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Russia-Ukraine: Prepare for Protracted Conflict and Great Power Rivalries

US President Joe Biden announced an additional $1 billion in aid to Ukraine for armaments, including anti-ship systems, artillery rockets and howitzers; this was announced following a call between President Biden and President Zelensky of Ukraine, who demanded additional and more sophisticated military assistance to defend his country against Russian aggression; this is the 12th U.S. military package since Russia launched the “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. It is therefore abundantly clear that the West remains determined to continue increasing Ukraine’s defense capabilities in the latter’s conflict with Russia on the one hand and punishing Russia with severe economic sanctions on the other. A protracted conflict can therefore be foreseen unless Russia and Ukraine surprise the rest of the world by reaching a compromise agreement, the chances of which seem remote at the moment.

Meanwhile, even though Ukraine is under fire, the heat is being felt all over the world in one way or another. In short, the impact of the war has taken on global dimensions and is reflected in physical security, energy security, food security, supply chain disruptions and resulting high rates of inflation, etc.

Watch: Russian-Ukrainian crisis | 500 frontline soldiers injured every day: ambulance teams

In terms of physical proximity, the European continent is closest to the war zone. For the first time since the Second World War, Europe is witnessing a large-scale conflict which seriously threatens its physical security. As a result, we can see a change in mentalities. Germany reviewed its traditional policy and decided to supply arms to Ukraine in times of war. Finland and Sweden have decided to renounce their traditional neutrality and are asking for NATO membership as a guarantee of security against any possible aggression by Russia.

Read also | France, Germany, Italy and Romania support Ukraine’s EU candidacy during crucial visit to Kyiv

The strong punitive measures taken by the United States and its allies against Russia have further strengthened the budding alliance between Russia and China which, pushed at least by the United States, had been for some time now closer and their relations had evolved to reach in 2019 a “global strategic partnership of coordination for a new era”.

The partnership covers a wide range of areas for the promotion of bilateral relations, in addition to adopting a coordinated approach on regional and global issues.

The Indo-Pacific region is a good example of their coordinated approach. Russia and China describe the region differently as Asia-Pacific and are on the same page when it comes to Quad’s revival, Aukus’ creation, and NATO’s eastward expansion.

During President Putin’s visit to China in February this year, Russia and China, in an implied reference to Quad, said they “oppose the formation of closed bloc structures and opposing camps in the Asia-Pacific region and remain very vigilant about the negative impact of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy for peace and stability in the region”. They went on to say in this regard that they had “made constant efforts to build a fair, open and inclusive security system in the Asia-Pacific (APR) region that is not directed against third countries and that promotes peace, stability and prosperity”.

They also expressed concern over the “formation of the Australia-US-UK Trilateral Security Partnership (AUKUS)”, alleging that “such actions are contrary to security and development objectives. sustainability in the Asia-Pacific region”. —“. Opposing “further NATO enlargement,” Russia and China called on NATO “to abandon its ideologized Cold War approaches—”

Watch | Countering China’s Influence in the Pacific: US Pledges New Pacific Initiative

From the US perspective, China is a key factor and Taiwan is a potential flashpoint in the Indo-Pacific region. The United States has repeatedly warned China against any military action in Taiwan. It remains to be seen whether China will be emboldened by Russia’s military action in Ukraine and embark on an adventure to integrate Taiwan into the mainland through the use of force or be deterred by the resolute, concerted stance and united taken by the United States and its allies in supporting Ukraine and isolating and weakening Russia.

Read also | China launches “most advanced” aircraft carrier called Fujian. Find out why it’s special

In addition to international geopolitical and strategic affairs, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict also has a negative impact in the areas of energy and food security. Punitive sanctions on Russian oil and gas imports have driven up energy prices around the world, creating a difficult situation, especially in poor and developing countries that are experiencing high inflation as a cascading effect of more expensive energy.

Europe is heavily dependent on Russia for its energy resource needs, particularly natural gas. Any interruption in supply will have a serious impact on gas-powered industries and, therefore, on the economy. While the EU has followed the US in imposing sanctions on Russia in many other areas, the energy sector is where Europe finds itself in a sticky spot. After lengthy deliberations, the EU decided (on 30 May) to take partial action by announcing its decision to reduce its oil imports from Russia by 90% by the end of the year.

Russia and Ukraine are the main suppliers of wheat, representing 30% of world requirements. In addition, the two countries are also major suppliers of edible oils and fertilizers. The war has created serious disruptions in the supply of world markets, leading to soaring food prices and facing a serious food crisis. Several countries, including India, have imposed full or partial food export bans with their own food security in mind.

In an alarming statement, the UN Secretary-General said last month that war-induced grain and fertilizer shortages could cause “mass hunger and starvation” and that these shortages threaten to “tip tens of millions of people in food insecurity”. He warned that the global food crisis could last for years if left unchecked. In this context, the World Bank has announced an additional financing of 12 billion dollars to mitigate its “devastating effects”

When the armed conflict erupted on February 24, most experts thought it would be over in about a week, but it has already passed the 100-day mark and there are no signs of a breakthrough. More importantly, the United States does not seem interested in a quick resolution of the conflict. Russia has gone too far and is unlikely to back down unless its fundamental goals of gaining control of eastern Ukraine are achieved.

It is a matter of speculation at this point in time how long and how much the rest of the world, especially poor and developing countries, will have to bear the short and long term negative impact due to the rivalry of large powers.

(Disclaimer: The views of the author do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. WION or ZMCL also does not endorse the views of the author.)

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Post expires at 8:54am on Monday June 27th, 2022