February 24, 2024: Second Anniversary Russia-Ukraine War – OpEd

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The February 24 marks the second anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine War, with still no end to this avoidable war in sight. Why are the stakeholders not giving Ukrainians a chance to live in peace and why cannot the conflict be resolved? 

“India was open to consider playing the role of a mediator to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict if approached…and everyone is suffering from this conflict. I don’t know exactly how it will end, we’re not deep enough into the process to know,” India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in an interview to the German economic daily Handelsblatt. Ukraine in the earlier stages of the war had requested India to mediate.

Why The Conflict Can’t Be Resolved? 

The US-NATO wish for a strong, independent Ukraine and consider it vital for the stability of the Euro-Atlantic area to counter Russia. Since 2014, in the wake of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, cooperation has been intensified in critical areas. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, US-NATO and Allies have provided unprecedented levels of support to Ukraine as this conflict is not considered to be between Russia and Ukraine alone but with the combined West led by the US. For the moment Europe has come under revived American tutelage and especially in bringing in line the Germans. 

US wants to break away Europe from Russian economic trade linkages specifically the Russian gas and get the entire Eurasian continent into their fold of economic dependence. Americans strongly believe that this is the only way they can maintain their hold and also counter China. Anti-Russian stance by Washington and refusal to cooperate with Moscow on the Ukraine crisis and the Biden administration’s refusal to implement a negotiated settlement reflects an undeclared US-NATO war against Russia. 

Signing of the Strategic Partnership between US and Ukraine which asserted America’s support for Ukraine’s right to pursue membership in the NATO which led to the hope that Ukraine would eventually join NATO was the last spark which led to Russia’s preparations for Russia’s so-called “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine. Will the US take the blame for initiating this war which was avoidable? Ukrainian President Zelensky got into this trap to fight the war on behalf of the West against Russia which he could have also avoided in the interest of his people and the country instead trying to be hero who stood the might of the Russian Army. 

Over the years large number of sane strategic thinkers had forewarned the US-NATO nexus of the likelihood of the Ukrainian Conflict but no one paid any heed and has ignored the warnings over the years:

  • Kissinger, in 2014 had warned that “to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country” and that the West therefore needs a policy that is aimed at “reconciliation” and “Ukraine should not join NATO.”
  • Jack Matlock Jr, US Ambassador warned in 1997 that NATO expansion was “the most profound strategic blunder which will encourage a chain of events that could produce the most serious security threat since the collapse of the Soviet Union”.
  • Malcolm Fraser, former prime minister of Australia warned in 2014 that “the move east by NATO is provocative, unwise and a very clear signal to Russia”.
  • Bob Gates, former US defense secretary in his 2015 memoirs: “Moving so quickly to expand NATO was a mistake…Trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching and an especially monumental provocation.
  • Sir Roderic Lyne, former British ambassador to Russia, warned that “Pushing Ukraine into NATO is stupid on every level.” He adds “if you want to start a war with Russia, that’s the best way of doing it.” 

The world was aware that trying to get Ukraine into NATO was crossing Russia’s limit of tolerance, but now the world holds Russia as a villain forgetting all the advises given to the US and the NATO by the well-known strategic thinkers. 

Militarism Is the US National Religion and gun culture: “We believe in wars. We may no longer believe in formal declarations of war… from Korea to Vietnam, Afghanistan to Iraq, the Cold War to the War on Terror, proxy war in Ukraine and now supporting Israel. “We believe in weaponry, the more expensive the better…” The United States’ position as the top arms-producing nation in the world remains unchanged, and for now unchallenged is home to five of the world’s 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57 percent of total arms sales by the world’s 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data. 

The US does not want it to end. The goals of the American government are very different from those of the Ukrainians. Ukrainians obviously wanted to expel Russian forces. From the beginning, the Americans understood that this was impossible. Their goals were to isolate Putin within Russia and Europe, and to degrade the Russian military. That’s what this proxy war is all about. Americans such wars are for profiteering may be the reason not putting in efforts for negotiations making good profits selling weapons and gas.

NATO Secretary General. There has never been any doubt about NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg Stand on Ukraine. “NATO stands with Ukraine.”  He has been instrumental in garnering and coordinating support including weapons, ammunition, and training. “Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO, and over time, our support will help you make this possible.” “Weapons Are – In Fact – The Way To Peace.” NATO’s expansion eastwards forced Putin to attack Ukraine having prewarned NATO Chief of the consequences.

Western media and Leaders continue to hype the “Russian threat” to garner public support for the Russia-Ukraine conflict to continue. Over many years Russia was provoked and baited by NATO expansion up to its borders. The war in Ukraine was a war that should have never happened. US-NATO bears a lot of responsibility for starting it and most of the responsibility for sustaining it. The US always knew that this was not a winnable conflict. Trump may be more aggressive in terms of ending support for Ukraine. It’s sustainable, no matter which party is in power. For how long can a stalemate be sustained? The difference might be that the stalemate will be sustained for longer if Biden is reelected.

The little-known truth: “The war could have ended in the spring of 2022 if Ukraine had agreed to neutrality. Russia’s goal was to put pressure on us so that we would be neutral. This was the main thing for them: They were ready to end the war if we accepted neutrality, like Finland once did. And for us to make a commitment that we will not join NATO. This is the main thing.”  Quoting Arakhamia, who currently is the leader of the ruling party’s faction in the Ukrainian parliament and a top advisor to Zelensky. “After we returned from Istanbul, Boris Johnson visited Kyiv and said that we should not sign anything with the Russians and ‘let’s just fight’.” 

Zelensky is pursuing the seemingly unreasonable goal of wanting to defeat Russia. It may be soon that Zelensky may face serious resistance to his plans among Ukraine’s exhausted, poverty-stricken, and war-battered population. 

As the conflict in Ukraine approaches the third year, with Ukraine’s recent winter push by capturing Avdiivka and no further notable Russian advancements in the near future, the stagnant front lines suggest a potential stalemate in 2024 as well. Ukraine has become a victim of a conflict between the US–NATO combine and Russia. The UN has failed to intervene to prevent or end the Russia-Ukraine War: “A War which should not have Happened” the combine blame goes to US-NATO. Negotiations are the only way out to give Ukraine Peace a Chance.

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

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