In Reversal, Western Leaders Suddenly Fret Over Potential Ukraine Victory Over Russia

REUTERS/Serhii Hudak

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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Western officials are reportedly growing worried that Ukraine may win the war against Russia.

Jens Stoltenberg, North Atlantic Treat Organization’s (NATO) Secretary General, highlighted Sunday that “Ukraine can win this war” – a comment that coincides with Finland and Sweden’s push to join the alliance. This growing sentiment is sparking concern among Western European leaders who previously worried about Ukraine’s destruction, according to Politico.

While world leaders have noted that a ceasefire is up to Ukraine, they’ve recently begun highlighting its importance more fervently, Politico reported.

French President Emmanuel Macron noted recently that a “humiliation” of Russia could cause issues, such as the destabilization of Russia. This, according to Politico, is a key concern, as it could ultimately make Russia “more unpredictable.”

“We are not at war with Russia,” Macron highlighted May 9 to the European Parliament, adding that Europe must focus on helping Ukraine “achieve a ceasefire, then build peace.”

Similarly, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, following a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, noted that talk of a ceasefire was a key focus of the conversation.

“There must be a ceasefire in #Ukraine as quickly as possible,” Scholz wrote May 13 in a tweet laying out points made during his conversation with Putin.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi met May 10 with President Joe Biden. The two leaders spoke in part about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a White House readout. After the meeting, Draghi also highlighted the idea of building “peace,” Politico reported.

Another concern surrounding a possible Ukrainian win is the potential use of “tactical nuclear weapons,” The New York Times’ opinion columnist Ross Douthat explained.

Douthat suggested in a piece published May 14 that Russia would view “total defeat in Ukraine as a regime-threatening scenario.”

“We know that Russian military doctrine envisions using tactical nuclear weapons defensively, to turn the tide in a losing war,” Douthat wrote. “We should assume that Putin and his circle regard total defeat in Ukraine as a regime-threatening scenario. Combine those realities with a world where the Russians are suddenly being routed, their territorial gains evaporating, and you have the most nuclear-shadowed military situation since our naval blockade of Cuba in 1962.”

Still, experts previously told the Daily Caller that they view the use of nuclear weapons as an unlikely scenario.

“I think it’s highly unlikely that Putin uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The scenario in which I see that decision being taken and executed is in the event of a defeat of the Russian army in a conventional war. By this, I don’t mean a quagmire in Ukraine but a force marching on Moscow or St. Petersburg. I don’t see that on the horizon,” Peter Rough, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told the Caller.

Though some world leaders grow increasingly anxious for a ceasefire, the U.S. is operating with the policy of aiding Ukraine so that they can “win.”

“We have the mindset that we want to help them [Ukraine] win,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after a visit to Ukraine in April. “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” (RELATED: Biden Warns China Of ‘Consequences’ Should It Aid Russian Invasion Of Ukraine)

This rhetoric is backed up by the administration’s continued push to provide Ukraine with more weapons and security aid. What’s more, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy seems unwilling to negotiate at this point in the fight.

“We want the Russian army to leave our land — we aren’t on Russian soil,” Zelenskyy declared Thursday, according to Politico. “We won’t help Putin save face by paying with our territory. That would be unjust.”