four arguments, the same complacency with Putin – L’Express

four arguments the same complacency with Putin – LExpress

Since Emmanuel Macron’s comments on sending ground troops and the approach of the European elections, the war in Ukraine has rarely sparked so much debate on the French political scene. As a corollary, so many approximations can be credited to the National Rally or France Insoumise. From Europe which “is not today directly threatened” by Russia, to “disputed territories” in Ukraine, L’Express has selected, and corrected, four statements of rare complacency.

“Europe is not directly threatened today”: Thierry Mariani, RN MEP

His statement immediately raised eyebrows on the set. Invited to debate on March 14 with other candidates for the European elections by the Public Senate channel and the Ebra group’s newspapers, National Rally MEP Thierry Mariani delivered his analysis on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “What are we saying today about this war? We are simply saying first of all that Europe is not directly threatened today”, launched the former minister, before being qualified a few minutes later from “little telegraph operator of the Kremlin” by the head of the PS-Place publique list Raphaël Glucksmann.

Two years after the start of the war in Ukraine, the threats made by Russia against Europe are numerous and widely documented. “They are almost daily: you just have to turn on Russian television, confirms the historian Françoise Thom, author of “Putin or the obsession with power” (Litos, 2022). This is particularly clear for the Baltic States or Poland, where this question is absolutely no longer debated.” Last May, the former Russian president, now vice-president of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, had openly spoken of “our Baltic provinces” and a “temporarily occupied” Poland.

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“Today, we have passed the stage of threat,” adds Mathieu Boulègue, associate researcher at Chatham House specializing in Russia. The Kremlin defines itself as being at war against us: not a war such as it takes place in Ukraine, but a low-intensity informational and technological war that takes place through gray zone operations.” Regularly accused of appeasement with Russia, Thierry Mariani, who is also co-president of the Franco-Russian Dialogue, a lobbying association known to be pro-Kremlin, had already called a year earlier to “have good relations with Russia”, judging that Vladimir Putin is “still an experienced head of state”.

“Territories disputed today between Putin and Ukraine”: Aymeric Caron, related LFI deputy

The sequence quickly made the rounds on social networks. Invited by the show C this evening on France 5 on March 19, LFI deputy Aymeric Caron described the regions occupied by the Russians as “territories disputed today between Putin and Ukraine”, before adding that he would be necessary “to listen to the populations who are nevertheless the main ones concerned, in particular the Russian-speaking populations”. If the MP recognizes that the territorial integrity of Ukraine “has been violated”, he then considers that in the territories occupied by the Russians, “there are inhabitants who have taken the opposite step” of rapprochement with the Europe, referring to “separatists” and “all that”…

A narrative widely disseminated by the Kremlin since the invasion of Crimea and Donbass in 2014. “The separatist movements were entirely led by the GRU (the general directorate of Russian intelligence). This is an established fact which, in Furthermore, was told in detail by Igor Guirkine, at the time the Russian officer in charge of these operations”, recalls the historian Françoise Thom. Furthermore, Russian speakers are not necessarily pro-Russian separatists: again, this is an argument relayed by Russian propaganda.”

READ ALSO: War in Ukraine: when pacifism plays into the hands of the Kremlin

According to a survey conducted in April 2014 in southern Ukraine, 74.3% of the population was opposed to the entry of Russian troops into the territory of Ukraine, and 76.5% were against rallies in favor of accession to Russia. “There were certainly certain marginal fringes of the Ukrainian population in the Donbass who felt less Ukrainian than others. But from there to turning them into pro-Russian separatists ready to take up arms, there is a gulf,” summarizes Mathieu Boulègue.

“We must not go as far as offensive material which could make France appear to be a co-belligerent”: Laurent Jacobelli, spokesperson for the RN

Invited to react in duplex on BFMTV to the interview with Emmanuel Macron on March 14, the deputy and spokesperson for the National Rally Laurent Jacobelli gave his point of view on the aid to be provided to kyiv. “Today there is defensive equipment which is being delivered or which will be delivered to Ukraine to defend its population. On the other hand, we must not go as far as offensive equipment which could make France appear to be a co-belligerent “, affirms the parliamentarian from Moselle, before specifying the difference he makes between the different types of weapons. “It’s simple, protecting yourself, for example, from sending Russian missiles and stopping them is not the same thing as sending them yourself to Moscow.”

The opposition between “offensive” and “defensive equipment” is considered artificial by many military experts. “This distinction makes no sense since the modern equipment provided by France or Western countries can be used both offensively or defensively,” confirms Mathieu Boulègue. “It depends above all on the mission, not on the equipment in question: a simple pistol can be used to attack or defend yourself depending on the case.” The notion of cobelligerence, regularly put forward since the start of the conflict, is also widely discussed. “For months, Western equipment has been used by Ukraine to defend itself without making us co-belligerents,” adds the researcher. Considering us as such corresponds neither to Russia’s interests nor to the signals it sends us. .”

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To date, the long-range Scalp-Storm Shadow missiles supplied by France and the United Kingdom have, moreover, never been used to strike Russia directly, but targets located on Ukrainian territories occupied by Russian troops. , like Crimea. “No Western country is talking about sending missiles to Moscow,” adds Mathieu Boulègue. The recent strikes against oil installations in Russia were therefore not carried out using Western equipment, but with long-range Ukrainian-made drones.

“Ensuring that Ukraine joins NATO means preventing any ability to provide Russia with security guarantees”: Manuel Bompard, LFI deputy

On March 10, during the RTL-Le Figaro-M6 program Le Grand Jury, LFI deputy Manuel Bompard said he was opposed to Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and NATO, considered as “red lines”. He then clarifies his thoughts. “Ensuring that Ukraine joins NATO means preventing any ability to provide Russia with security guarantees, if we want to be able to have mutual security guarantees [pour la Russie et l’Ukraine, NDLR]”, explains the former campaign director of Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Does Russia – the aggressor country in Ukraine – therefore need security guarantees to protect itself from the expansionist desires of its neighbors? “This need for security has always been one of the central elements of Russian propaganda, observes historian Françoise Thom. But in reality, NATO is a defensive alliance which never intended to invade. ” Conversely, Moscow did not hesitate to send its troops to attack its neighbors, in Georgia, in 2008, then twice in Ukraine in 2014 and 2022. The very reason which precipitated the accession of the Finland and Sweden to the Atlantic Alliance in 2023 and 2024, after decades of neutrality.

READ ALSO: Faced with the Russian threat, Sweden on a war footing: “The whole country must prepare”

Beyond that, there is little chance that hypothetical security guarantees granted to Russia will be enough to guarantee any peace agreement, points out Mathieu Boulègue. “Russia today no longer has any credibility in its intention to respect the slightest international agreement that it could sign,” underlines the researcher. It is true that the history of Russian declarations before the invasion of Ukraine does not work in Moscow’s favor. “No ‘Russian invasion’ of Ukraine, which American officials and their allies have announced since last fall, is taking place and is not planned,” the Russian Foreign Ministry declared on February 17, 2022. Precisely a week before giving the offensive.