One-year of Russia-Ukraine wartext_fields
Today marks one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The invasion, by a big and powerful nation of a relatively small country, was more than just a regional incident. This war has had unexpected economic and social consequences. Tens of thousands died and many times that were injured. A much larger number became homeless and sick. The global economy itself is bearing the brunt of the war. On the one hand, the rise in international oil and natural gas prices and shortages are due to economic sanctions imposed on Russia. As a result of the EU nations imposing gradual restrictions on the largest producer of oil and natural gas, i.e. Russia, the latter restricted their sales which caused further turmoil. The majority of nations have been impacted by the ensuing trade and industrial shortages. Additionally, both the countries being major producers of food grains like wheat, there is a scarcity of food grains as well.
It was Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia whochose to attack Ukraine. His justification for going to war is reminiscent of the Cold War era. What was the rationale behind deploying a sizable portion of the 200,000-strong Russian force —which has been getting ready for weeks—to Ukraine on the morning of February 24, 2022? Russia claims that since 2014 Ukraine has been exterminating the Russian-speaking natives of the Donbas region of Ukraine, and the war is to free them from it. Secondly, Russia purportedly wanted to ensure that Ukraine will not be granted NATO membership saying that the US-NATO alliance cannot be tolerated in any way in its neighbourhood. Even though the Western powers claimed that there was little justification for the first and that they had not made up their minds about NATO membership for the latter, Putin was not satisfied. Tthe army that was thus deployed increased gradually until it reached 5 lakhs currently as per reports. . It is assumed that Russia was already ready for the assault with such a sizable force. Some areas that Ukraine had lost during the early Russian gains have been reclaimed, including the capital Kyiv. But a small portion of Ukrainian territory—roughly 20%—remains under Russian control. Not only did Russia not have the walkover victory it had fancied, but it also faced heavy setbacks from Ukraine. The livelihoods of people in Ukraine, on the other hand, have been severely impacted by damage to buildings, water supply, and electricity, besides of course food. Ukraine is defending itself with the economic and military support provided by the US, the EU countries and allied powers such as Britain, Japan and Australia. Most recently, US President Joe Biden's secret visit to Kyiv travelling by plane, train and road on Monday also sends the message that he will not abandon Ukraine. The Russian President replied the very next day that they were getting ready for a prolonged war. If we examine the available factors, it is clear that the conflict is only likely to continue.
The most tragic aspect of this conflict is that the usual attempts at peace talks have not been made thus far. In April of last year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Ukraine's war-torn regions and urged both sides to stop fighting. He also called on Russia to cooperate with the trial initiated by the International Criminal Court. Putin, however, was not receptive to consider that. It is clear to anyone that these and similar appeals and resolutions from afar are insufficient in such a conflict situation. The truth is that overall the UN's moves have been very slow and weak. It is estimated that there are a million homeless people, many of whom have turned refugees. At such junctures, it is very important to break the ice by speaking diplomatically. Former UN Under Secretary Shashi Tharoor ended an article he wrote in 'The Hindu' on March 22 by asking 'Mr Secretary General, could you get on a plane, please?' No conflict in the contemporary era, when both sides possess nuclear weapons, will result with one side as total winner and the other total loser. . Only when there is a sense that a neutral entity looking out for the greater good is deciding what is a point of agreement can conversations succeed. It might be just one person who decides things in Russia. However, on the other side, even though there are numerous voices, including those of forces other than President Zelensky, it can still be narrowed down to one unified voice. But it requires an environment in which peace is deemed paramount. When the conflict has completed a year, what everyone hopes is for that urge for peace triumphs over any other consideration.