Last week media all over the world, from British Reuters to Russian Sputnik, wrote about Croatian President Zoran Milanović’s statements, where he speaks about the war in Ukraine. What Russian propaganda narratives were used by Milanović and why a president of NATO and EU state can have such views – read in our article.
What Milanović said
We have analyzed three central claims in Milanović’s speech.
- It is not possible for Ukraine to win, because Russia is a nuclear state and there are no chances to bite it in the arm, being allowed by the international conventions.
“What is the goal of this war? A war against a nuclear power that is at war in another country? Is there a conventional way to defeat such a country?” – Milanović said.
The Ukrainian Review asked military historian, doctor of historical sciences, head of the department of humanitarian sciences of the Hetman Petro Sahaidachnyi National Ground Forces Academy, professor Andrii Kharuk what he thinks about a such declaration.
“First of all, having nuclear weapons and using them are different things, – said the expert. – The Russian leadership, having seen the support of Ukraine by Western countries in response to the use of conventional weapons, should think about what the reaction will be to a possible nuclear strike. I would venture to assume that the relevant signals can already be sent to the Russian leadership through non-public channels.”
- Annexation of Crimea from Ukraine is the same, as recognition of Kosovo.
“We recognized Kosovo against the will of a state (Serbia) to which Kosovo belonged, – declared Milanović. – It is clear that Crimea will never again be part of Ukraine.”
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine claims it is not an appropriate comparison.
«It is worth considering whether Zoran Milanović could have become president of his country with such rhetoric in the 1990s when Croatia was fighting for its independence? Whether his voters could agree to close their eyes to the occupation of part of their country? I doubt that. Let me remind you that Croatia could have lost a third of its land because of foreign aggression. However, due to heroic fighting, the Croatians managed to defend the sovereignty of their state,» – said Oleh Nikolenko, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
A brief history of Kosovo you also can read here.
- Sending weapons to Ukraine only prolongs suffering.
« I am against sending any lethal arms there, it prolongs the war», – claimed the Croatian President.
We wrote in detail in our article “Who and why is spreading calls not to give Ukraine heavy weapons?” how wrong this opinion is.
Possible reasons for such claims
We asked political scientist, historian, hybridity specialist, director of the Institute of World Policy Yevhen Mahda what can be hidden behind Melanovic’s statement.
“I do not see anything strange in the statement of the Croatian president, because he has shown noticeable Euroscepticism before, – Yevhen Mahda said. – This is, in my opinion, a feature of a number of politicians who in one way or another represent the European Union, but consider expressing their own position as possible and necessary.
I would like to remind you that in Croatia there is also Prime Minister Andrej Plenković who consistently supports Ukraine, did so in the position of President of the European Commission and is doing so now. Croatia does not leave the Ramstein format and does not refuse to help Ukraine.
As for Mr. Zoran Milanović, I think that, in general, it is typical of Balkan politicians to make such loud statements. It is, if you will, an element of the political culture there.”
It is worth adding, in April 2022 Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković claimed that Milanović is a person with pro-Russian views and that he doesn’t know if the President is their agent or not.
According to the information from spring 2022, €16.5 million worth of lethal military equipment was sent by Croatia to Ukraine. Open-source intelligence analysts Oryx as well reported in August of that year about delivering at least fifteen Croatian 130mm M-46 field guns to Ukraine. Later use of the M-46 by Ukrainian forces was proved by ArmyInform.
Croatia also received almost 20 thousand Ukrainian refugees and provided at least 115 tons of humanitarian aid.
On the other hand, on December 16, 2022, the Croatian parliament rejected a proposal for Croatia to join an EU mission in support of the Ukrainian military.