Russia-Ukraine war: One year down the line | By Dr Farah Naz


Russia-Ukraine war: One year down the line

SINCE 24 February 2022, the Russia-Ukraine war has doubled household energy costs worldwide and made households more vulnerable to energy poverty, particularly during the winter in Europe. Along with this, damage to housing based on publicly available evidence was estimated at 54 billion US dollars as of December 2022. Further 35.6 billion US dollars were recorded in direct losses from damages to infrastructure. The total damage to the physical infrastructure of the war was estimated at 138 billion US dollars. Sexual violence and rape have been used as a war tactic while innocent Ukrainians face homelessness and refugee crises, where more than eight million Ukrainian refugees were registered across Europe. The war is also looming over global food security and oil crisis and preparing the world towards another inflation. But is it all worth it? What are they aiming for and can we see an end to the war or we are going to witness another nuclear conflict? These are some of the questions that constantly bother us.

But recent incidents such as Nord Stream 2 sabotage raised suspicions about the US and its involvement in blowing up the Nord Stream 2 when former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski tweeted a message of thanks to the US following the attack, which he later deleted. However, the viral clips of President Joe Biden two weeks before the invasion then circulated, in which the President said: “If Russia invades, that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2.” The journalist asked President Biden categorically, “How will you do it since the project is within Germany’s control? Biden replied I promise we will be able to do it. Hence the ball is in President Putin’s court.

After the Nord Stream blown-up incident, most of the media remained quiet until last week, a Substack article by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, entitled ‘How America took out the Nord Stream Pipeline’ was published, in which Hersh alleged — based on a single, unnamed source — that it was US Navy divers who, using a NATO military exercise as a cover, planted mines along the Nord Stream 2 pipelines that were later detonated remotely. These allegations were strenuously denied by the White House. But Seymour sticks to his stance that the US with the help of Norway has done it.

This is a clear example that Russia- Ukraine war is all about Russia and the US while Ukraine is used as a proxy like Vietnam or Afghanistan. However, it is worth mentioning that the war began thirty years ago in the 1990s when President Gorbachev unilaterally disbanded the Warsaw Pact – the military alliance of the Soviet Union. When he did that he received assurances from the US and Germany that NATO will not expand eastward. But did it happen? The recent war indicates that they lied about it. In fact, right at that time the US neo-conservatives started plotting NATO expansion eastward. Initially, three central European countries were included in NATO followed by seven more countries in 2004. In the meanwhile, the US pursued its unipolar agenda of moving the American bases, weaponry, missile and ABM system with the idea to surround Russia.

In 2008, President Bush made it further clear that NATO will expand to Ukraine and Georgia. On this Putin warned the US and made it clear that NATO expansion eastward is a redline and should not be crossed, otherwise it will lead to a conflict. In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, the Ukrainian government tried to act and maintain a delicate balance between the US and Russia but the US never appreciated that balance. Hence, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from office in a series of events leading to a revolution against him. But it is believed that since the US did not abide by Yanukovych’s neutrality, he had to leave. Later on, the US senior official’s involvement in his withdrawal, revolution and manipulation of Ukrainian politics was proven.

In 2014 Oleksandr Turchynov served as President but he was replaced by Petro Poroshenko who served from 2014-2019. Since 2019, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been serving for more than three years. Since 2014, neutrality is put on the back burner and only war gaming and welcoming billions of dollars of armed shipment are on Ukraine’s priority list. But what have they achieved in return? The international, particularly English media, needs to realize that with a US-led narrative only nuclear conflict will happen and it will not resolve the issue at hand. In this age, the world needs to live in peace and unfortunately, with weapons, peace can’t be maintained. Peace is only possible through mediation or negotiation. Hegemonic power is no longer required as it leads towards the division of the world that asks states to pick sides: on our side or their side!

The US and Europe said that the whole world is aligned against Russia but the vast majority of the world governments request the US to stop the war as it endangers the whole world. Today, the world doesn’t take sides or join US sanctions against Russia because the world is interdependent and views such measures as a one-sided affair. However, China tried to negotiate between the two conflicting states and asked both to respect the security interest of both Russia and Ukraine. This is also worth mentioning that the world did not impose sanctions on Russia. Looks like the world doesn’t agree with winning on the battlefield because that can endanger the whole world. What is needed now is negotiations and an end to NATO enlargement and in that BRICS, G20 and African Union need to play their role. In the past nine years, the collision of the two nuclear powers has been witnessed which puts the entire world in danger. But can we afford a nuclear conflict? Enough of the damage caused in one year!