The war in Ukraine, now in its eighth month, shows no sign of de-escalation, but, conversely, its brutal phase is increasingly unfolding. Clearly, Putin’s ill-advised move of running over Ukraine within weeks; and installing a puppet government is not only shattered, but also a big political miscalculation, exposed.
Russian forces lately retreated or were forced to retreat to few pockets, often with a high Russian-speaking communities concentration. The dream of Kiev’s fall was dropped early on this onslaught, although intermittent air strikes continue. Instead, annexation of some territories following questionable referendum, which west describes as sham plebiscite, others see it as face saving technique, is the latest attempt to show might. The stiff resistance from the Ukrainian army, receiving billions of dollars, mostly in the form of military supplies mainly from America; and to a lesser extent from Europe, leaves this desire weary.
The morale of Russian troops is said to be at its lowest point since the disgraceful Soviet exit of Afghanistan in late 1980’s. Commanding generals were dismissed severally one after another, reservists called up and mass mobilization exercise is well underway. Massive exodus of young people to some of the neighbouring countries is also reported. All these acts tellingly expose desperate moves by the regime.
Air missile defense system
As Russia intensified lately air raids on Ukraine’s cities including Kiev, the capital city, targeting landmarks such as energy infrastructures, western countries once again promised to stay beside Ukraine in this war. NATO ministries of defence agreed to provide air missile defense system to Ukraine to counter Russian air strikes. They also went a mile ahead since 14 countries of NATO members agreed better air defense system in their territories.
There is a fear that Russia, having the world’s largest nuclear stockpile, might unleash nuclear weapons. However, military analysts are of the opinion that nuclear war is unlikely, but, given successive setbacks, Russia might tempt to use tactical nuclear weapons.
As a result of Russia-Ukraine conflict, many countries around the world, are experiencing, perhaps, for the first time in many years, huge spike in basic food prices and commodities. Equally, oil and gas prices surged, prompting energy crisis and effectively complicating lives to millions of people, primarily in the developing countries. This conflict also adversely impacted on global economic conditions as the world faces, sadly, the worst global food shortages for decades. Still worse, climate change-induced shocks, in the name of floods and drought pose detrimental effect to many developing nations in the world. Needless to mention economic crisis and supply chains disruptions perpetuated by COVID-19.
World Bank and IMF in their annual gathering this week in Washington warned of a global recession as countless countries around the world are seriously affected by inflation and high prices of fundamental amenities. A grim world economy assessment by IMF depicts stormy waters and projects downgraded global economic growth next year.
Countries with open and mature public discourse, inflation and rising prices activated demand-side of governance. Hence, in return, responsible governments are forced to change their economic policies. Governments are, for instance, increasing their spending by subsidizing households in the soaring energy bills, transportation and health insurance coverage.
The overrated economic sanctions on Russia, has so far little or no impact for Russia is still able to run a high-priced military operation in Ukraine. The barrage of American and European sanctions so far failed to bring Russian economy to its knees, as per earlier vows. Sanctions might setback Russia’s economic development in the long run but relying on his country’s vast gas and natural resources, Putin remains as deviant as ever. In terms of military operations, both Russia and the west are reported to have depleted their army arsenals.
Hypocrisy at its finest
While the war in Ukraine is unfortunate and claims the lives of so many innocent people, it exposed few other facts. Anti-war protests and solidarity with Ukraine were visibly seen every sector, anywhere in the west. It is crystal clear in business, sports and media, to mention a few. When, however, other oppressed societies face such atrocities, solidarity evaporates. In some cases, Muslim-related ones such aid is even a prosecutable offense, let alone support and lending a meaningful help. Hypocrisy at its finest!
Resilient and united
Finally, many believed that Ukraine, although it is the most populous; and the second largest economy after Russia in the Soviet Union yet will not stand against the heat of Russian invasion. Ukraine -thanks, ostensibly to the generous support from its western allies- not only fought back but succeeded to recover portions of its taken territories from Russia. It also maintains a costly but deadly nationwide resistance. Its comedian-turned-president, through his nightly press briefings, is providing incredibly strong leadership. They say leadership is about effective communication and influence. To many, he is now a war hero. His people, the Ukrainians- around 43 million, remarkably remain united, resistant and deviant.
By: Abdirahman Adan Mohamoud