On Thursday, February 24, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. President Putin who ordered the Russian attack on Ukraine has called it a military operation to ‘denazify’ the eastern European country. Russian invasion started in the form of missile attacks and airstrikes on Kyiv and other major cities. As per media reports that quoted Oleksi Arestovich, who is an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 40 Ukrainian soldiers and 10 civilians had been killed in the early invasion. On Friday, international media reported that 137 Ukrainians had died as a result of Russian aggression. More loud explosions due to possible missile airstrikes were heard in Kyiv on the second day of the Russian advancement.
Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine tweeted that the last time such explosions were heard was in 1941 when Nazi Germany had attacked Ukraine.
Russian Attack on Ukraine- What Does Putin Want?
Well, there is not one single reason that can describe Putin’s intention behind the Russian attack on Ukraine. From his different speeches and statements, it is evident that apparently, Ukraine’s leaning towards western powers like Europe and United States is what puts the interests of Russia at stake. A pro-European regime in Ukraine which is likely to become a member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) just like other Eastern European states that were once part of the Soviet Union doesn’t seem acceptable for Russia. Therefore, one apparent reason for Russian aggression in Ukraine is the Kremlin’s intention of the regime change in Kyiv to a pro-Russian one. As per critics, despite Russian claims that the land where Ukraine is situated now historically belonged to Russia, Putin may have no issue with the sovereign status of Ukraine as far as the political government was pro-Russia.
During the Security Council session on Wednesday, February 23, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia stated that his country’s attack on Ukrain was justified under Article 51 of the UN Charter. He further stated that the military operation was against the genocide of Russian in Donbas, Ukraine. The west has already denied this claim as mere propaganda.
If the claim that Ukraine historically belonged to Russia is believed to be the reason for the Russian attack on Ukraine then it makes a case for Kremline’s advance in other regions of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, that were once part of the Soviet Union. However, such happening can not only prove devastating to world peace but it can even jeopardize the millions of human lives due to possible World War III. As per critics, Russian nationalism is not merely the reason for the invasion of Ukraine but it is the need to have more control over the warm water ports in the Eurasia region for trade and commerce. Presumably, interests in trade routes and the political need of keeping NATO forces away can be the cause of the Russian aggression.
A Threat to American Power and Post Cold War Order
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 had effectively put an end to the cold war era that started after the second world war. Consequently, the United States of America emerged as the only superpower. However, the recent status of the United States as a world power seems in danger partially due to the rise of China and partially due to Russia’s aggression. In the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the United States, UK and EU have retaliated by putting sanctions on Russian banks, financial institutes and elites in different capacities. However, China has come up with a ‘muted’ response and it has refused to call it ‘invasion’, as per the media.
Iran which is also considered to be a crucial ally of Russia for the past few decades has also not condemned Russia. Instead, the Middle Eastern country that has poor relations with the West has blamed NATO for this conflict. It appears that Russia, China and Iran alliance is likely to emerge stronger if Russia succeeds in attaining its desired goals in Ukraine, giving a tough challenge to the status quo of power in the world. Furthermore, a regime change in Ukraine can make Russia more confident; something which is inevitably a threat to the post-cold war order. More Russian aggression can give the United States more reasons to maintain a military presence in the Eurasia region. The US and China disputes in the South China sea and mutual trade wars between the countries are already a cause of concern. Therefore, any conclusion of the Russia and Ukraine crisis that can lead to escalation of conflicts between the western and emerging eastern powers must be avoided to prevent the looming dangers of another world war.