On February 24, 2022, when Russia launched its assault on Ukraine, many assumed it would be more shocking and scary. The much superior Russian army would soon dominate its much weaker neighbor. But four months later, the battle rages on. There are no clear winners. Moscow and Kyiv continue to claim and counterclaim to have the upper hand. But in the fog of war, nothing is seen clearly.
Ruslan Bortnik, director of the Ukrainian Institute of Politics, Kyiv, told Wion that “Russia was not able to use the element of surprise and the best prepared part of its army to obtain a rapid surrender of Ukraine. But strategically, the Ukrainian state, economy and armed forces have suffered a lot of damage, which will certainly have a negative impact on Ukrainian opportunities in the future.
In an op-ed, Joe Biden, President of the United States, said “the people of Ukraine have surprised Russia and inspired the world with their sacrifice, their courage and their success on the battlefield.” Something that even the Kremlin won’t dispute in private. But the war caused great suffering like any other conflict. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians are killed; millions more have been driven from their homes. The incessant Russian assaults have reduced entire cities to rubble.
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The theater of battle has now moved east into the Donbass region. In eastern Ukraine, Russian forces are making slow but steady progress after being pushed back by other parts of the country, including Kyiv. As the up and down battle for control of the strategically important city of Severodonetsk rages on, regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said his country’s forces now control “half the city”. If the claims are true, this would be a great tactical advantage as Ukrainian troops were about to be driven out of key towns. Severodonetsk – the largest city still in Ukrainian hands in the Luhansk region of the Donbass region – has been the focus of concern in recent weeks.
The United States announced last week that it would give Kyiv its high-mobility artillery rocket system, known as HIMARS, which can simultaneously launch multiple precision-guided missiles and is superior in range and accuracy to the existing systems that Ukraine has. It is the latest in a long list of weapons sent or promised to the pro-Western country. The US decision prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to warn on Sunday that Moscow would hit new, unspecified “targets” if the West supplies the missiles to Ukraine and said the new arms deliveries to Kyiv were aimed at “prolonging the dispute”
Boris Volkhonsky, an associate professor at the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Lomonosov Moscow State University, told Wion: “If the West persists in its strategy of fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian and continues to supply heavy armaments to what is left of Ukraine, it may mean a much longer process and a much higher number of casualties – both military and civilian.The sooner the West realizes the futility of such attempts, the better.
With the conflict raging over countries like Germany who were initially reluctant, they have now promised arms and ammunition to Ukraine. At the latest, the British Ministry of Defense said it had coordinated closely with Washington over its donation of multiple launch rocket systems, known as MLRS, to help Ukraine defend itself. against Russian aggression. The M270 launchers, which can hit targets up to 80 kilometers away with precision-guided rockets, “will provide a significant increase in the capabilities of Ukrainian forces”, the ministry added. London has so far offered more than $937 million in military support to Ukraine. This includes air defense systems, thousands of anti-tank missiles and various types of ammunition, hundreds of armored vehicles and other equipment.
NATO allies continue to emphasize that these weapons are defensive in nature and will not be used to strike inside Russian territory. But Moscow is not convinced. Over the past four months, as the battle escalates, the United States and its European allies have injected more advanced and deadlier weapons into Kyiv. Meanwhile, Russian forces claimed to have destroyed several batches of Western weapons intended for Ukrainian forces.
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So how will this conflict end? Well, Ruslan Bortnik told Wion: “The war in Ukraine will end only when one of the participants in the war wins or all sides of the war are convinced of the impossibility of victory. At the same time, it must be understood that the Ukrainian-Russian war is only part of the global confrontation between the United States and its allies and Russia and its allies for law and rules to determine the new order global. This is how this war is perceived by all the States of the world.
Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine as well as crippling sanctions against Russia have disrupted the supply of fertilizers, wheat and other basic commodities to both countries, driving up food and fuel prices, especially in the countries in development. Vessels loaded with grain remain stranded in Ukraine, which before February was a leading exporter of corn and wheat and alone accounted for 50% of the world trade in sunflower seeds and oil. Putin said Moscow was ready to look for ways to ship grain stranded in Ukrainian ports, but demanded the West lift the sanctions.
Clearly, as war rages in Ukraine, it also compounds problems around the world. The global economy was slowly emerging from the pandemic-induced slowdown, but Europe’s biggest military conflict in decades has deepened the economic woes. This continually drives up food and fuel prices around the world.
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Post expires at 7:50pm on Saturday June 18th, 2022