By Debabrata Biswas
BOSTON: The Ukraine war started on February 24, when Russia invaded on the plea that Ukraine intends to join NATO and thereby threatens Russia’s security. The attack was not sudden, Russia has mobilized troops on Ukraine’s border for sometimes before, diplomatic efforts from USA and EU countries failed. There are some truth In Putin’s assertions but his true intention lies elsewhere. He wants to restore the Tsarist Russia landmap, at least those area in the Baltic which were inside Russia during USSR period. He thought many Ukrainians, specially Russ speaking people, about 29 % of the population will give him support which happened during his Crimea invasion. But he went wrong. The invasion has united all the Ukrainians against him and pushed them towards west. Ukraine didn’t fall within a short time as predicted. They are giving a very hard fight, with limited military and financial aid from US and the West.
Both the people of Russia and Ukraine belong to Eastern Slavic ethnic groups. Kyiv city is 460 years older than Moscow. After controlled by the Golden Horde, Kings of Poland and Lithuania and the Crimean Khanate during the Middle Ages, Tsarina Catherine the Great annexed a big part of modern day Ukraine by defeating the Ottomans( 1768-74).Thats how Ukraine became part of Russia. And after a short period of civil war and independence(1917-1922) became one of the founding Republics of USSR.
The Ukrainians and the Russians have a sort of love and hate relationship for long. The relation between them is aptly portrayed by Ukrainian poet like Kozar Taras Shevchenko and great Russ novelist in their novels like — Taras Bulba (Nikolai Gogol), The Cossacks (Leo Tolostoy), Quiet Flows the Don and Don Flows From Home to Sea (Mikhail Solokov), White Guard( Bulgakov) etc.
With the collapse of USSR, Ukraine became independent on Dec 1991. Putin blames Gorbachev for this. He also blamed Lenin for Ukraine’s short period of independence during the Bolshevik revolution. He was never a communist, he is virtually a dictator.
America’s response to the crisis is multi dimensional. On the diplomatic front the USA, NATO and EU have successfully mobilized by the world opinion against the invasion. In UNO General Assembly over overwhelming majority of nations (141 for, 4 against and 35 neutral-including China, India, Venezuela, Cuba) passed resolution condemning the invasion and arguing to stop it. In Security Council the majority resolution was against Russia, but. Russia vetoed it.
The Ukraine invasion revitalized NATO and EU. Switzerland which always remained neutral previously, joined EU to sanction Russia .Sweden, who is not a NATO member, sent 5000 antitank weapons to Ukraine.
The Biden administration analyses that Russian invasion is not limited in it, it is pointing to a greater plan of Putin. It points not only possible future invasion towards Baltic states but also to assert its might as a military superpower with at least standing as US. He wants to change the unipolar power structure helmed by USA to a bipolar one. China is coming out as an economic and political powerhouse in the world scenario, so Russia needs to assert his position in military might. That’s why Putin cautions the west about use of nuclear arsenals, if necessary.
Analyzing Putin’s mindset, the USA and the West tread cautiously on Ukraine’s affair. They didn’t directly involve themselves in the war. That’s why Poland’s proposal to give MiG25. fighting planes to Ukraine through Germany was not accepted by them. Instead they imposed strictest economic sanctions on Russia, which might cripple its economy very deeply. The cut exports from Russia including oil hitting the base of Russia’s economy very hard. The USA and NATO also mobilized their troops on NATO countries bordering Russia. At the same time they are keeping their diplomatic efforts agile.
On the domestic front situation has changed a little .The Republicans and the right wing media tried to support Putin before and immediately after aggression .Trump praised him as very smart and savvy and his invasion as an act of genius .But later they toned down because public opinion, even among the Republican supporters, is vastly on the side of Ukraine and against Russia. Though many Trumpist Republicans still are trying to villify Biden’s policy in this matter, his handling of the situation earned him a high score of rating in opinion polls. Americans seems to be almost united against Russ aggression .Recently gas (oil) price rose from $ 2.30 a gallon to $5 within a fortnight. But most Americans are ready to bear the burden for the sake of standing against an aggression which made 2.7 million Ukrainians to leave their country till now.
There’s somehow a bizarre sentiment among people of Indian origin in America, specially Bengalis and Bangladeshis about this matter. On interactions and through looking at media and internet, I found out that many sided with the role of India Govt. on this issue . They are not ready to condemn Russia. They didn’t forget the support that Russia gave India during the Indo-Pak war in east Pakistan in 1971.But Russia was USSR then, not Putin’s Russia. Should a good act in the past overshadow an evil act of naked aggression at present? (IPA Service)