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Two Years of Bloodshed: The Unfinished Saga of Ukraine’s Struggle for Survival

Two Years of Bloodshed: The Unfinished Saga of Ukraine’s Struggle for Survival

19-05-2024
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1 mins Read
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If we think about the global political position and structure, it can be easily identified that the global political structure is a process of changing dynamics. According to the political forms of divine rules, the previous structure always loses its dominance when a new structure emerges. It’s called “rapid changes with the fittest system.” After the shocking waves of the First World War, many people thought that the world might not see the start of another World War. But it was not possible in reality. The dire consequences of World War II once again pitted the United States and the Soviet Union against each other to prove whose ideology was better and stronger. At that time, the entire world was again divided into two parts. America favored capitalism, while the Soviet Union graced socialism.

In 1991, democracy, liberalism, and the market economy, the main ideological elements of the capitalist bloc mainly called the Western world, won just as the Soviet Union was being dismantled. Francis Fukuyama, an American scholar of Japanese descent who was a well-known name in the intellectual circles of the Western world, published his much-discussed and criticized thesis in 1992, the year after the collapse of the Soviet Union, titled The End of History and the Last Man. In his thesis, he tried to assert that liberal democracy and a liberal market economy are the ultimate goals of state governance. But the sad thing is that Fukuyama’s doctrine established in 1992 was not able to dominate the world, and as a rival to it, Ulrich Beck, a German scholar, published a book called Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity with a naked criticism of Western modernity by postmodern scholars. He termed Western modernity “instrumental’. Ulrich Beck enthusiastically and strongly argued in his book against Fukuyama and Huntington’s theories. He said that dangerous social order will be created and saving the environment will be impossible unless a political system can be created outside of structural politics and economics. And in view of that, after the nineties, the strong environmentalist movement and the spread of imperialist thought started.

Almost a decade after that, another important event began to unfold around the world. On September 11, 2001, people around the world witnessed an unexpected event. The War on Terror begins. Suspiciously, Afghanistan became America’s first victim, which had been going on for about 20 years. Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iran were attacked one by one. America has withdrawn US troops from Afghanistan. They left Vietnam in a very difficult situation. Russia and China are currently the two main powers, which puts them in a win-win situation against America in Syria. America lost control of Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria and was in a dire situation. Arms trade is one of the policies of gaining superiority through control over another country to preserve its own glorious history. The position of Russia at present is exactly the same. Controlling Ukraine became imperative for Russia to return the glory of the Soviet Union to its historical past and not make its neighbor a puppet of the enemy in order to achieve supremacy. On the one hand, there was imperialist thought and the NATO issue in Russia’s mind, and on the other hand, under the fire of retaliatory Western economic sanctions, Russia decided to invade Ukraine. Two years of war have already passed since Russia first launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

In the tragic experience of the First and Second World Wars, Europe tried its best to keep its territory out of the war. Yet war engulfed Europe. The tactics they pursued weren’t fruitful. The world again experienced plenty of disastrous events. The bleakest situation for Europe since World War II is now set against the backdrop of the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war through Bosnia, Kosovo, and Eastern Europe.

The European Union condemns Russian aggression and is eager to take tough punitive measures against Russia. They are committed to helping Ukraine. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has threatened to “authorize far-reaching and strategic sanctions against Russia.”. Though it’s quite positive news for Ukraine, could it actually bring any changes to the situation? This is the question that really needs justification.

After its second consecutive and eventful year, the Russo-Ukraine war has entered its third year and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. However, as the conflict worsens, the citizens of Ukraine are tired and frustrated, and they expect changes to keep them safe from the heinous action from Russia. The country’s Defence Minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, has called on citizens who are “able and ready to bear arms” to join the Ukrainian Defence Forces. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a tweet, “Russia treacherously invaded our country, just like Nazi Germany did during World War II.” Russia has embarked on a path of evil. I must say they will not succeed until we are alive. We will fight for our nation.

Ukraine is defending itself. Ukraine will not give up its independence, no matter what Moscow thinks. ‘ If they think they will do whatever they want, it will not happen until our people make their decision. We, the Ukrainian people, are the ones who will decide their future. The reality is that thousands of civilians are imprisoned in Russian prisons. Ukraine is now tired and depressed because of the war. At the start of the war, 85 percent of the citizens believed victory would be theirs. That idea is gradually changing. A poll found that a majority of citizens now believe it will take them several more years to win the war. Even after the tragic and unforeseen situation, the people of Ukraine are still hopeful for their victory.

But the biggest question is: how long can Ukraine survive the Russian attack? The way Russia started to invade Ukraine is unacceptable. Although neither side has won an outright victory in the war so far, Ukraine is being cornered and crushed. When things were not in their hands and they were unable to survive the fighting, Ukraine withdrew its troops from the important city of Avdivka in the eastern region. They have recently missed out on several other cities. That’s a question about their survival position now.

