After 2 years of Ukraine war, a sticky stalemate - GulfToday

After 2 years of Ukraine war, a sticky stalemate


Vladimir Putin. File

It was on February 24, 2022 that Russian President Vladimir Putin had launched what he called a “special military operation” to remove the “Nazis” in the Ukrainian government. It seemed then that Russia with its overwhelming military force would run through Ukraine in a matter of days. But it did not happen.

The Russian military strategy went wrong as Russian tanks and armoured cars were caught stuck in a jam of on the road to Kyiv, and the weather turned hostile as it were. Since then the fortunes of the battle fluctuated, with the Ukrainian fighting with their backs to the wall, and the Russians retreating from the eastern parts like in Kharkiv. But none of the turns in the battles fought in the east of Ukraine mainly had proved to be decisive. Neither side could claim victory.

Members of the NATO led by the US were fully committed to support Ukraine, and Americans pumped arms and money into the Ukrainian war effort. Meanwhile the US and the European Union countries imposed economic sanctions against Russia in a bid to cripple its economy. One of the main things was to cut off Russian oil and gas supplies, which was the mainstay in many ways of the Russian economy. The oil and gas prices shot up due to the disruption of supplies, but it did not have the anticipated effect – with the shutting down of the Russian economy, Moscow was able to find other buyers of oil and gas in China and India.

Both China and India did not approve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and they continued with their diplomatic relations with Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was looking to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to play the mediator between Kyiv and Moscow. And Ukraine had not given up on its hope that China and India will intervene effectively to end the war.

In many ways, and it was inevitable, Ukraine paid a heavy price for the war, both in terms of human and material costs. Its economy has been shattered because the Russians have destroyed the critical infrastructure by attacking power stations, and blockaded the Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea from exporting wheat because Ukraine is one of the main wheat exporters to the Middle East and many parts of Africa. Turkey had mediated a deal by which ships carrying Ukrainian wheat could cross the Black Sea. It was a short-term deal.

At the end of two years of war, President Putin has weathered a botched revolt by the private army Wagner’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin last June and his death a few months later in a helicopter crash, and economic distress. The Russian economy looks comfortable, and Putin is in a position to continue to wage the war though no clear conclusion is visible. Zelensky in the two years has got unstinted support from the US and other EU countries, and he has also been fighting a battle on the domestic front against corruption, including in the military circles. Fighting domestic corruption and creating a transparent administration as a precondition to be a member of the European Union (EU). But there was a noticeable ‘Ukraine fatigue’ among those lending military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The Republican opposition to continuing US aid to Ukraine has been a dampener.

Despite a sticky stalemate in the war between Ukrainians and Russia, it does not look like that the war will end any time soon. Putin is determined to pursue the war until he is able to protect the small republics in east Ukraine, which Russia has occupied in the last two years.



Related articles