The Russian attack against Ukraine has been going on for more than six years with the situation becoming worse day by day. There is no chance of any hope in this war if it continues with the same war rhetoric from both Russia and its western antagonists. They are both intent on achieving their goal through war. The victim is Ukraine and its people as well as the people of Russia.
The war that was thought to be a cakewalk for Putin's military has turned into their nightmare, an irreversible blunder for Putin. The Ukrainian army and people have proved their stamina in keeping the big Russian storm at bay to the surprise of many in the world. The country which was deemed to fall like a house of cards has turned out to be made of steel and invincible.
Yet, the loss is enormous for Ukraine and its people. Since February 24 more than 13 million people have fled their homes and 6.6 million have been internally displaced in Ukraine. About 14,000 Ukrainian military personnel and the similar number of the Russian army have been killed in this war. According to the UN human rights office, more than 5,600 civilians have been killed in Ukraine. There is no waning in the casualties on both sides in this conflict.
Putin rhetoric before the war was to purge Ukraine of the fascist forces. Now the world sees the Russian force as the 21-century fascist following the footstep of the US-British invading forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is also going to be as lengthy as the US-British war venture with similar or more serious consequences for both sides and even humanity depending on the sanity of Putin. The Economist article 'The war where almost nothing is what it seems' (August 23rd 2022) concludes, "Mr Putin has no obvious way to back down and has hinted darkly of resorting to nuclear weapons if his hand is forced. In this hall of mirrors, it is hard to see a path that leads to peace."
US Senator Bernie Sanders foresaw all these and he wrote two weeks before the Russian invasion, "No one knows exactly what the human costs of such a war would be. But there are estimates that there could be over 50,000 civilian casualties in Ukraine, and millions of refugees flooding neighboring countries as they flee what could be the worst European conflict since the second world war. In addition, of course, there would be many thousands of deaths within the Ukrainian and Russian militaries." (We must do everything possible to avoid an enormously destructive war in Ukraine, The Guardian, 8 Feb. 2022)
Sanders further pointed out, "In my view, we must unequivocally support the sovereignty of Ukraine and make clear that the international community will impose severe consequences on Putin and his associates if he does not change course.
"With that said, I am extremely concerned when I hear the familiar drumbeats in Washington, the bellicose rhetoric that gets amplified before every war, demanding that we must 'show strength', 'get tough' and not engage in 'appeasement'. A simplistic refusal to recognize the complex roots of the tensions in the region undermines the ability of negotiators to reach a peaceful resolution."
Jeremy Corbyn, ex-Labour leader of Britain, said in a TV interview: "Pouring arms in isn't going to bring about a solution, it's only going to prolong and exaggerate this war," Corbyn said. "We might be in for years and years of a war in Ukraine. What I find disappointing is that hardly any of the world's leaders use the word peace; they always use the language of more war, and more bellicose war."
Mr. Corbyn added: "This war is disastrous for the people of Ukraine, for the people of Russia, and for the safety and security of the whole world, and therefore there has to be much more effort put into peace." He called for the UN to be "much more centre stage ...." (Heather Stewart, Jeremy Corbyn urges west to stop arming Ukraine, The Guardian, 2 August 2022)
Both Russia and its western rivals are intent on winning the war at any cost of destroying lives and property. But this conflict holds no prospect of ending soon with the victory of a sole party. It is more likely to be a protracted war with long term consequences for both countries and people across the globe.
In this context we can recall what Yanis Varoufakis, former finance minister of Greece, wrote on May 23, 2022 on a Project Syndicate article (The Peace Process Ukraine's Supporters Should Support), "In 1943, progressives had a moral duty to dismiss calls for a negotiated settlement with Hitler. Cutting a deal with the Nazis to end the carnage would have been unforgivable. Civilized people had only one option: to keep fighting until Allied troops stood over Hitler's Berlin bunker. Today, by contrast, it would be a grave error to aim for a final military victory over Russia and to dismiss those of us calling for an immediate negotiated peace."
Mr. Varoufakis further wrote in that article, "Only a negotiated peace can snatch victory-defined as better outcomes for Ukraine, Europe, and humanity-from the jaws of multiple defeats." Adding to him, we should say that the only hope in the horizon lies in the capacity of global people to force the querulous leaders to listen to the proposal of Sanders and Corbyn, the only sane idea which can save Ukraine, Russia and the world.
The writer is Editor, Biggan O Sangskriti
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