the course of the war
Already on March 23, the Americans announced that Ukraine was defending itself very intelligently, deftly and creatively, gradually going on the offensive and returning territories.
The BBC quoted U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson John Kirby, who had stressed that the Ukrainians were building a very tough defense.
According to him, the Russians have not achieved any of the strategic goals set for them.
Trump destroyed, and Biden restarted NATO
On March 24, The New York Times reported that incumbent President Joe Biden is restarting the U.S. relations with NATO, while Donald Trump planned to dissolve the bloc.
The outlet recalled that in 2017, Trump had made the Alliance flinch by refusing to support NATO's mutual defense promise.
Later, the former president's anger at the financial contributions of other NATO members resulted in a statement that he saw no point in the U.S. membership in the Alliance. The weakening of the bloc played into Vladimir Putin’s hands.
At the same time, Biden assured that Putin miscalculated that he could split NATO.
Biden's emotional speech
At the end of March, after the return of the U.S. President Joe Biden from Poland, he was criticized at home for an emotional phrase against the bloody dictator Putin.
In particular, The Washington Post reported on the difficulties in explaining the words of the U.S. President about Putin.
"For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power," the U.S. President said, causing concern among colleagues and subordinates.
The White House representatives assured that they are not seeking regime change in Russia. Republicans stressed that Biden's comment played into the hands of Russian propagandists.
Biden himself also said that his statement was not a call to overthrow the regime, but he did not regret his words, The New York Times reported.
Bucha massacre and world’s reaction
In early April, the EU promised sanctions against Russia over the killings of civilians in Bucha and other settlements in Ukraine, and the U.S. said it would demand Russia's removal from the UN Human Rights Council.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that this would require a two-thirds vote of the Assembly, Sky News reports. Voting took place on April 7th.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet admitted at that time that the photos of dead civilians on the streets of Bucha horrified her, The Guardian reports.
Attacks against Macron and Scholz
After the footage from Bucha had appeared, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki attacked French President Emmanuel Macron with harsh words of criticism.
He stated that his negotiations with the bloody leader of Russia had not led to anything.
"How many times have you negotiated with Putin and what have you achieved? We do not discuss, we do not negotiate with criminals. We need to fight the criminals," he said indignantly.
Morawiecki added that "nobody negotiated with Hitler". The Polish leader also advised German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to listen not to the voices of German business leaders and billionaires, but to innocent women and children.
Putin’s friends in Hungary and Serbia
CNN analyzed in early March what the victory of pro-Putin leaders in Hungary and Serbia meant.
The outlet believed that the support in Budapest for the Fidesz party and Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and in Serbia — for President Aleksandar Vučić, had given Putin a chance to make sure that he still had "friends" in the West.
At that time, Orban said that the party had to fight with a large number of opponents, among whom he named "Brussels bureaucrats", international media and... President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Billions for Russia's war machine
On April 6, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell acknowledged that continued purchases of Russian oil and gas gave the Kremlin many times more money than financial assistance to Ukraine:
"We have given Ukraine 1 billion euros. But a billion euros is what we pay Putin every day for the energy he provides us."
He urged the bloc to provide Ukraine with more weapons because this is what the Ukrainians expect.
Returning Crimea and Donbas
On April 7, the European Parliament almost unanimously supported a resolution on additional punitive measures against the Russian Federation. These included: a complete embargo on imports of Russian oil, coal, nuclear fuel, and gas. 513 deputies voted in favor, 22 were against, 19 abstained.
The document also required a strategy for lifting sanctions against Russia if steps were taken to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
That is, for the first time it was about the liberation of all territories, including Crimea and the occupied part of Donbas.
EU’s fifth package of sanctions
On April 8, the EU formally approved the fifth round of sanctions against Russia, including a ban on imports of coal and chemicals.
The ban on coal imports will come into effect from the second week of August 2022, when all existing contracts will need to be terminated, but from April 8, a ban on new contracts came into effect. This is somewhere around 8 billion euros a year in lost revenues for Russia, Reuters wrote.
The sanctions include a ban on many Russian ships and trucks from entering the EU and transactions with four Russian banks. Imports of timber, rubber, cement, fertilizer, high-class seafood, and alcoholic beverages were banned. Losses are estimated at 5.5 billion euros per year.
Regarding exports, the EU restricted the sale of jet fuel, quantum computers, advanced semiconductors, high-end electronics, software, sensitive machinery, and transport equipment to the Russian Federation for a total value of 10 billion euros per year.
Russian companies were banned from participating in public procurement in the EU and using cryptocurrency. Another 217 persons were added to the blacklist as part of individual sanctions.
Johnson's "secret" visit to Kyiv
On April 9-10, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kyiv and took a walk along Bankova and Khreshchatyk streets with Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The Times wrote that Johnson had personally promised Volodymyr Zelenskyy new lethal weapons, including armored vehicles and anti-ship missiles.
