No end in sight to the ongoing deadly conflict involving Russia— armed with nuclear weapons and highly trained troops— and the West backed Ukraine. This is month number twelve from February 2022, the time of the outbreak of the clash following months of war of words between the two neighboring states. The crisis is refusing to enter the stages of negotiations or a compromise. Meanwhile, the loss of men and material on both sides, in particular of the battlefield Ukraine, is reported without an end.
The immediate reason triggering the conflict was attributed to Ukraine’s inclination towards joining the US-led NATO military alliance. But Russia views such an attempt by Ukraine as a ploy to encircle it and bring US missiles and military to its borders. In response, Russia had warned that doing so was a red line for her and should not be crossed. So the conflict took the ugly turn.
While Ukraine is likely to remain steadfast and resist the onslaught —more on the strength of her willpower than on her muscle power, Russia looks to upset for having not managed to see its attack turning into victory for her as of today. This has, supposedly, hurt its self-respect and global image. The evading win is manifesting itself in Moscow's redoubled efforts at subduing the adversary as soon as possible.
What is seen as frustrating for Moscow is the way Ukraine has handled the situation to keep its head above water. The former's desperation can be gauged from the news reports saying that the Russian president has time and again threatened to use the nuclear weapons to crush the opposition in the current war. Are Ukraine's mental strength and war strategy more powerful than Russia's war weaponry?
On the other hand, Ukraine has done well: its troops have offered tough time to Russian forces and have tactically operated to ensure that the attacking agenda tires out. Ukraine forces have made the best use of their experience, expertise and home turf. All this has prolonged the war, upsetting Moscow's apple cart till today. The western support has raised the morale of Ukraine.
At this stage, Ukraine is a formidable and capable armed nation and is purposely armed by the West. Mainly by the US. To Washington, Ukraine now is a de facto military ally. And in response, Kiev will faithfully act in Washington's interest because it (America) now is its proven guarantor of support and resources than the other NATO members.
President Vladimir Putin chose, from his country's perspective, an appropriate time to take on Kiev in February last year. Aware of America -led NATO's disappointing return a few months back from Afghanistan , Russian think tank in all likelihood could have thought that Ukraine would receive little backing from the war tired NATO forces — possibly even from Washington. Had the plan worked well, Russian forces could have triumphed at ease. And thus demonstrated its might and prompt war winning capability across the world. But Ukraine, a non-nuclear state backed by the West, has surprised everyone. Moscow considerably because Ukraine has not fallen.
Notably with Russia yet to register victory over relatively weaker Ukraine, it can be arguably pointed out that its global image (as one of the world's supreme powerful states) has taken a beating. Kiev's heroic fight back in this large scale confrontation against a mighty country (Russia) is all set to embolden the other less-strong countries which may incline towards the Ukraine bloc. Time will tell.
Arguably, each warring party may opine that it has not yielded yet; however, who is winning, who is losing carries no significance when the considerable human loss and material are taken into account. Important now is to end the war.
For ending the conflict, supreme sacrifice is the key from both sides. The nonstop war has led to the loss of thousands of Russian and Ukrainian lives. In addition, the long war has caused the loss of several human and personnel resources. The war torn Ukraine has also now become a testing laboratory for modern weapons.
It is Moscow which needs to make peace attempts first because it is a permanent member of the UNO, the forum for peaceful existence. By this, Russia would send a goodwill message across Ukraine and the Western world. Ukraine also needs to abandon the warring mindset and see beyond the distant dream of cornering Russia.
(Author is RK Columnist and a Teacher by profession. He can be reached on: email@example.com)