Ukraine’s new military chief, Oleksandr Sirsky, said the decision to withdraw troops from Avdiivka was made to prevent Russian forces from encircling it and to protect the lives of military officers. Our army has performed its duty with dignity, and we will not bow our heads down. They are doing their best to destroy the Russian forces, and we believe we can continue our action against them.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that the situation in Ukraine is likely to worsen as economic and military aid from the West declines. Over the past two years, the massive military, financial, and humanitarian aid that Ukraine’s allies have been providing has been dwindling. According to the “Kiev Institute for the World Economy,” up until January 2024, Ukraine received about 92 billion dollars from various European Union institutions, and the United States contributed 73 billion dollars. Western-supplied tanks, air defence systems, and long-range artillery have greatly helped Ukraine continue the war. But aid has dwindled in recent months, and there is debate over how long allies will actually be able to continue supporting Ukraine.

There have been fears that if Donald Trump wins the November presidential election, US aid will freeze. However, the G-7 discussed new sanctions against Russia and a joint arms purchase for Ukraine. The European Union approved $54 billion worth of aid in February after negotiations with Hungary. Hungarian President Viktor Orbán, who is close to Putin, has publicly opposed aid to Ukraine. Most Western leaders are expressing solidarity with Ukraine. The EU chief praises the resistance of Ukrainian forces on the second anniversary of the war. Macron announced France’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine. Western leaders, including European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and Canada’s Justin Trudeau, came to Ukraine to show solidarity with Kiev. Von der Leyen, Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander arrived in Ukraine on a night train from Poland.

“We have been fighting for 730 days,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at an open-anniversary event at Kiev’s Gostomel airport. We will win on the best day of our lives. Ukraine’s army chief, Oleksandr Sirsky, also said in the same tone, ‘I am sure that unity is our victory, and it will happen. Because light always conquers darkness!’

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a post on X, “We are more firmly on the side of Ukraine now than at any other time.” In this regard, we are on the side of Kiev economically, militarily, and morally. We stand by Ukraine until the country is finally de-occupied.’
“Ukrainians are fighting for our collective future,” Trudeau said in a statement before arriving in Kiev. They are fighting to remind the world that democracy is important enough to survive and strong enough to win.” He added, “As the war continues, it is at stake. And that’s why Canada has stood by Ukraine since the first day. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said, “Ukraine is on the way to further support. The country will join NATO. But NATO will continue to stand by Kiev now as it prepares Ukraine for that day.’

U.S. Aid and Military Assistance

No.
Foreign Aid
Net Spent (Billion)
1.Military Aid to Ukraine
$45.2 BN
2.Economic and Humanitarian Aid
$46.0 BN
3.US Military
$15.2 BN
4.Aid to Allies for Weapons
$4.7 BN
5.MISC U.S. Defense Dept Expense
$2.0 BN

 Total Money Spent $113 BN


Sources: DOD and Center for a responsible Federal Budget

Russia also has problems with money and manpower, reports say. But they raised the question: What did Putin get in the two years of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine? Russia currently occupies one-fifth of Ukraine’s territory, according to international news agencies. The situation was almost the same three months into the war. The way Ukraine resisted the invasion of the powerful Russian army two years ago surprised many defence experts. In the first and second stages of the war, with the support of the Western world and the way Ukraine’s forces harassed Russia, it was also feared that the “thorn” of the world’s military balance could be shaken. But the next situation tells a different story. Russia currently occupies one-fifth of the territory of Ukraine. Taking the city of Avdivka boosted the confidence of the Russians. They have reached the outskirts of Mariupol. On the other hand, the military aid of the western world, including the US, has come ‘tide-pull’. All in all, Moscow is in an advantageous position after the second year of the war. If this trend continues, the “decisive end” of Putin’s Ukraine campaign could be before the third anniversary.

It is to be noted that on February 24, 2022, President Putin announced a ‘military campaign’ against Ukraine in a speech to the nation on the Russian state television channel. Within hours, Russian forces launched cruise missiles and airstrikes against “70 specific targets” (according to Moscow’s statement) in Ukraine. In addition, land and sea invasions also began. Along the Donbass-Russia border, Russian tanks and armored brigades deployed in Belarus surged into Ukrainian soil.

Russian warships and amphibious landing vehicles deployed in Crimea ports and the Black Sea began landing troops to capture the Ukrainian coastal cities of Odessa and Mariupol. Ukraine’s abandoned nuclear power plant in Chernobyl collapsed on the second day of the Russian attack. The Russian army reached the doorstep of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, known as ‘Silicon Valley’. Even a part of the Russian forces that crossed the Belarusian border reached the capital. Even with limited power, the Ukrainian army stood its ground. All-out war ensued, with Putin recruiting mercenaries from Nepal alongside Wagner’s mercenary forces.