The Prime Minister traveled by train from Poland to Kyiv, where he met with the President of Ukraine at the Mariinsky Palace.
It is interesting that his visit took place after the visit of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and was supposed to be secret, but the Ukrainian embassy thwarted these plans by publishing a photo of Johnson and Ze with the word "surprise" and a winking emoticon.
U.S. pressure on India and irony towards EU
On April 12, US President Joe Biden tried to convince India not to do anything foolish with the purchase of Russian oil by talking to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Indian government was urged not to increase Russian energy imports and to avoid undermining the U.S. and European sanctions. The White House promised to help India diversify its energy sources.
At the same time, the Indian Foreign Ministry noted that India's total monthly purchases from Russia were less than the EU made "in the afternoon."
Fraternal peoples from Macron
On April 13, French President Emmanuel Macron's statement that one should not resort to escalating rhetoric calling Russian actions a genocide caused a significant scandal.
The Washington Post reported that the French leader added that he had been careful to use such terms today because Russians and Ukrainians "are brothers" as peoples.
These words caused outrage in Ukrainian social networks: users advised the President of France "to talk less on the phone with Putin."
Scandal over Steinmeier's visit
In mid-April, the German media reported with surprise that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had refused to host German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Kyiv.
According to Deutsche Welle, he planned to visit Kyiv together with the heads of state of Poland and the Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, but the visit was canceled from Kyiv.
The reason is that Steinmeier used to support reconciliation with Russia, although he later admitted his mistakes.
At the same time, Ukraine was expecting the visit of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, which has not yet taken place. Interestingly, there were no official statements from Kyiv about the cancellation of the visit, and therefore the story remains ambiguous.
Andriy Melnyk, Ukraine's Ambassador to Germany, said Kyiv wants Scholz's visit that would focus on how Berlin could help Ukraine with heavy weapons.
Germany's contrition before Ukraine
The BBC article from mid-April 2022 can also be attributed to the change in rhetoric. The article mentioned that Germany was burning bridges with Russia and was surprised to realize that it paid too much attention to the feeling of guilt towards Moscow amid the fact that during World War II Ukraine had been completely occupied.
Western media noted that even according to German standards, Berlin's overestimation of Russia's values was striking.
During Putin's rule, official Russian policy tried to monopolize the memory of World War II, and this made part of German society blind to the suffering of the Ukrainians of those times.
Now there is a greater awareness of the trauma Ukraine suffered under the Nazis.
Strikes against Russian minister
The Guardian reported on April 20 that Western countries had prepared coordinated strikes to protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine during the G20 finance ministers' meeting in Washington.
Among those who planned to boycott the meeting with Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov were U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and British Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
On April 21, Sunak and his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland left the IMF meeting in Washington in protest during a speech of a Kremlin delegate, Reuters reported.
After Siluanov’s speech, Freeland returned to the meeting and personally addressed the Russian finance minister, saying that listening to him at that time was absurd, because the Kremlin’s war entailed poverty and hunger, and rape was systematically used by Russian soldiers as a military weapon.
Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, also left the G20 meeting in Washington on April 20 over the presence of Siluanov.
"Putin is a crocodile that got your leg in its jaws"
On April 21, Boris Johnson acknowledged that any peace talks on Ukraine are likely to fail. He said that dealing with Putin was the same as dealing with a crocodile "that got your leg in its jaws"
Therefore, it was vital that the West continued to arm Ukraine, the British leader stressed, quoted by Reuters. On the same day, he headed to India to urge his colleague Narendra Modi to abandon his neutrality over the war in Ukraine.
During the visit, Johnson said that the British embassy in Kyiv would reopen in a few days and assured that Modi had very strongly condemned the massacre in Bucha and had already asked Putin several times "what the hell he had been doing", the BBC reported.
Germany: Heavy weapons scandal
If one analyzes the statements of European leaders, one will not see a clear spike in the West’s rhetoric, because from time to time any ally made new attempts "not to provoke Putin."
For example, on April 21, it became known that the administration of the German chancellor crossed out heavy weapons from the list of military equipment that it had offered to buy for Ukraine.
The Guardian reported that the new list included only 3 of the 15 types of weapons requested by Kyiv.
But already on April 26, the situation changed, and Germany announced its intention to send several dozen armored anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine, according to The New York Times. On April 28, the German parliament approved the shipment of additional weapons, including heavy ones, to Ukraine.
Striking Russia is legal
The new British rhetoric of April 26 is interesting, when Secretary of the Armed Forces James Heappey said he considered it perfectly legal for Ukraine to strike Russian territory to disrupt its supply lines.
The BBC quoted his commentary on the attack on a fuel depot in Russia: the Minister stressed that it was up to Ukrainians to make a decision on targeting.
For his part, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was quoted by The Washington Post on April 28, also said that Ukraine could choose its own tactics in order to stop the Russian invasion.
