Russia preparing for war 2022 on Ukraine is unmistakably a violation of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Moscow recognized the “republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine within 24 hours and deployed aerial forces into the country. Attacks are carried out on several fronts, including airports and military sites. The fight is now Europe’s most significant attack by one state since World War II and the first since the 1990s Balkan conflict. While China has reaffirmed its unwavering support for Russia, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has criticized the invasion and warned of catastrophic “economic and political consequences,” as well as putting air and naval assets on high alert. In essence, Ukraine is on the verge of becoming a new Cold War theatre of conflict. However, the world has changed in the last 30 years, and both parties — the West and Russia — must act quickly to defuse the situation.
While the strike has no justification, it is critical to comprehend why Vladimir Putin’s Russia is willing to risk severe economic penalties and a military clash over Ukraine. Russia’s position since the Soviet Union’s disintegration has been akin to Germany’s after World War I. Russia, like Germany after the Treaty of Versailles, was weakened without the USSR. Its economy had collapsed, national assets had been sold, and national dignity had been shattered. The West, for its part, oversaw NATO’s eastward expansion. By the mid-2000s, Russia, led by Vladimir Putin, had reasserted itself in its neighborhood, launching aggressive measures in Georgia, Estonia, and Ukraine. Ukraine and Georgia were included on NATO’s shortlist for membership further added to Russia’s worries and fears, which Putin has used for domestic political gain. The annexation of Crimea in 2014 had been Moscow’s most daring move to date; that crisis, like the current one, was justified by Putin based on national security and the rights of ethnic Russians in former Soviet republics. With the invasion of Ukraine, accords like the 2014 Minsk Protocols and the 1997 Russia-NATO Act are all but nullified.
However, unlike during the Cold War, the global economy is today incredibly intertwined. The costs of a prolonged conflict are too high, particularly in terms of the current loss of life and misery in Ukraine. Second, the globe is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected the world’s poorest countries and populations. It can’t afford to be slowed down by a fight. It is Russia’s responsibility to implement a ceasefire, and, as a result, both sides must return to the bargaining table. There is no way to escalate the situation.