Analysis: Rising inflation in Europe will challenge the West’s resolve in Ukraine war

For all that the West can reasonably pat itself on the back for its initial response to the crisis, things are about to get much harder.

Across Europe, citizens are starting to feel the cost-of-living crunch across the continent — which comes as many European countries have already played host to thousands of Ukrainian refugees.

Against this backdrop, it is hard for political leaders to justify spending money and energy supporting a country far away, especially when some of their citizens may feel that they’ve been generous enough as it is.

Multiple Western officials told CNN of their concern that at some point, political leaders might decide the best thing is to broker for a peace deal and undercut the Ukrainian preferred end game, which is forcing Russian forces back to the previous borders.

“There is growing concern in some quarters that if Ukraine appears to be losing ground to Russia this may accelerate calls for a negotiated settlement,” Theresa Fallon, director at the Centre for Russia Europe Asia Studies, told CNN.
“As soon as people sense that (Kyiv) is on the losing side, they may start to ask, ‘why do we continue to supply costly weapons to Ukraine at a time of economic stress?’ ‘Why are we throwing good money after bad?'”

Political upheaval in the West: This will be critical, she pointed out, as many key allies also go through turbulent political periods at home. Italy will hold an election, the United Kingdom will have a new Prime Minister and the United States will hold midterm elections that may determine the rest of President Joe Biden‘s first term in office.

Most officials acknowledge that no one has a clue on how this conflict ends. And while most would like to see Ukraine achieve its goals of standing up to Putin and forcing him out of their country, their true resolve has yet to be fully tested.

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