ISSN 2330-717X

Ukraine’s 31st Independence Day – OpEd

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What did Ukraine have to celebrate on its 31st Independence Day (August 24,2022), while the day also marked the sad occasion of six months since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th this year. Call it what you want, Russia calls it a ‘Special Military Operation’, others call it an uncalled for ‘Russian invasion of Ukraine’ and commonly now called ‘Russia-Ukraine War’ however the end result brings a tragedy of miseries to all especially Ukrainians. And the ongoing stalemate ‘Russia-Ukraine War’ has no end in sight.Ukraine celebrates its 31st Independence marking its independence from the Soviet Union. Instead of the traditional parade down Kiev’s main street, authorities have lined the road with captured and destroyed Russian military equipment.At least 5,587 civilians have been killed so far and 7,890 others injured in six months of conflict, according to the UN, which said the actual figures could be higher as Russian attacks in Ukraine continue.

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Ukraine has suffered extensive damage to infrastructure, towns and cities and heavy military casualties, while the conflict has forced millions to flee the country. Its economy is struggling. However, President Zelensky has emerged as a defiant wartime leader able to rally his nation to inflict huge losses on Russia’s military, which was forced to retreat from around the capital, Kyiv.

In a nightly address, Zelensky in an emotional speech said to his compatriots, “Russia’s attack had revived the nation’s spirit. A new nation appeared in the world on Feb. 24 at 4 in the morning. It was not born, but reborn. A nation that did not cry, scream or take fright. One that did not flee. Did not give up.” “Tomorrow is an important day for all of us. And that is why this day, unfortunately, is also important for our enemy. We must be aware that tomorrow hideous Russian provocations and brutal strikes are possible. We are fighting against the most terrible threat to our statehood and also at a time when we have achieved the greatest level of national unity.Zelensky vowed in an Independence Day address that “his country would fight Russia’s invasion ‘Until the End’ and would not make “any concession or compromise”.

Ukraine -Russia conflict’s long duration has had its far-reaching implications which were never anticipated by any strategic or economic thinkers. The war has spread to multiple domains from the basic military combat battlefields, such as geopolitics, economy, energy, food security and supply chains. The Western sanctions led by the US have pushed the Euro to a 20-year low, inflation is also soaring in all European countries and the world over. 

Another common theme of Putin’s Ukraine rhetoric over the years has been its shared history with Russia. Ukraine and Russia are “One people and One nation.” The Russian invasion has turned this “Brotherhood” between Russia and Ukraine into total hostile hatred of Ukrainians towards Russia. These scars will take ages to be erased from the memories of the Ukrainians. How long can the people of Europe bear the brunt of the Ukraine war, with the winter approaching, the cost of gas rising and with the end to the conflict nowhere in sight?

Ukrainian President Zelensky the actor has proved a master class leader on managing the information warfare domain to strengthen resistance and earn world sympathy and support. The option for Zelensky was to endure destruction or sovereignty; he chose sovereignty while fighting the proxy war for the West with US –NATO support. 

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Who shelled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant?

The two sides have blamed each other over the frequent shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, where Kyiv accuses Moscow of basing troops and storing military hardware. Russia denies this and accuses Ukraine of targeting Zaporizhzhia with drones.The artillery and rocket fire near the Zaporizhzhia complex has sparked concerns of a nuclear disaster, with Ukrainians living near the plant voicing fears shells could hit one of the plant’s six reactors, with potentially disastrous consequences. Moscow’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy requested a UN Security Council meeting be held to discuss the Zaporizhzhia plant. 

President Biden on Ukraine Independence Day:

“On behalf of all Americans, I congratulate the people of Ukraine on their Independence Day. Over the past six months, Ukrainians have inspired the world with their extraordinary courage and dedication to freedom.  They have stood resolute and strong in the face of Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine. And today is not only a celebration of the past, but a resounding affirmation that Ukraine proudly remains – and will remain – a sovereign and independent nation.” And further announced the biggest security assistance of approximately $2.98 billion of weapons and equipment to continue to defend itself over the long term.

NATO Secy Gen Mr Stoltenberg said, “Russia’s war in Ukraine is the greatest crisis for Europe’s security since World War Two. The Ukrainian armed forces and the whole Ukrainian people are showing tremendous courage and determination. And, under President Zelenskyy’s leadership, you are an inspiration to the world.”

All forecasts have proved awfully wrong

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley even warned Congress that Kyiv could fall within 72 hours of an invasion being launched. President Joe Biden said he would turn the ruble to “rubble.” In the Kremlin, meanwhile, Putin and his closest advisers saw Ukraine as a nation divided with incompetent leaders that would lack the will to fight .All these forecasts have proved awfully wrong and widely of the mark. War has shown Russia is not up to the mark as a Military Power but has been able to live over the massive Western sanctions through the supplies of natural gas which has unexpectedly been used as a double edged potent economic weapon. 

Going by the statements of President Biden on Ukraine Independence Day and of the NATO Secy Gen they are preparing Ukraine for a long term war and are themselves prepared to support Ukraine to the hilt against the ongoing Russian invasion. The UN needs to act to pull a ceasefire and impose its authority as a Global Body to ensure world Peace and resolve such crises. Putin says he is prepared for negotiations but the longer the war, the more difficult the negotiations will be! Hope the UN Secy Gen is listening if true…

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Excerpts from the media headlines

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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