After weeks of speculation, Russia launched a massive attack on Ukraine, on Thursday (Feb 24). The Russian forces entered Ukraine from at least three directions and till the writing of this column were not far away from the capital, Kyiv. The Russian defence ministry has claimed to have captured the Hostomel airfield near Kyiv and blocked the capital from the west.
It is not easy to predict the exact outcome of any war. The fact is Russia’s military might is more powerful than Ukraine’s. There is no denying that, even though the war will end soon, the ‘conflict’ won’t.
Ukraine’s interior ministry reported that the country was under attack from the cruise and ballistic missiles, with Russia appearing to target military infrastructure near major cities such as Kyiv, Kharkov, Mariupol and Dnipro. The Ukraine government has imposed martial law and announced to arm the population to resist the Russian invasion. It is rather surprising to witness that, despite the emotional speeches and appeals by the West, Ukraine stands alone in this war. The US and its European allies are busy imposing sanctions on Russian banks, companies and oligarchs. It was clear from the beginning that Nato is not going to involve militarily in this conflict.
Western intelligence reports about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine have proved correct. It turns out that they accurately assessed the situation. Many analysts, including me, had dismissed these reports as part of Western propaganda to create fear, panic and war hysteria. I must accept the fact that the massive scale and timing of the Russian invasion have surprised me. I was thinking that Russia might launch a limited military action in Eastern Ukraine to consolidate its position in Donbass. But the ongoing Russian invasion is aimed at taking the entire country to achieve its military, strategic and political objectives.
The Russian invasion must be condemned and opposed. There is no justification for this war. Russia has flexed its military muscles to gain the upper hand in the geopolitical struggle against the US and its European allies.
But at the same time, we must also condemn other wars and conflicts that are going on in other parts of the world. The Israel-Palestine conflict, the Yemen war, and India’s military aggression against Kashmiris are as illegal and immoral as the war on Ukraine. Nearly 50,000 people were killed in these wars in 2021. The imperialist hypocrisy is visible in all these conflicts.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech in which he ordered the special military operation against Ukraine made the intentions and motives of this attack clear. The speech also suggested that the decision of the Ukraine invasion was not taken all of a sudden.
Putin also said that the objective of the operation was not the occupation of Ukraine, but its demilitarisation and ‘denazification’. He called on the armed forces of Ukraine to lay down their arms and not obey the “anti-people junta that is robbing the people”. However, the objective of demilitarisation and denazification cannot be achieved without occupying the country.
Russia seems to wish to achieve at least three objectives through this war. The first one is to remove the current pro-West Ukraine government and install a hand-picked government in Kyiv.
The second objective is to destroy the military infrastructure of Ukraine to weaken its military capabilities. Russia wants to defeat the Ukrainian military to establish its military superiority over Ukraine to end Ukrainian resistance in Eastern Ukraine. Russia has already recognised the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in East Ukraine. This is why Russian bombers and missiles are targeting the military installations across Ukraine.
The third objective is to break Ukrainian politics and state institutions away from far-right ultra-nationalist groups. Russia believes that neo-Nazi groups have made the Ukrainian government hostage, so it wants to dismantle the organisational structure of these groups.
It seems that after achieving its military and political objectives, Russia will turn to diplomacy with a position of strength. It is likely to defeat Ukraine in this war and achieve its objectives for the time being. But the political crisis and geopolitical struggle will not end.
Russian nationalism is not a viable alternative to Ukraine’s ever-rising reactionary nationalism and Russian control of Ukraine is not the solution to the eastward expansion of Nato. But at the same time, we must also point out that the current crisis is the result of the continued Nato expansion in Eastern Europe to establish imperialist hegemony in the region. Since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, US imperialism and European powers tried to gain control in the region to challenge Russian influence.
The war between Russia and Ukraine is not going to solve anything and will result in more misery, large-scale destruction and casualties. It is likely to cause an economic collapse in Ukraine. The struggle in Ukraine is a drive for control by the US. Unfortunately, Russia, by not advocating for neutrality, is responding to this drive with its strategy for controlling Ukraine. This conflict is the result of 30 years of failed policies, including the expansion of Nato and US hegemony at the expense of other countries as well as major wars of aggression by the US, Britain and other Nato powers which have undermined international law and the UN.
Imperialist powers including the US and UK should pledge to oppose any further eastward expansion of Nato and encourage a return to the Minsk-2 agreement, already signed by both sides, by all parties as a basis for ending the war between Ukraine and Russia.
A neutral Ukraine might be a viable solution to this long-drawn conflict. Finland, Austria and Switzerland are the best examples in this regard. All these countries are prosperous and the most liveable countries in the world. They have strong economies and high standards of living. Ukraine as a neutral state can achieve that.Khalid Bhatti, "Another disastrous war," The News. 2022-02-27.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Political objectives , Political Struggle , Diplomacy , Nationalism , Ukraine , Russia