Boris Johnson’s secret plan to wrest Ukraine from Russia and the EU: the sovereign Commonwealth

Tuesday to Davos the most evening was scheduled high profile for Europe. Three prime ministers of the Union – from Belgium, Greece and Spain – sat at the tables in a secluded hall of the Congress Center. the president of the European central bank Christine Lagarde, two heavyweights of the Brussels Commission such as Paolo Gentiloni and Frans Timmermas, many ministers from various countries, the head of external intelligence in Paris. Yet the most awaited guest was missing: the foreign minister of Kiev Dmytro Kuleba. Announced on the eve, but never showed up.

On the surface, Kuleba hasn’t lost much because the European establishment at its highest level almost completely avoided mentioning the war on the Union’s borders all evening. But precisely these sometimes surreal silences and the absence of the Kiev guest have exposed the creeping tension between Ukraine and some of the main countries of the Union. precisely in this space that he is trying to fit into Boris Johnson, with an initiative that seeks to disrupt the cards in Europe: the premier of London proposes a new system of political, economic and military alliances – alternative to the European Union – which brings together countries united by mistrust towards Brussels and also towards Germany’s response to Russian military aggression.

Boris Johnson has been weaving his web for over a month now, according to some people familiar with the talks and present in these days at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The premier presented the idea of ​​him for the first time to Volodymyr Zelensky when the Ukrainian president welcomed him in Kiev on April 9th. The European Commonwealth model that Boris Johnson has in mind would have Great Britain as a leader and would include, in addition to Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania., as well as potentially Turkey at a later time. Since the visit of the premier of London to Kiev, the talks have continued and the British courtship towards Ukraine is becoming more and more pressing and detailed.

From what the few informed people outside London report, Johnson proposes uan alliance of states jealous of their national sovereignty, liberal in economics and determined to be extremely intransigent against the military threat of Moscow. The government of Kiev, for its part, has not taken a position on the British initiative but for the moment has not stopped it in the bud. The Ukrainian elite is convinced that in the palaces of power in Germany and France very few are hoping for the defeat of Vladimir Putin: the delays on the sanctions and on the weapons to be sent have now dug a political moat. Zelensky therefore awaits the European summit on 23 June, when the leaders of the twenty-seven countries will be called upon to decide whether to recognize Ukraine the status of “candidate” to formally start negotiations for accession to the European Union. It is not said that the decision of 23 June will be what Ukraine hopes for, also because it would raise the protests of Albania and North Macedonia that have been waiting for the status of “candidate” for years. There is therefore also another hypothesis, according to some negotiators: the leaders of the Twenty-seven can limit themselves to vaguely declaring that Kiev has a “European perspective” (the so-called “Thessaloniki formula”).

In that case Zelensky would take Boris Johnson’s alternative offer more seriously. It is also possible that rumors about these contacts will be circulating now, precisely to put pressure on European leaders in view of the decisions in June. It is also likely that the British project has feet of clay: London does not have the capacity of the European Union to financially support Ukraine, nor is it said that Poland or the Baltic countries embark on an initiative that could compromise relations with Brussels. .

Johnson is certainly looking for a political dividend, notes a European minister: the premier hopes to have an extra card in the deal with Brussels that he himself would like to reopen on Brexit. So London tries to upset the balance on the continent. And in doing so it may end up revealing a fracture line that now truly exists on the European continent: the one between the countries that are helping Ukraine most decisively – the United Kingdom and Poland above all – and those that do it in a more cynical and hesitating. According to estimates by Arianna Antezza of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, London alone has so far provided more economic and military aid to Kiev in the war than the whole of the European Union. And Poland has more data than Germany, France and Italy. Thus Vladimir Putin’s war, now in its fourth month, begins to open the first political cracks in Europe.

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Boris Johnson’s secret plan to wrest Ukraine from Russia and the EU: the sovereign Commonwealth


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