Ukraine War Unlikely to End Anytime Soon
Early and unrealistic hopes for a quick victory by Ukraine’s forces over invading Russian troops have faded as the reality of an extended conflict sets in. That has a world already suffering the self-inflicted wounds of pandemic policy dreading the cost of continuing war in terms of poverty, hunger, and bloodshed. That’s stressful enough to cause fractures between countries going all-in to support Ukraine and those questioning the wisdom of the effort.
“In the current situation due to Russia’s aggression, this will indeed be the most difficult winter of all the years of independence,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told his people on June 7, before summer has even started, but in clear anticipation of cold and troubled months to come.
“More than 31,000 Russian servicemen have already died in Ukraine,” he added. “Since February 24, Russia has been paying almost 300 lives a day for a completely pointless war against Ukraine. And still the day will come when the number of losses, even for Russia, will exceed the permissible limit.”
Separately, Zelenskyy told the Financial Times that “stalemate is not an option” and vigorously rejected suggestions that Ukraine cede land to Russia for peace, comparing such proposals to appeasement of Nazi Germany. Clearly he anticipates an extended conflict.
“We need to be prepared that this may actually drag on for a long time,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted June 3.
The nature of the conflict supports that interpretation. Fighting in the east of the country has turned into a brutal slugfest, with land and towns repeatedly changing hands. And partisans in territory occupied by Russians are targeting not just enemy troops but those who collaborate with them. This week, they bombed a Kherson café frequented by soldiers and participants in the puppet government, days after a car bomb exploded in Melitopol in an apparent attack on occupation forces. There’s no evidence of a near-term end to the bloodshed, with all that entails for the entire planet given the disappearance of most of Ukraine’s crops from world markets and the impact of punitive sanctions against Russia as well as the country’s economic retaliation.
“Three months into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we face a new reality,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres cautioned this week. “For those on the ground, every day brings new bloodshed and suffering. And for people around the world, the war, together with the other crises, is threatening to unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution, leaving social and economic chaos in its wake.”
For a world already suffering self-inflicted wounds from COVID-19 lockdowns, war-related disruptions have brought grim forecasts from the OECD, UN Food and Agricultural Organization, and World Bank featuring discouraging words including “crisis” and “stagflation.” That means bringing the fighting to an end is a top priority for a lot of people, so the planet can get back to addressing the mess it was already in before bullets started flying. But disagreements over how to achieve that goal are widening preexisting fissures.
“The UK will give multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) to Ukraine to help the country defend itself agai
Article from Reason.com