АНАЛІТИКА

09.05.2024 | Війна в Україні руйнує особливі відносини
Том Роген - The Telegraph

The United Kingdom and the United States retain a special relationship. This relationship is especially close between the Royal Navy and the US Navy, and the two countries’ respective signals intelligence services, GCHQ and the National Security Agency.

Still, disagreements between London and Washington are growing over strategy toward Ukraine.

Since the February 2022 start of the war in Ukraine, the UK has always been more aggressive than the US in its support of Kyiv. British special forces have been operating in Ukraine far closer to the front lines than is commonly understood. This actionable presence and associated influence with the Ukrainian military is best evinced in the raids and drone attacks that Ukraine has carried out inside Russian territory.


So-called “deep strikes” are a preeminent doctrine of the British Army’s 22nd Special Air Service regiment. In contrast, US military and CIA special forces deployments to Ukraine have been far more restrictive in scale and operational flexibility. I’ve heard CIA gripes in Washington that the British are doing cool stuff while CIA officers must repeatedly beg their headquarters even for highly restricted trips to areas far further from the front.

Recent weeks have, however, shown a notable Russian escalation on the Ukrainian battlefield and beyond. The Russian intelligence services are now conducting a sustained covert action campaign to target facilities and persons in the West that are deemed to be providing support to Ukraine. The most striking example of this effort came with a March arson attack on a warehouse in London. Snap Russian tactical nuclear weapons exercises this week further underline Vladimir Putin’s interest in intimidating the West. Putin wants Western support for Ukraine greatly diminished in order to provide political and military space for a Russian summer offensive.


But while the Biden Administration continues to prize careful management of the risks of escalation, the UK is meeting Russia’s escalation with its own.

Consider Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron’s announcement last week that Ukraine can use UK provided weapons to strike targets inside Russia. Until now, Ukraine has only been able to use UK weapons systems such as the Storm Shadow cruise missile to target Russian positions on its own territory. The change in British strategy presents significant new opportunities for Ukrainian commanders. It will allow Ukraine to target Russian positions around cities including Voronezh, Kursk, Bryansk and Orol. These areas beyond Ukraine’s northeastern border serve as key logistics nodes for Russian forces.



Storm Shadow provides for accurate surprise attacks that are far harder for Russia to defend against than drone attacks. This means that even where Storm Shadow is not employed against targets on Russian soil, the very possibility of its employment will force Russian commanders to adapt to being “held at risk.” They will have to adopt time consuming and expensive efforts to hide and better protect forces within Storm Shadow’s range.

If some commanders cannot be bothered to engage in such efforts, a likely possibility considering the spotty professionalism of the Russian armed forces, they will open themselves to devastating attacks. Ukraine will be watching for an opportunity to take advantage of any Russian security failure. As Russia gazes upon the Ukrainian northeastern bastion city of Kharkiv, the British weapons waiver adds a much undesired complicating factor.

Hence Russia’s furious response to the UK’s announcement. The Russian foreign ministry summoned the UK ambassador to Moscow on Monday. It warned that if Ukraine does indeed use UK weapons on Russian soil, Russia will view attacks on UK military targets in Ukraine and “beyond” as legitimate. This is peak Russian hypocrisy, of course, willfully ignoring as it is of the fact that Russia which first crossed the red line of striking British territory via its arson attack.

But London isn’t Moscow’s only audience. Russia is equally if not more infuriated with France’s Emmanuel Macron. Apparently abandoning his prior fulminating appeasement strategy toward Moscow, Macron now pledges that Ukraine will not be allowed to fall. Macron has also doubled down on a recent warning that he would consider deploying troops to fight alongside Ukrainian forces under certain conditions. These include a scenario in which Russian forces secured a major breakthrough that threatened Kyiv.

These dynamics frustrate Putin. This Anglo-French resolve is, after all, the exact opposite response to that which Putin’s covert action/nuclear brinkmanship intends to secure. But Putin may feel greater hope that his threats will pay dividends further afield.


That’s because the Biden Administration is growing more cautious. Desperate to restrain US petrol prices in advance of the November presidential election, the Biden Administration has pressured Ukraine to avoid targeting Russian energy facilities with its drones. This is a quite astonishing request being that these attacks offer Ukraine a key means of degrading the crown jewel of an otherwise decrepit Russian economy. Biden officials have also renewed their assertions that they do not support Ukrainian strikes inside Russia, let alone with US weapons.

Russia senses the Biden Administration’s caution. It recognises that Biden is attempting to chart a course between supporting Ukraine and avoiding playing into Donald Trump’s hands as he warns of endless war. It also recognises that Germany and other Western European powers are always fearful of what might happen next. In turn, Russia will almost certainly escalate its intimidation-brinkmanship tactics as the US elections grow closer. The problem for Biden is that his current course of hesitation in face of Russian threats risks only encouraging Putin’s further escalation.

This leaves a growing strategic gap between the US and its closest ally, and the US and its oldest ally. Britain and France believe Russia can be confronted and deterred on the same principles as that which underpinned Cold War deterrence. Namely, the willingness to meet Russian escalation with commensurate action while rejecting out of hand Russian nuclear blackmail. In contrast, the US appears to believe that signaling disinterest in escalation will earn Putin’s eventual favor.

If nothing else, this disunity provides openings for Putin to divide NATO.


USERS COMMENTS

Ваше ім'я
Ваша поштова скринька
Заголовок
Ваш відгук
Залишилось сомволів
| | | Додати в вибране
Пошук
Підписка
Центр миру, конверсії та зовнішньої політики України
Інститут євро-атлантичного співробітництва
Центр "Україна - Європейський вибір"
Defense Express
Центр європейських та трансатлантичних студій

Rambler's Top100 Rambler's Top100


Міжнародний фонд відродження Проект здійснено за підтримки
Міжнародного Фонду "Відродження"
Міжнародний фонд відродження Проект здійснено за підтримки
Центру інформації та документації НАТО в Україні
© 2004 - 2024. ЄВРОАТЛАНТИКА.UA
Всі права захищено.

Даний проект фінансується, зокрема, за підтримки Гранту Відділу зв'язків із громадськістю Посольства США в Україні. Точки зору, висновки або рекомендації відображають позиції авторів і не обов'язково збігаються із позицією Державного Департаменту США.
На головну Анонси подій Новини Аналітика Топ новини та коментарі Мережа експертів Про проект