How much success has ‘superpower’ Russia had with a year-long series of attacks against Ukraine, an insignificant military power? Zelensky reported that Russian forces were occupying 20% of his country on June 4, 2022, the 100th day of the war. Even after two years of the war, the overall picture did not change much. A day before the military operation was announced, Putin declared the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine (as the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are collectively called) “independent.” In the last two years, some towns in the region have come under the control of the Russian army. On the other hand, the Ukrainian army, which has put up an impressive resistance in the two-year-long, uneven war, is now suffering from a lack of weapons and military equipment. In this situation, it is doubtful how many more days it will be possible for them to continue fighting.

Before the start of the Russian campaign, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army, told the members of the relevant congressional committee that the Putin-Army could capture the capital of Ukraine within 72 hours if a full-scale attack was launched. But it did not happen in practice. Rather, the Russian army had to retreat even after reaching the threshold of the capital. They lost and captured Bucha, Izhyum, Borodyanka, Chernihiv, and Kherson. Before retreating, accusations of indiscriminate genocide had been made against them.

Perhaps Russia’s greatest success in the past two years has been keeping its economy afloat in the face of Western sanctions. Along with Iran, China, and Turkey, old friend India also stands by Moscow in this matter. Russian oil was bought, ignoring the “warning” of Washington. They collectively tried to support the Russian economy and trace the footprint of teaching Washington a lesson. Putin’s main ‘pretext’ for military action in Ukraine was the Zelenskyi government’s push to join NATO, the US-led military alliance. In this case, Zelensky did not listen to Putin’s threat. The trend has spread to Russia’s other two neighbors, Finland and Sweden, amid the war situation. Ignoring Russian threats, they have started the process of joining NATO. Even if the Ukraine war is won, that could be a future concern for Moscow.

There is no way for Russian President Vladimir Putin to lose in Ukraine. If he comes back from the war, he may even be killed. Such is the comment of Tesla CEO, billionaire Musk. He said about the Russia-Ukraine war on his own social media ‘X’ platform that Putin will never accept defeat against Ukraine. Those who dream of winning Ukraine are living in a ‘fairytale world’. It should be noted that 95 billion dollars have been allocated in a US bill to help Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Putin also signed a new law, which provides for the confiscation of property if it criticizes Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. American President Joe Biden has made it clear that they have their own interests behind helping Ukraine. America wants to destroy the Russian dictatorship. The world is tired of seeing the dictatorship behavior of Russia, and it’s a dangerous outlook for the world of democracy as well. After two years of catastrophic events in the Ukraine war, the world’s states are afraid of imperialist countries like Russia.
The author of this article is Assistant Editor of ‘Perspective’
References :
1. Waterhouse, James. (2024, February 24). Gaza siege: Two years into Russia’s invasion, exhausted Ukrainians refuse to give up. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-68384341
2. Mirovalev, Mansur. (2024, February 24). Bitter but resilient: Ukraine fights on, two years into Russia’s war. Aljazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/2/24/this-is-my-land-ukrainians-are-bitter-but-resilient-two-years-into-war
3. KULLAB, SAMYA. (2024, February 24). After 2 years of war, questions abound on whether Kyiv can sustain the fight against Russia. AP News. https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-war-2-years-what-to-know-d0f1c1bd57f7ebbe5f7335738acbc6b4
4. Nierenberg, Amelia. (2024, February 22). Friday Briefing: Two Years of War in Ukraine. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/22/world/asia/friday-briefing-two-years-of-war-in-ukraine.html
5. Bell, Jennifer. (2024, February 20). Two years of Russia-Ukraine war: No end of conflict in sight, say experts. Al Arabiya News. https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2024/02/20/Two-years-of-Russia-Ukraine-war-No-end-of-conflict-in-sight-say-experts
6. Marson, James. (2024, February 20). Ukraine’s Bloody Decade: A Visual History of 10 Years at War. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/world/ukraine-russia-war-10-year-anniversary-photos-06423029
7. D’Agata, Charlie. (2024, February 19). Life in Ukraine after a year of war. CBS NEWS. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/life-in-ukraine-after-a-year-of-war/
8. Child, David. (2024, February 16). A year of Russia’s war in Ukraine: Your simple guide. Aljazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/16/after-a-year-of-war-in-ukraine-what-might-happen-next
9. Kuzio, Taras. (2024, November 7). Peace is impossible while Vladimir Putin denies Ukraine’s right to exist. Atlantic Council. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/peace-is-impossible-while-vladimir-putin-denies-ukraines-right-to-exist/
10. Teslova, Elena. (2024, February 26). Two years of war: How the Russia-Ukraine conflict has unfolded. Anadolu Ajansi. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/two-years-of-war-how-the-russia-ukraine-conflict-has-unfolded/3145895
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