Move heaven for Kyiv’s victory
On April 26, the rhetoric of the West became more categorical: the United States, during negotiations in Germany with allies from 40 countries, had promised to "move heaven and earth" to help Ukraine win the war against Russia, Sky News reported.
This was stated at the Ramstein airbase by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
At the same time, Western officials, in response to Russian narratives that NATO was at war with Russia, said that this was not happening, but they had every right to arm Ukraine for its self-defense, according to The Guardian.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, for her part, said it was important to push Russia out of all territory of Ukraine and urged world leaders to send more arms, planes, and tanks to Kyiv.
Her statement also underlined that the West's stance had shifted from the "golden ladder for Putin" to the ultimate goal of liberating the entire territory of Ukraine.
Historic slap in Putin’s face
On April 28, the House of Representatives approved the Lend-Lease bill, reviving the World War II military program that helped, including the USSR, win the war, The Washington Post reports.
Passed unanimously by the Senate and almost unanimously by the House of Representatives, the legislation refers to the Lend-Lease Act of 1941 proposed by President Franklin Roosevelt.
By the end of the war, the United States had provided almost $50 billion in Lend-Lease assistance to allied countries, according to the Library of Congress. Biden signed the law on May 9.
$40 billion for Ukraine and U.S. Senate
As early as May 2, U.S. lawmakers pushed for the speedy adoption of a $33 billion U.S. aid package for Ukraine, as requested by U.S. President Joe Biden.
Later, the House of Representatives passed the Democrats’ aid bill in the amount of more than $40 billion, but it stuck in the Senate.
On May 12, Kentucky Republican Rand Paul single-handedly blocked the Senate's fast-track procedure for a Ukraine aid package, saying he "swore an oath to the U.S. Constitution, and not to any foreign state."
Finally, the package was passed according to the usual procedure, albeit with reduced debate, already on 19 May. On May 21, President Joe Biden signed it. This is the largest aid package to another country that Congress passed in the past two decades.
Hungary and oil embargo
Meanwhile, the EU, which prepared the sixth package of sanctions against Russia with an oil embargo, was able to convince almost all countries, but is still trying to persuade Hungary.
Negotiations have been going on for several weeks: for example, Slovakia managed to get a five-year postponement of the oil embargo, but this option does not suit Budapest.
Although most countries stopped resisting, Viktor Orban, apart from 5 years without an embargo on Russian oil, demanded 15-18 billion euros of investment in the country's oil and gas system in order to get rid of dependence on the Kremlin.
Negotiations are still at an impasse because the EU is looking for an investment program for Hungary.
It is important to understand at the same time that most European countries have previously opposed the oil embargo in the coming years, and the situation has changed dramatically in three months.
Former Chancellor at Rosneft
In late May, the EU and Germany stepped up pressure on former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, according to The Washington Post, because of his tenure on the board of directors of Rosneft.
Schröder is facing both pressure from his party and the EU to step down from his position, where he earns about $600,000 a year. In addition, the ex-chancellor is the head of the Nord Stream shareholders' committee, where he earns about $270,000 a year.
In particular, on May 20, Schröder was stripped of his office and staff in the Green Party, and the Committee on Budgets enacted a new provision on benefits the former chancellors are entitled to (this refers to the amount of more than 400,000 euros).
The draft resolution of the European Parliament urgently demands that Schröder resign from Rosneft. Schröder is also required not to join the board of directors of Gazprom, he is threatened with being included in the sanctions list with the freezing of assets.
New air defense systems from Germany and missiles from the U.S.
In mid-May, information appeared that Germany, which had resisted the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine for a very long time, was considering the possibility of supplying Kyiv with IRIS-T SLM medium-range anti-aircraft missile systems.
The Independent, citing a source in law enforcement agencies, wrote that Ukraine could get them as early as November.
Meanwhile, the White House had begun working on handing over advanced anti-ship missiles into the hands of Ukrainian warriors, Reuters reported on May 19.
This is what will help overcome the Russian naval blockade, which is already resulting in hunger and a food crisis in the world..
Two types of high-powered anti-ship missiles are being considered: Boeing's Harpoon and Kongsberg's and Raytheon Technologies' Naval Strike Missile.
instead of conclusions. So, three months later, the West has already moved from the rhetoric of what can be given up to Russia so that it calms down, and Putin can assure his people of victory, to the determination to support Kyiv until victory.
The question remains that the United States and allies are playing the long game, trying to exhaust the Russian Federation as much as possible with sanctions and battles in Ukraine, while the military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are dying every day, warriors from Azovstal have already been captured, civilians are losing their homes, and the invaders in the occupied territories torture them and rape even small children.
Hence, the supply of heavy weapons, air defense systems, aircraft, and missiles, If only it weren't so stretched out in time, could save tens of thousands of lives, and even now can greatly reduce the number of victims of the war. Ukraine has been fighting for its independence for exactly three months now.