Waiting for May 9

While addressing his European allies in Poland US President Joe Biden reiterated his tirade against Putin, only to get flak from one of the major NATO members—France. The French President Macron didn’t subscribe to Biden’s idea of calling Putin a ‘Butcher’ and ‘War Criminal’. Also, Emmanuel Macron said ‘he wants to avoid escalation with Russia’. The message is clear—not all NATO members are eager to toe Biden’s line. In truth Biden also faced serious criticisms from his political adversaries in America too as many refused to endorse his harsh comments on Russia, particularly his remark regarding regime change in the Kremlin. In a damage control exercise Washington was quick enough to dismiss Biden’s remark as emotional having no relation to America’s official stand. Ukrainian President Zelensky, however, renewed his public appeal to NATO for military equipment, saying he wanted “1 percent” of the alliance’s tanks and planes. America is unlikely to oblige—they have already stretched the war, creating a situation of nuclear war. Ukraine is actually a victim of NATO conspiracy, hatched immediately after the collapse of USSR. For one thing America has vested interests in prolonging the conflict. The war is now between America and Russia. The White House has no desire to end the war. The merchants of death have everything to gain from this war. When Biden was in war diplomacy in Poland Ukraine ordered 5,100 light anti-tank weapons from Germany’s Dynamit Nobel Defence GmbH at a cost of 25 million Euros ($27.5 million), Bild am Sonntag reported, citing Andrij Melnyk, Kiev’s ambassador to Germany. Arms business matters, not peace.

Russian invasion has devastated several Ukrainian cities, caused a major humanitarian crisis and displaced an estimated 10 million people, nearly a quarter of Ukraine’s population. Despite setbacks and heavy casualties Russia has continued to move additional military units to the Ukraine border and is launching missile and air strikes on Ukrainian forces and defence infrastructure, including in the capital city of Kiev.

According to intelligence from the General staff of the armed forces of Ukraine, Russian troops are being told that war must end by May 9—widely celebrated in Russia as the Day of Victory over the Nazi Germany. If Putin has to maintain the deadline he has no option but to pulverize Ukraine and his air forces are precisely doing it.

In 1967, a Soviet style ‘‘Victory Day” was observed on May 9. Since 2022, the German state of Mecklanburg-Vorpommern has been observing a commemoration day known as the day of liberation from National Socialism and the end of 2nd World War. Peace activists around the world are eagerly waiting to see what happens after May 9. It is unlikely that war will  end so soon unless Ukraine concedes the demands of Russia. At the time of writing 6th round of peace talks were going on in Turkey but whether there would be a breakthrough is anybody’s guess, as Russia says ‘their phase one of military operation has mostly been completed’. What is their second phase of action is yet be to outlined, , it cannot be anything but more bloody and brutal.

Biden’s trip to Poland to encourage NATO leaders and Ukrainian officials didn’t change the ground reality. In truth it aggravated the new cold war situation. Biden didn’t do anything positive other than pledging new sanctions against Russia and offering humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians.

Meanwhile, Ukraine accused Moscow of forcibly taking its civilians to Russia, claiming some of them may be used as “hostages” to pressure Kiev give up the war. Lyudmila Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsperson said 402,000 people including 84,000 children have been taken against their will. It is a horrible scenario-a human catastrophe. The Kremlin, while providing identical numbers, said those people, mainly Russian speaking, wanted to go to Russia. Zelensky meanwhile has softened his stance on Russian demand of neutrality. Ukraine seems to be willing to become neutral and compromise over the status of the eastern Donbas region as part of a peace deal even as one senior official of Ukraine accused Russia of aiming to carve

the country into two, much in the line of North Korea and South Korea. Whatever happens in the coming days it will be quite some time before millions of Ukrainians get back their normal life.


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Vol 54, No. 41, April 10 - 16, 2022