Opposition to War Drive in Europe Is Weak, but Growing

Europe moved a giant step toward direct military confrontration with Russia last week, with the permission given to Kyiv to strike military bases in pre-2014 Russia with weapons delivered by NATO member countries. In addition, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands announced a substantial increase in delivery of F-16 aircraft and other weapons systems capable of reaching targets deep inside Russian territory.

Indicative of the miscalculation, or the state of denial of Western leaders, were the statements of German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, when asked by a journalist from NachDenkSeiten about the Ukrainian attack against the Russian nuclear early warning system, at a May 29 press conference. “I have not spoken to the Chancellor about this”, Hebestreit replied. “So I can’t give you that information. The Chancellor was recently outraged by the shelling of a DIY store in Ukraine by Russia. He was very outraged by that, and I spoke to him about it.”

Is it possible that attacks on a key component of Russia’s nuclear defense system were not discussed in the German Chancellor’s office? Or that Olaf Scholz was really more upset by the shelling of a store in Ukraine?

In any case, the strongest official opposition in Europe to NATO’s escalation has come from Hungary. Several hundred thousand people participated in a pro-peace march in Budapest on June 1, addressed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “We will not go to war, we will not go to the East for a third time”, he said. “The pro-war forces have gone beyond common sense by wanting to defeat Russia as they tried to do during the First World War and the Second World War.”

On the same day, Italian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani stated clearly that Italy “will not send a single Italian soldier to fight in Ukraine, nor can our weapons be used outside Ukrainian territory, as our constitution does not allow it. We are not at war with Russia, we are only defending Ukraine’s freedom.”

In Germany, the leader of the newly founded party BSW, Sahra Wagenknecht, told the Funke media group that Olaf Scholz “should explain to the public why it should suddenly no longer be a problem if Ukraine attacks Russian territory with German weapons, even though he himself warned against this for months with reference to the danger of war for our country… Like millions of Germans, I fear a further escalation that could one day end in a third world war.”

The former Chief of Staff of the Bundeswehr, Gen. (ret.) Harald Kujat, has repeatedly warned against delivery of long-range weapons to Ukraine, citing the “catastrophic consequences” the attacks on Russia’s early warning radar could have had.

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