Ukraine on the receiving end


For the past one month or so, Pakistan has witnessed quite political developments that demanded the country’s political and economic fabric to take a paradigm shift thus standing tumultuous. The country went through a regime change through a vote of no-confidence after much hue and cry; for almost a week, it remained in a constitutional crisis; all tiers of the government remained disturbed; the economy of the country has been in choppy waters as the foreign exchange reserves are at the brink of depletion, and so on.
All this contributed as fuel to the fire to the already inflation-stricken economic environment as Russia continued its hegemonic-style aggression. Amidst all the above-cited developments combined, the country has all but entirely forgotten what is happening on the international stage featuring Russia and Ukraine.
Well, it is quite obvious as to what kick-started this conflict in the first place. Back in 2013, the Ukrainian administration paved the way in a bid to join European Union but was backtracked by the then President, Victor Yanukovych, to shake hands with the Russian president. This back-flip by the president gave birth to the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine causing fatal clashes between the protestors and the security forces resulting in the ouster of the Yanukovych.
The intensity with which the protests were escalating provided a pretext for the Russian military intervention to pacify the scorching environment. It was also then that in 2014, Russia annexed some areas of Ukraine by force. The southern part of Ukraine known as Crimea was officially expropriated. Geographically, Ukraine holds its place in the European peninsula but is not a part of the European Union. Since it is located in the European region, different governments of Ukraine have used push and pull techniques to join and not to join European Union.
But why is Russia acting so psychotic of Ukraine’s international political moves? Historical significance relates to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 when Russia deployed its nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba thrusting much of the damage to the eastern US in minutes in case of war. So is the case now, Ukraine’s admission to the European Union is, somewhat, tantamount to its inclusion in the NATO force. Its addition to the NATO means that the US can aim to deploy its missile in Ukraine and use it as a buffer state to attack Moscow in minutes – the same as in the 1962 crisis.
Russia translates it to an act of provocation and deems it a grave security threat terming it a red line that should not be crossed at any cost or Russia holds the ability to change the on-ground status quo.
Since the establishment of NATO, it has so firmly planted its foothold in the European peninsula that half the Europe is now a member of the force. Russia had in the past issued stark warnings to NATO not to try to trespass the red line – which is NATO’s eastward expansion towards the western border of Russia. The Baltic States are already predisposed toward the west except for Belarus, which is enjoying cordial relations with Russia. The heavyweights of Europe such as France and Germany have abstained from confronting directly as their majority needs are dependent on Russia.
For example, Germany imports gas from Russia through Nord Stream Gas Pipeline via the Baltic Sea. The US response on the flipside is considerable raising valid questions that, since Ukraine is a sovereign state so holds the right to join any force or bloc it so desires. Russia can no way dictate Ukraine on how to formulate its foreign policy. If Russia has security concerns, it ought to tackle them otherwise.
Russia, whereas, is seeking a draft document on legal security guarantees from the United States and NATO that eastward expansion will be stymied in the best interest of Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the world. Putin has been very vocal about the consequences subjecting to the failure to do so. While the US is pressurizing states to condemn the Russian aggression, some have explicitly parted ways.
France, owing to the ditch it faced from the US forming the AUKUS aiming to counter China has not been giving due diligence to the US demands. Even India, America’s only partner in the South Asian region, has been refraining to slam Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The US has been threatening India with the dire ramifications of its proclivity toward Russia.
As for now, neither Russia nor the US is in the mood to quit. The latter has recently lost in Afghanistan and cannot afford to suffer another blow furthering their morale into rubble. The submission of the former will translate to its defeat, subsequently, setting the stage for Ukraine’s optimistic upsurge of joining NATO. The submission of Russia is also an innuendo that the US can continue with its expansionist attitude towards far-east.
It has been more than two months that Ukraine is living under a constant threat of annihilation at the hands of Russia. Russia has even warned opting for nuclear options if foreign powers try to butt in. The situation, if the west tries to intervene, will become more cumbersome. So, the solution to this state of anarchy is the pulling out of Russian forces coupled with the retreat of the west and NATO forces. Or else, the situation may transform otherwise which would further fan the already tensed environment.
The world economy is already bearing the brunt of the Ukraine-Russia war in terms of swelling oil prices that are contributing as an addition to the inflation. The de-escalation is in everyone’s interest.
Whether it ends up in a win-win situation, lose-lose situation, or win-lose situation, what remains the same is that Ukraine is the one on the receiving end.