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France and Germany risk being Putin’s ‘useful idiots’ with their hesitant approach to Ukraine war & More Trending News Today

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A belated visit to Ukraine this week by the EU’s big three leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi produced an image of all three ashen faced in the presence of Russian war crimes in Irpin. The visit was supposed to signal solidarity.

But actions speak louder than words – or pained photos. The evidence suggests France, Germany and Italy, will once again be the weakest links in combating Putin’s megalomania.

After watching – and kowtowing to – nearly a decade and a half of Russian aggression, it seems key European countries have learnt nothing about the ambitions of Vladimir Putin and limitless brutality he will use to achieve them.

Fourteen years ago Putin invaded Georgia – and grabbed 20 per cent of its territory, which it holds to this day. French and German interventions are partly to blame for the botched “peace” deals that were inflicted on the invaded country.

When Putin sent the tanks into Crimea and troops into Donbas in 2014, France and Germany again thought they knew best and helped foist a flawed peace deal on Ukraine, which Russia never stuck to anyway.

In the meantime, Angela Merkel (who earlier this month declared: “je ne regrette rien” over her disastrous miscalculations in dealing with Putin), continued building her country’s reliance on Russian energy – even as Putin assassinated opponents with nerve agent on European soil, and interfered in Western elections.

Even now, after Russia’s fully fledged assault on Ukraine, and the evidence of the war crimes it’s committed there, the EU’s biggest states can’t overcome their inclination to acquiesce in the face of Putin’s aggression.

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Putin toyed with French President Emmanuel ahead of the 24 February invasion in a series of pointless discussions, which serve only to stroke the tyrant’s ego and foster the belief his western opponents will give in before he does. We now know Putin intends to blast his way to the possession of as much of Ukraine as can until sufficient force stops him.

Macron insisted on Friday he will continue to speak with the Russian dictator “each time it’s useful”. The French president has already called for an end to the war on terms sufficiently favourable for Russia that Putin is spared “humiliation”.

Draghi also flips between calling for compromise and honouring the wishes of beleaguered Ukrainians on an almost daily basis.

The Kremlin is hoping to recruit another useful idiot in the form of the vacillating German Chancellor.

Immediately after the Russian invasion, Scholz stunned Germany – and the world – by announcing he would build up the army, ditch the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline and send arms to Ukraine. But the old hesitancy has returned.

Scholz also likes chatting with Putin, most recently in a joint call with Macron that lasted 80 minutes and dwelt on the need for a ceasefire.

Reports suggest he is reneging on promises to send extra troops to Lithuania to boost the Nato deterrence against Russian attacks on the Baltic states – even as the Putin’s tsarist fantasies have seen him hint at designs on the Russian-speaking border town of Narva in Lithuania’s neighbour and fellow EU member Estonia.

Despite promises of arms, German supplies to Ukraine have been limited. Berlin has yet to deliver a single heavy weapon since the start of the war. The website Foreign Policy reports that German’s advanced anti-aircraft system won’t arrive until the autumn, at which point German intelligence believes Russia may have already completed its conquest of the Donbas.

Following the Macron-Scholz-Drahi visit to Irpin, the European Union on Friday gave its blessing to Ukraine’s candidacy to join the bloc, along with its neighbour Moldova.

“Ukraine belongs to the European family,” Scholz said after meeting President Volodymyr Zelensky.

But any prospect of EU membership is years or decades away. Faced with just words rather than heavy ammunition, Putin hopes to have Ukraine for his own long before that happens.

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