Ukraine war at a turning point | By Waseem Shabbir

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Ukraine war at a turning point

THE full-scale invasion of Ukraine unleashed by Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, has entered its 9th month since this devastating war broke-out on 24 February 2022.

It is being pronounced the biggest military conflict after World War-II since 1945. Tens of thousands of people have been killed from both sides till now.

As per Norwegian Refugees Council, the war has produced more than 13 million refugees so far. Ukraine has lost control of its 20% territory to Russian forces and their proxies.

To counterbalance Russia’s onslaught on Ukraine, western countries, especially the US and NATO have assisted Ukraine by all means till now.

US alone has given an aid package of $3 billion to Ukraine. US Congress has further approved $40 billion for Ukraine.

Overall, the US has sent $16. 8 billion in weapons and other aid since the war began on February 24.

Besides US, other NATO countries have also been supplying weapons to Ukraine since the eruption of this conflict.

Unlike the assistance from NATO countries towards Ukraine, there is no much favour and support for Russia from the countries like India that are considered close to her.

This is what debilitates Russia’s case of invasion for a noble cause. Most of the countries believe that Russian incursion of a sovereign country is the violation of international law.

On the contrary, Putin dubbs this attack as “a special military operation” for both the protection of Russian ethnicities living in the east of Ukraine from the atrocities of Ukraine government and the liberation of Donbas.

With a rational analysis of the given situation, one can easily realise that the US and its allies deliberately pushed Russia into this conflict in order to halt and deflect Russia’s economic resurgence and military might.

So, this was the only viable option for the US to weaken Russia economically and militarily than directly engaging in confrontation with it.

According to some political experts, the West is achieving all its motives through their proxy tactics; therefore, embroiling two countries into an open war against each other also simply means an opportunity for the US and its allies to flourish their business of selling weapons across the region.

Similarly, the US is all intended to embroil China into a Russo-Ukraine like bloody conflict with Taiwan in order to hinder and contain its progressivism.

Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was such an attempt to infuriate China against Taiwan so that a new war theatre could be staged that will weaken China economically and will divert its upward political trajectory.

Now, the question arises as what had after all prompted Russia to invade Ukraine? For Russia, there are several reasons; first, after the disintegration of the (former) Soviet Union in 1991, thereby Ukraine achieved independence from USSR, Russia has always envisaged it a threat to its security due to former’s leaning towards Europe.

Second, in the recent past, the NATO and the US had started piling up military build-ups on the eastern border of Ukraine which was a direct security threat to Russia.

Third, Ukraine’s ambition to join NATO bloc against Ukraine. Joining NATO simply means letting US and other adversaries gain access to Russian western border, whereby they can easily target Russia and it was something entirely unacceptable for the Communist State.

The last one was Ukraine’s utmost aspiration to be a member of European Union. The invasion was initially carried to capture Kieve, the capital of Ukraine and topple the government of Volodymyr Zelensky solely to break its tilt towards Europe.

Volodymyr Putin was desperately trying to install a pro-Russia government after the overthrow of Victor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian President.

Ukrainians had ousted him from power due to his reluctance to become European Union member.

Putin was passionate enough to overpower Ukraine’s affairs since Yanukovych was out from government in 2014.

The same year, Putin attacked and annexed Crimean Peninsula on north of the Black Sea with the justification to protect its ethnicities from the barbarism of Ukraine’s government.

However, invasion launched on 24 January was the full blown attack to bridle Volodymyr Zelensky and gain full control over his government.

Nevertheless, in a series of military confrontations and heavy belligerence between Russia and Ukraine, both sides have suffered a tremendous loss in terms of lives, money, infrastructure and a huge destruction of military equipment so far.

Though Putin has succeeded in doing a great damage to Ukraine, regrettably he has not succeeded in capturing the capital of Ukraine as per his focused ambitions which is definitely a great setback for Russian government until now.

Therefore, the aftermath of the invasion was appeared to be entirely different from the calculations made which is very distressing for Putin because he could not achieve much out of this protracted conflict.

Apparently, it seems that Putin has become tired with the war and wants to force Ukraine to negotiating table by inviting the arbitration of a neutral state to give a meaningful end to this conflict so that he must have something to show to his nation.

Russian economy is under international sanctions, so it is not affordable for Putin to continue this combat.

Currently, the battleground between Russo-Ukraine forces has eventually been shifted to Russian occupied areas of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson from all other war zones.

Occupation of aforementioned areas entails four reasons: first, Russia can easily block Ukraine’s access to Black Sea from Kherson.

Second, these areas are rich in hard coal, steel and other minerals. Third, Donbas will allow Russia to build a bridge between Crimea and these areas.

The last one is the self-proclaimed defence of the ethnicities. Let’s see how long more this conflict lasts.

However, UN and other international organisations have to step forward to play their pivotal role in persuading both Russia and Ukraine for peaceful negotiations leading to the peaceful conclusion of this deadliest conflict.

—The writer is a contributing columnist from Gujranwala.