Absolute Hell

Ukrainian people are now going through absolute hell. Horrors of World War 2 have returned. People are helpless; they are frightened of what may happen. They are frightened because the worst is yet to come. Bombardment from the air coupled with the arrival of tanks and other forces for ground operations is terrifying. Russia has attacked Ukraine from the north, east and south, pounding all the major cities, including the capital Kiev. Maybe, they are repeating American plan of bombing Iraq to Stone Age, to teach the Ukrainians a bitter lesson, for defiance. The invasion launched on February 24 has caused the severe refugee crisis since World War Two, provoked outrage across the world, and led to heavy sanctions on Moscow. Meanwhile the third round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine ended without any results as both sides remained firm in sticking to their stated positions. Moscow was demanding that Ukraine cease military action, change its constitution to ensure neutrality, acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory and recognise the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states. If both Russia and Ukraine refuse to concede an inch in negotiations in the next round of foreign minster level trilateral talks to be held in Turkey, war won’t stop.

About 1.7 million refugees are now languishing in neighbouring Poland and Rumania and more are on the move - a humanitarian catastrophe. If the war lingers more Ukrainians will have to cross the border. All wars end in political solution. Ukrainians deserve and should be able to live in peace—as should the peoples of every other country of the world. No, that is not happening.

Putin is no stranger to the West. He was reportedly promoted to office with the support of Britain’s Tony Blair and some other western leaders, and he was welcomed in the West with a state visit to Britain at that very time that the Chechen war was in full swing. The huge loss of life of Chechen people and of Russians, barbarities against the Chechens and racism towards them in Russian cities including Moscow was palpable. And how Russian money played in British elections in favour of the conservatives is now an open secret.

This war is actually between America and Russia while Ukrainians are dying in cross-fire. America is sending weapons and war planes to Ukraine to prolong the war without any pause. Now mercenaries are said to have arrived in Ukraine with guns funded allegedly by the military contractors. The military-industrial complex of America is the neat beneficiary from this war. Poland, now a NATO outpost in Eastern Europe, is going to send its Soviet-era Mig aircrafts to Ukraine so that it can modernise its defence system in return with advanced US F-16 fighter jets—again a business opening for the Uncle Sam.

Unless there is immediate cease-fire the worst-case scenario in the Russia-Ukraine conflict is total occupation, huge loss of life and then the outbreak of civil war which could go on for a very long time. America has stationed more than 100,000 troops in NATO countries. An armed confrontation between Russia and NATO forces anywhere, cannot be anything but nuclear. And Putin has already issued threat of nuclear war if the situation so demands.

Ironically, America-the global warlord—is going to gain from the rebuilding business in Ukraine when the war ends. So America is gaining both ways—from war and from peace as well. As per Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister’s estimate it will take at least two years to rebuild his country.

If anything Putin has succeeded to divide the West as some NATO member countries are talking in multiple voices, sometimes at cross purposes. Germany is not going to impose sanctions on Russia as it would jeopardise its economy as it is precariously dependent on Russian oil and gas. Hungary, a new entrant in the NATO club, is equally vocal on sanctions against Russia while France waiting on the side lines has made it clear that its economy will suffer because of sanctions on Russia.

The Russian calculation that the war would not last long for even a week ending in the capture of Ukraine has proved wrong. Ukrainians are putting stiff resistance. Ordinary citizens have volunteered for the frontlines. Images circulating on-line have shown people making Molotov cocktails or farmers towing away captured Russian tanks. In a way Putin has galvanised Ukrainian nationalism.

It is a good development that Russians are on the streets to protest war saying ‘ it was not done in their name and they didn’t want that war in the same way Americans said that about the Vietnam war decades ago’. It is always easy to vote for somebody else’s children to go to war and die. Despite technological advance war zone reports are often contradictory and both sides are spreading misinformation to win war. After all truth is the first casualty in the fog of war.


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Vol 54, No. 38, March 20 - 26, 2022