Europe: The Prospects of an Expanded War Beyond the Borders of Ukraine are Growing

Elijah J. Magnier

Will NATO dare to declare open war against Russia? Will Western Europe accept to be dragged by the United States to approve the explosion of a major battle on European lands with unknown results and dangers?

US President Joe Biden said from the rostrum of the European Community in Brussels that his [NATO] alliance “will respond if Russian President Vladimir Putin uses chemical weapons in Ukraine.” This statement is considered one of the most dangerous US issues since the Cuba crisis in 1962 due to its repercussions on the war on Ukraine, the possibility of its expansion outside the borders, and what the future holds for Europe and the world.

Following his meeting with President Biden in Brussels, Latvian President Egils Levits declared, in a clear and challenging tone, that “Moscow’s use of biological weapons constitutes a great danger to the whole world and must be responded to. Russia should think twice before using chemical weapons. We won’t inform Russia about our plans. However, if that happens, everything will change in Ukraine.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that “NATO will respond if Russia uses chemical weapons.” Likewise, the leaders of the G7 countries (America, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Britain and Italy) affirmed in a joint statement that “any use of chemical weapons means changing the rules of the game and would be tantamount to a declaration of war.”

On the Ukrainian side, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that Ukraine “will only recognise the Ukrainian language (excluding native Russian speakers) as the only language used in the country. We insist first on an immediate ceasefire and a security guarantee that the country will not be subjected to any future aggression and that the sovereignty of Ukraine over the entire occupied territories will be preserved.” The Ukrainian Foreign Minister is basically dismantling the content of all the previous five-round meetings with the Russian delegation. Therefore, if what Kuleba said represents the official stand of Ukraine, the talks are back to square one. Indeed, Russian officials said their Ukrainian counterparts refused to sign any document even stating negotiated and agreed upon points.

Thus, Ukraine believes and acts as if it is not negotiating from a weak position, or at least counting on US support and waiting for further developments to challenge Russia further, notwithstanding the military non-equivalence between the two armies. Kyiv is ready to continue fighting even if it loses a massive part of the eastern Donbas province and southern Ukraine. The Russian forces are stationed 15 miles from the presidential palace in central Kyiv and are slowly operating to surround the capital. In the art of war, no regular country with static institutions and infrastructure, equipped with lesser effectiveness, no air dominance and facing greater firepower would fight a lost battle in a classical confrontation. The bulk of the Ukrainian hundreds of thousand men is fighting in the east and the south, where Russia registers the most significant advance on the ground.

It further indicates Ukraine’s intent to gain additional time in the seemingly unfruitful negotiations. This attitude stems from the confidence that the western community, led by the US, will continue to provide Kyiv with tons of weapons, advanced equipment, intelligence support and encourage the Ukrainians to continue and transform their country into another 1979 Afghanistan for Russia as it was for the former Soviet Union. It is doubtful that Ukraine officials would opt to continue the war if left themselves to decide.

Moreover, it has become clear that President Putin will not stop the military operation, whatever its military and economic costs, until his (unannounced) goals are fully achieved, starting from the full control of eastern Ukraine, hence the complete control of the Donbas. It may be expected to force other cities to capitulate until Kyiv surrenders and detaches itself from the US dominance and dictate. Russia is avoiding setting a high and costly objective so its military command can reassert the troops’ advance on the battlefield.

Therefore, it is no longer necessary to say that the US’s only objective was for the war to happen so it can last as long as possible to demonise President Putin and Russia because this goal has been already achieved. Furthermore, it is not a question for the US to consolidate the ranks of its western and European allies and drag them behind Washington’s goals because this objective has been concluded with success. Although hesitations were registered among the leaders of the Western European countries (not the Eastern ones, which are obedient to Washington), the West has reached a unified decision, albeit reluctantly and stands behind the US despite the damage to the EU economy.

Indeed, it is no longer a question of Europe’s distancing from importing Russian gas, oil, and coal because this path has been put on the track. The necessary measures have gradually reduced the EU’s dependence on the Russian energy source. This decision could require a few years for Europe to reach the final divorce with Russia. The separation will be excruciating for the European governments (mainly Germany, Italy and France) and the end consumers, but the decision is behind us now. On the first day of the war, to the dislike of Germany, Washington (not Berlin) announced the suspension of Nord-Stream 2, ending the Russian gas supply to Europe through a pipeline that had never been inaugurated. Biden succeeded where his predecessor Donald Trump failed. The Russian war on Ukraine added more victories to the US objectives in the European arena.

Consequently, the only conclusion remaining is that it is not improbable that the US is preparing for a much bigger battle. Accuse Russia of using chemical weapons – that Moscow has destroyed in 2017 – at some point in the ongoing battle, and the war will take a much more dangerous turn than today, with consequences that could shake the world.

