Conflict at a Crossroads

Vladimir Putin let loose the dogs of war on Ukraine to regain Russia’s global status. His calculus went miserably wrong.

By Waseem Shabbir Arain | December 2022

It’s been more than nine months since Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It is being called the biggest military conflict after World War 2. Tens of thousands of people have been killed from both sides since this devastating war broke out.

As per the latest reports, Ukraine has lost control of its 20% territory to Russian forces and their proxies. The total destruction, especially the infrastructure damage, has reached $120 billion which is certainly a humongous loss for the Ukrainian government to cover up. No fewer than $200 billion will be exigently required for the rebuilding. More than 15000 Ukrainian troops have died. However, the real figures stand far high. Thousands of civilians have been killed or injured. Moreover, the belligerence, as per the Norwegian Refugees Council, has produced more than 13 million refugees. Approximately, 6.9 million refugees have fled to European countries and the rest 6.4 million are internally displaced.

On the other hand, Russia, as per Moscow Defence Reports, has lost 9,000 troops in Ukraine so far. It has also lost 2734 tanks, 5552 armoured fighting vehicles, 1755 artillery systems, 390 multiple launch rockets, 198 air defence systems, 277 airplanes, 258 helicopters, 1442 drones and 16 boats.

To counterbalance Russia’s onslaught on Ukraine, Western countries, especially the US and the NATO, have assisted Ukraine until now. The US alone has given an aid package of $3 billion to Ukraine. The US Congress has further approved $40 billion. Overall, the US has sent $16.8 billion in weapons and other aid since the war began on February 24. Besides the 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 not much favour and support for Russia from China, India and other states that are considered close to her. This is what debilitates Russia’s case of invasion for a noble cause. Most countries believe that the Russian incursion of a sovereign Ukraine is a violation of international law. On the contrary, Putin dubs this attack as “a special military operation” for both the protection of Russian ethnicities living in the east of Ukraine, from the atrocities of the Ukraine government and for the liberation of Donbas.

With a rational analysis of the given situation, one can easily understand 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. 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 intends to embroil China into a Russo-Ukraine like bloody conflict with Taiwan in order to hinder and contain its progressivism. The U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit of 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 would divert its upwards political trajectory.

According to geopolitical experts, the considerable magnitude of war indicates that the conflict is not going to end earlier. They call it a “protracted military conflict”. The US too will never want the Russia-Ukraine confrontation to be appeased soon.

Here, the question arises as what prompted Russia to invade Ukraine after all? For Russia, there are several reasons. First, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine achieved independence. Russia has always envisaged it a threat to its security due to its leaning to Europe. Secondly, in the recent past, the NATO and the US have 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 the NATO bloc is another major reason of a new wave of Russian military aggression. Joining NATO simply means letting the US and other adversaries gain access to the Russian Western border, whereby they can easily target Russia and this was something entirely unacceptable for Kremlin. The last one was Ukraine’s utmost aspiration to be a member of the European Union.

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