The Russo-Ukrainian war dates back to February of 2014. Then, the conflict was centred on the status of Crimea and Donbas. After weeks of a huge military build-up along Russian-Ukrainian border and in neighboring Belarus, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. And the rest as the say is history. THE
The Russo-Ukrainian war dates back to February of 2014. Then, the conflict was centred on the status of Crimea and Donbas. After weeks of a huge military build-up along Russian-Ukrainian border and in neighboring Belarus, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. And the rest as the say is history.
THE HISTORY AND NEED FOR RUSSIA TO DESIRE A PRO-RUSSIA INCLINED UKRAINE.
Russia desperately wants to keep Ukraine in its sphere of influence for a number of reasons. Firstly, Russia believes Russia and Ukrainian share deep cultural and historical roots. Russian civilization can be traced to Kyiv, the capital of modern-day Ukraine. Secondly, Putin considers Ukraine as part of Russia. He once referred to Ukraine as “Little Russia”. The Kremlin views Ukraine as a “Mini-Russia”. Also, Putin wants to establish a Eurasian Union — a powerful economic and political bloc embracing former soviet republics such as Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Georgia and Lithuania.
Ukraine is vital to this plan because of its size, historical links with Russia and its location on the EU’s border. Without Ukraine, there is no Eurasian Union. In addition, a democratic and liberal Ukraine will be considered to be pro-West by the authorities in Russia. It will contrast with the dictatorial regime obtain at present in Russia. This may trigger the clamour for real democracy in Russia. This Putin see as a threat to his existence, power and influence. A Europe leaning Ukraine is thus unacceptable to Putin and his inner circles.
Moreover, Putin still see Ukraine as rightful part of Russia. He believes that Ukraine is an illegitimate country that exists. He claims that historically and culturally, Ukraine belongs to Russia. In his words: “Ukraine actually never had stable traditions of real statehood.” He claims that Ukraine didn’t exist as a separate state, instead it had always been an integral part of a triune nationality: Russia, Belorussian, and Ukraine.
Putin fears that Ukraine, perhaps its most strategic neighbour is moving closer to the West. He hates the fact that Ukraine is growing too close to NATO and developing strong ties with the EU. He sees Ukraine as a democracy with the essential features like free speech, rule of law and free media. With these comes the freedom of choice for the people to elect their leaders in free and fair periodic elections. The opposite is the case in Russia as Russians do not enjoy such freedoms. If they see as a template and follow Ukraine’s example, this will mark the beginning of the end for Putin.
THE USA AND NATO ARE FIGHTING A PROXY WAR AGAINST RUSSIA IN UKRAINE
The USA and NATO are fighting a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. NATO is supplying military aid to Ukraine. In this proxy war, the Trans-Atlantic military alliance, NATO is using Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia. The West by helping Ukraine militarily has provoked Russia to carry out further attacks, thereby escalating the conflict. Ukraine and its people, civilian and military are the worst hit in this episode of violence. The conflict is inflicting huge damage to the country’s infrastructure on a daily basis. Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, hospitals, schools, civilian vehicles, shopping centres and other critical infrastructures.
Despite Russia’s cold war defeat and humiliation, Putin hopes to demonstrate to the West and the rest of the world, that the country is still a superpower, even if it will require him to use Ukraine as the pawn in the political chess board of his face-off with his foes — the US, the EU and NATO. Unfortunately, Ukraine will be at the receiving end and it will be worse-off at the end of the day. It will take huge amount of resources and efforts for rebuilding and rehabilitation to take place in a post-conflict Ukraine.
A WOUNDED RUSSIA IS A DANGEROUS RUSSIA.
Russia is now a ‘wounded bear’. And, an unstable Putin being at the helm of affairs of the country makes the situation very dangerous. The possibility of Putin deploying nuclear weapon in his arsenal is imminent. Russia’s failure in Ukraine is making Putin to be more dangerous, daring and aggressive. There is growing concern that Putin may employ the use of weapons of mass destruction — nuclear, chemical or biological. Although, this form of attack by Russia may not happen now or at all, we should not downplay the risk.
The surprising success of Ukraine in put up a formidable defense against this invasion for the last three months, is a humiliation for Putin. This will make the war to be protracted as the Russian military will regroup and be better fortified in all ramifications. In fact, Russia and indeed Putin are as dangerous as ever. Russian forces are presently bombarding towns and cities in eastern Ukraine with the declared aim of “liberating” the old industrial heartland known as Donbas.
It will be a great mistake to underestimate the ability of the Russia’s military forces to recover and come back at Ukraine. History has shown that Russia is able to stage a major comeback after a set-back. In the early days of the World War II, Russia lost to the German forces but came back from defeat with a vengeance.
AN AMICABLE RESOLUTION OF THE CONFLICT SHOULD BE SOUGHT.
All the parties involved in the war should be more opened and responsive to any peace efforts and negotiations that can resolve it. Putin should be humble enough to accede to the efforts that will lead to the amicable resolution of the war. He should discard the thought of deploying nuclear weapons. The US and NATO should also cooperate in the efforts towards peace in Ukraine. The conflict is already having dire socio-economic consequences across the world. It has increased food insecurity, particularly in Africa, crude prices, and uncertainties across global financial markets and the supply chain systems.
More diplomatic efforts and concessions should be employed to stop this conflagration and needless loss of lives. Ukraine, the West and the entire world should try and see things from Putin’s point of view. He feels threatens by a pro-west Ukraine. Further mediation, conciliation and compromise can lead to peaceful co-existence between the warring neighbours.
In conclusion, Western powers — especially the US and NATO should stop supplying weapons to Ukraine, but rather join hands with other stakeholders to resolve the crisis. NATO and the EU should desist from taking actions that can further provoke Putin. At the end of the day, no one really benefit from the current state of affairs.