This is a dèja-vu scenario of Syria, and the US is familiar with the “chemical weapons” procedure. Indeed, in 2013, when President Bashar al-Assad was accused of using chemical weapons, Russia intervened to prevent America from destroying the Syrian army and the Syrian leadership in Damascus. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry reached an agreement for Syria to hand over its weapons and chemical stockpiles. The US and its close partner Israel were happy with the exchange due to Syria’s threat to the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan heights. In 2018, the US, Britain and France bombed several sites in Syria in response to an accusation against Damascus of using chemical weapons that remained in Damascus’s possession. The claims that Syria used chemical weapons against civilians in the Duma area were unfounded and staged, according to the OPCW omitted report. The OPCW admitted that there was a “greater likelihood that both cylinders were manually placed in those locations rather than delivered from aircraft.”

Several testimonies emerged, including from international inspectors involved in the investigation and media professionals who visited the site, that the alleged attack was nothing more than a ploy. However, additional evidence favoring the Syrian government changed nothing, and the U.S. and its allies turned the page after bombing Syria. For Donald Trump, it was fun to give the order to bomb Syria while sharing a “beautiful piece of chocolate cake” with his Chinese counterpart. Trump didn’t bother to look for the truth behind the false claim of the chemical attack because he wanted to please the mainstream media without necessarily confronting Russia on Syria. The U.S. suffers no responsibility for its actions, illegal invasions, war crimes or civilian killings.

No official or media entity bothered to offer a simple explanation for accusing Syria of the chemical attack – knowing the dear consequences on the Damascus government – when the Syrian army and its allies – led by Russian forces – were victorious and regained control of major cities.

Therefore, it is not ruled out that the Western narrative is preparing the same environment to reproduce the Syrian experience in Ukraine. Russia has demonstrated that it possesses sufficient advanced and precision weapons, even those that the U.S. has so far not disclosed. In Ukraine, Russia used Kalibr, Iskandar and hypersonic missiles, some of which reach over 6,000 to 13,000 kilometers per hour. Russia is the second largest arms manufacturer and exporter after the United States. It manufactures precision-guided cruise missiles and controls most of Ukraine’s skies.

For Russia to resort to chemical weapons as an alternative to its advanced weaponry is not compatible with the military tactics of the Russian army in the first weeks of the war. Moreover, within a month, Russia has been able to control a significant part of the eastern, northern and southern fronts of Ukraine. It has destroyed many airfields, the Ukrainian army’s weapons depots and strategic fuel. Russia has set no time limit for its military operations and continues and develops its targeted attacks according to systematic progress.

However, Western leaders rallying under the U.S. flag against Moscow (including Japan) seem to pre-accused Russia of the possibility of exploiting the use of chemical weapons. This indicates that the preparation of a possible more elaborate plan than the chemical attack in Douma could be a scenario that the United States is contemplating. Undoubtedly, any use of chemical weapons will provoke a firestorm of condemnation and raised voices in response to the Russian attack, something that has not happened so far and is not expected to happen.

The other possibility is that the United States is mounting this campaign (Russia’s possible use of chemical weapons) to cover up the Pentagon’s cooperation with several Ukrainian biological laboratories. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland admitted that “Ukraine has biological research facilities and expressed concern that Russia could seize them.” Russia announced that Ukraine is developing a network of “at least 30 U.S.-funded biological laboratories with the potential to spread dangerous infections through migratory birds.”

In Syria, Russia was the calming factor between Washington and Damascus. Today, Moscow is directly involved in a battle against Washington in Kiev. Who will be the party to defuse the major war between NATO and Russia? Is this a scenario fabricated only to indict Russia and be used as a pretext for a more substantial step? Is it limited to a possible indictment against President Putin to bring a “legal” case to the International War Criminals Tribunal?

Will NATO dare to declare open war against Russia? Will Western Europe accept to be dragged by the United States to approve the explosion of a major battle on European lands with unknown results and dangers?

It is difficult for the United States to satisfy a Western media campaign to increase already existing resentment against Russia and its president. Indeed, NATO said it would intervene as it yearned to impose a no-fly zone in Ukraine to eliminate Russian air force superiority in the battle. But this is not possible because Russia said this amounted to a declaration of war against its country.

Russia will not collectively confront NATO forces with a classic war in which it cannot gain the upper hand, mainly after NATO forces studied the performance of the Russian military, which is not up to par with all NATO countries united. NATO states have experienced many wars and have occupied – without the consensus of the United Nations – Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in the last two decades.

Russia has said it will not use its nuclear weapons unless faced with an existential threat. Moscow will not go down without a fight, and the use of tactical nuclear weapons remains an option that Moscow will not hesitate to use if it feels it is under an existential threat. Where will the war in Ukraine lead, and will it end at Ukraine’s borders and prevent a major catastrophe for the world? Or will it spiral out of control if the West is not satisfied with the harsh and painful sanctions imposed on Moscow’s economy? Perhaps it is time for countries like France (once the presidential election is over) and Germany to rethink what kind of Europe they want and whether another war experience is vitally necessary to satisfy Europe’s new leader: the United States of America.