The war in Ukraine: How it started and how it will likely end.
Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. But they have failed to capture any major cities.
Near the end of March 2022, Ukraine is entering the second month of a disastrous war with Russia. Of a country of 43 million, 4 million have left the country as refugees to places like Poland and Romania. Over 6 million have been displaced from their homes.
A shopping center was bombed to pieces in Kyiv last week, and the week before 300 people plus children were murdered while hiding in a theater that was bombed.
The city of Mariupol has been flattened by continuous shelling and the city is now besieged by Russian forces. A fraction of the population have escaped or been allowed safe transit to Ukraine, or can you believe it, to Russia.
But 400,000 people remain without electricity or running water and are short on food and medical supplies. One family walked 3 miles to get water. People live in underground shelters, afraid to go outside. More than 5,000 people dead.
The war has reached a stalemate. 7,000 – 14,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, along with several generals, and their morale is poor.
It’s an immoral invasion of a free and democratic country where Russia used as a pretext that Ukraine was trying to join NATO and Russia felt threatened by Ukraine!
The truth is that a leader of the opposition party in Ukraine was put out of power, even imprisoned for a while, by Zelensky, the president. And some of his pro-Russian TV ads were closed down. The opposition leader in Ukraine is an old friend of President Putin’s.
Putin figured he was free to attack Ukraine and immune because he’d done these kinds of things before without any significant pushback from the West. He annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine, in 2014. He sent Russian soldiers and equipment to the Donetsk region and started a local war in far- eastern Ukraine in 2014.
In 2015 Putin sent his air force into Syria and bombed the heck out of rebels who were getting close to kicking out Assad. Assad was saved, although the country is just about a failed state. A quarter of the population left the country as refugees or asylum-seekers and another quarter have been displaced from their homes.
Putin is regarded as a pariah by most of the world, and the war is costing his country a lot of money. The wide-spread sanctions by many countries are working and Russia’s economy is reeling. The world has taken a large backward step and the Cold War is upon us once again – due to one solitary man’s inflated and misguided ego.
At the other extreme stands President Zelensky, a young and inexperienced president who has held his country together by Churchillian speeches. He also went on video to many separate countries, using brazen presentations to implore the West for more fighter jets, tanks, and switchblade drones to keep at bay an army of superior numbers. He didn’t get the fighter jets and tanks but from the US he did get helicopters, stinger missiles, javelin missiles and smaller armaments worth $2 billion.
But as a remarkable young diplomat, most of Zelensky’s presentations led to standing ovations, including at the US Congress.
A brief history that may be relevant as a model for Ukraine and Russia to reach for peace:
“In 1939, Joseph Stalin invaded Finland, which had once been part of the Russian empire. He was sure his troops would carve their way through it in no time – just as Putin thought about Ukraine in 2022. Stalin’s generals, understandably terrified for their lives, promised him he was right. And, of course, he wasn’t.
The Winter War dragged on into 1940, the Soviet army was humiliated, and Finland was left with a justifiable national pride in itself for resisting a superpower. It lost territory, because autocrats like Stalin and Putin need to come out of these things looking as though they’ve scored a victory. But Finland kept the most important, most imperishable thing: its full independence as a free, self-determining nation.”
How to end the war.
Finland may be a model for how to end the war in Ukraine. Putin needs to save face in a stalemate war, and he would demand certain things:
First: Ukraine gives up all intentions to join NATO.
Second: Ukraine also gives up joining the EU (European Union). This will be harder.
Third: Ukraine gives up its territorial claims on Crimea and the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine (the Donbass is 9% of Ukraine’s area and Crimea is a fait accompli). Russia may want even more area. Unfortunately, this would confirm that the international treaty to protect Ukraine’s borders has been flagrantly and permanently broken by Russia – this one would be hard to swallow.
Fourth: But Ukraine becomes fully independent as a free, self-determining, neutral country, following the course of a successful Finland.
There is no guarantee it will go this way, but my sense is that Russia, even now, may be pushing hard in one last gasp to gain territory before a ceasefire and talks leading along this path.
The situation has been clarified by a conference between Russian and Ukraine negotiators on 29 March, the first meeting since March 10, in Istanbul, Turkey.
On the previous day, Russia announced they would radically reduce their military actions in the areas of Kyiv and Chernihiv cities, to focus on the separatist areas of eastern Ukraine. An offer the Ukrainians would accept, if only to take pressure off the Russian assault on Kyiv.
Here are the clarifications, as reported from the meeting in Istanbul:
“Ukraine would agree not to join alliances with or host bases of foreign troops, but would have its security guaranteed in terms similar to “Article 5,” the collective defense clause of NATO.
They identified Israel and NATO members Canada, Poland and Turkey as countries that could help provide such guarantees. Russia, the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy could also provide guarantees.
The fate of the southeastern Donbas region, which Russia demands Ukraine cede to separatists, would be set aside to be discussed by the Ukrainian and Russian leaders. Any peace deal would require a referendum in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian negotiators called for a meeting between President Putin and President Zelensky.”
Ukraine would become a permanent neutral state that would not host any foreign military bases or activities, would not join any military alliances, or harbor any nuclear weaponry.
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The Gray Nomad ….. A hint of peace in a tragic and calamitous war. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Bible quote: He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
[Book of Isaiah, chapter 2]