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This war only stops by turning off the gas

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This war only stops by turning off the gas

In the space of two days, the Russian invasion of Ukraine tore its veils. It is a war of territorial conquest. Russia wants to take a good piece of its neighbor. Ukraine does not intend to step aside, especially after the brutality perpetrated by the Moscow troops. This leaves no room for peace. With chilling lucidity, the Russian president threw off his mask. Vladimir Putin has “totally adopted the logic of war”, confessed a disheartened Karl Nehammer, Austrian Chancellor, after meeting him in the Kremlin. To stop it, logic must be broken.

The logic of war means that military confrontation conditions peace. The fate of Ukrainian independence and European security is decided in the ongoing and future battles between Mariupol and Kharkiv, between the Sea of ​​Azov and the great plains of fertile black earth which, in better times, are the granary of Europe. and the Mediterranean. We are not used to the logic of war. It was spared for three quarters of a century, with the exception of the former Yugoslavia, where it was (laboriously) isolated and silenced. We are now forced to face it because the Ukrainian conflict sees Russia as the protagonist, a great power with abundant nuclear weapons, which wants to redesign the peaceful continental strategic balance. Whether or not to stop Putin’s expansionism in Ukraine makes a difference in security in Europe for the next 10-20 years, no more and no less than did not stop Hitler in Czechoslovakia in 1938.

This begs two questions. The first is what Vladimir Putin’s war wants. The second on what to do to stop it. The answer to the first was given by the Russian President – it must always be listened to to understand what to expect from the Kremlin. After meeting with the Belarusian imitator, Aleksandr Lukashenko, Putin said that the peace talks are in a “dead end”. He has no doubt that Russia will still achieve “noble aims” in Ukraine – through war. The military blows accumulated in a month and a half force him – for now – to renounce the oppression of independent Ukraine. He wants to at least get a slice of it. Putin’s war increasingly resembles a nineteenth-century war fought with the far more destructive weapons of the twenty-first century. In the brutal struggle for territory, cities, villages and coastlines, it is above all civilians who pay. The Russian president did not spare himself a dig at the West. The economic blitzkrieg of sanctions, he said, has failed. That’s not true, and the Russians who tighten their belts know it. Sanctions have a progressive and cumulative effect. The fact remains that it is only now that they are starting to touch the heart of the Russian economy: energy supplies. In August, the embargo on coal is triggered; the EU is putting the oil in the pipeline. Still untouchable, however, the goose that lays the golden eggs of Moscow – and the umbilical cord of Vladimir Putin’s war machine: gas. To break the logic of war, he must be severed. For our economies, Italy and Germany in the lead, it is a very bitter pill to swallow. But if we really want to stop a war that otherwise will continue “methodically and calmly” we must take thorium by the horns – with deeds, not words, as the Prime Minister did in Algiers. This month and a half of war was tragic for Ukraine, but very painful for Russia, in fallen, morale, military means destroyed, pride. Vladimir Putin was silent for a long time, he licked his wounds – and he decided to increase the dose. I wage war as long as I want, no peace – that Europe had just asked him through Nehammer – and try to stop me. Tolstoy will have turned in his grave. But he can do nothing to stop Putin. We, Europeans, Italians, yes. History won’t forgive us if we don’t.

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