Yesterday Russia invaded Ukraine in an unprecedented, lawless and unprovoked attack. I guess I’m not alone sitting in disbelief, wondering what’s Vladimir’s Putin endgame. What are his plans, goals and reasons?
The question is hard to answer as we are bombarded by lies and propaganda coming from everywhere. After all, it was no more than a week ago when Russia “withdrew” some of their forces from Ukrainian border. And yet, here we are, with a full-scale conflict, just on the other side of the fence.
On 22 February, in his nearly 1 hour speech to the Russian people, Vladimir Putin explained his motives. He accused Ukraine to be a home for neo-Nazis (skipping the fact that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine, is Jewish). He stated the necessity of protecting Donetsk and Luhansk artificial republics; to protect them he now tries to take control of Kiev, which lies on the other side of the country.
He also said that creation of Ukraine after Bolsheviks Revolutions in 1917 was a mistake – a mere gift given to Moscow from Lenin. Perhaps it was the only “true” sentence he had said. True, because Putin, together with other Russian politicians, might really believe it. It gives us an insight into their thinking of Ukraine. They don’t see it as a serious, sovereign country, but as a piece of land; an obstruction which lies between Russia and Europe. As such, it’s not worthy of being a dialogue partner. Ukrainians are to be forced to act as Kremlin wants them to.
All words coming in recent months from the lips of Vladimir Putin were blatant lies, aiming to give a pretext for Russian invasion and blur everyone else sight. But this shouldn’t be a surprise, not anymore at least.
There are other lies as well: the flood of short war footages, often recorded by civilians. They provide us with a false sense of staying informed. Watching them, we feel like being in the middle of the conflict, but in reality we don’t know at all what’s going on. The war is chaotic and urban warfare even more so. We know that probably the biggest fights currently take place near Kyiv, aiming to capture the capital and president Zelenskyy, probably staying in the city, altogether. Russia might hope to replace the current Ukrainian government with its puppets, but we don’t know it for sure.
We don’t know how many casualties are there after 2 days of fighting. Both sides claim different numbers of losts, both in men and military equipment. There are also reports of UK intelligence, which add a third number to the table.
Unfortunately, we already have civilian casualties and there will be more of them, as this is the toll of modern wars. As Bret Devereaux notes in Understanding the War in Ukraine:
Modern, western-style armies – of the sort both Ukraine and especially Russia have – are incredibly destructive. This is because they rely heavily on indirect fires – artillery, airstrikes, cruise missiles, etc. – to support ground troop advances. Indirect fires can be very long range and very destructive and modern armies use a LOT of them (…). The result (…) is that the attacker is left to blast out the defender, block by block, building by building, often using unguided artillery and rocket strikes to do it.
He also notes that the scale of attack suggests that the war was inevitable for some time – at least few weeks or months – and all of the negotiations were just a farce. It’s harsh, but very possible point of view.
The cyber war takes place in parallel to the physical one. Nvidia was supposedly hit by a cyber attack. Anonymous1 took down the website of Russian Ministry of Defense. Meanwhile, the number of fake news and “Russian troll accounts” on social networks is sorrowing.
We are all going to pay the price of this war one way or the other. Gas prices are going to skyrocket, and so is already high enough inflation. The only way out of this mess is to end this senseless war, but I doubt that things will go this way.
I hope that one day we’ll see the people responsible for this war standing the trial and punished for the death toll they had caused. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Usually I don’t write articles which are this involved. But man, this situation pisses me off.
I hate that name. ↩