September 14, 2022 - 11:35am

The International Editor of the BBC has suggested that some European nations do not want to see Ukraine emerge winners in the ongoing war with Russia.

Speaking on the BBC’s Global News Podcast yesterday morning, Jeremy Bowen said (5:35-6:37) it suits less hawkish nations like Italy to have a stalemate in Ukraine, as they are anxious about the tenor of the Russian reaction to a full sale Ukrainian victory:

One of the ironies of this is that the stalemate that’s been going on the battlefield for a few months now actually suits some Western governments who aren’t all that hawkish, unlike say here in Britain where the government is pretty hawkish. But take Italy for example. It quite suits them to have a stalemate because if the Ukrainians were to lose that would be awful but if the Ukrainians were to win, then that opens up a whole bigger field of questions about how would the Russians react. And that scares quite a few of them. I don’t think that Putin is the sort of person and leads the kind of regime where you can just step back and say ‘I’ve made a big mistake and I’m not nearly as strong as I thought I was and oh well, that’s life’ — he’s not that sort of guy.
- Jeremy Bowen, BBC

These comments come in the wake of the stunning volte-face in Ukrainian fortunes, as their army has been recapturing territory from Russian forces in the Kharkiv region since late last week. But these advances may result in Vladimir Putin reacting in, as former Deputy Secretary of Nato Rose Gottemoeller told the BBC, “unpredictable ways”. “I fear they will strike back now in really unpredictable ways and in ways that may even involve weapons of mass destruction,” she said. Her fears were were shared by John Bolton, former National Security Adviser under the Donal Trump administration, who added that nuclear war with Russia was “a lot closer” than previously thought.

is a reporter for UnHerd.