A Personal View of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Photo by: Juliana Kuznetsova
Too many individuals believed that fighting was similar to playing a computer game, 70 years after the Second World War. The entire logic of how the world functions has changed after 2019, when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse make a comeback, as though it had entered a different dimensional reality. Interests drive nations, and the current situation is more of a result than a result of internal factors. However, the fundamental concepts of “right and wrong” continue to serve as the foundation for common conversation, so “it is required to take a stand as well as a right and a wrong” It is simple to become overly simplistic if we simply discuss the big picture at the level of phenomena rather than viewing the universe in a multi-dimensional and dialectical manner. It is simple to have a limited perspective if we just discuss the large picture at the level of phenomena rather than viewing the universe in a multidimensional and dialectical manner. If we take a longer view of history, we should focus on the Soviet Union’s collectivization of agriculture 100 years ago, which led to a famine in 1932 in Ukraine, the breadbasket of Europe, in which millions of Ukrainians perished from starvation and tens of millions were forced to flee their homes.

The German army entered Ukraine in World War II and welcomed the people as liberators, assisting the Nazis to lead the way, and establishing the Nazi Azov battalion. The Ukrainian people had a fierce hatred for the Soviet Union, and ever since, they have been in a state of mutual hurt and disintegration. The continuation of Lenin-era national policies in the Soviet Union after WWII did not dilute national consciousness, but rather reinforced divisions, and after the collapse of a strong central government, fragmentation along national lines became inevitable. Many of the issues have historical roots, involving religion and ethnicity, and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the modern sense has thus unfolded.

It is not objective to say that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is the responsibility of the US and NATO for provocation. The reasons inherent in the current pro-U.S. Ukraine are basically as follows. In the 30 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s politics has been governed by three forces taking turns to check each other, but the centrist Tymoshenko and the pro-Russian Yanukovych were too corrupt in power and the pro-Russian faction lost Crimea during their rule and did not have the support of the general public, which is why they were overturned by the pro-American faction with their votes and gave the pro-American family the opportunity to dominate. That is why I have always stressed that solving our own problems is the core. The US government, which wants to remain number one in the world, is bound to exploit the conflict between Russia and Ukraine for its own benefit, but the underlying “ethnic conflict” is a result of history, not of the US and NATO. After all, there was no NATO then, and the US hand was not that long. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Britain and the US made a verbal commitment to Gorbachev that “NATO would not expand eastwards”. But the biggest problem was that Gorbachev did not sign a written treaty to limit NATO’s expansion, leaving a gaping hole for NATO to disavow. It is relatively easy to start a fight between two countries with long-standing grievances; it is very difficult to start a war out of nothing, as in the case of Australia and New Zealand, Norway and Sweden, and the Baltic States. The same is true of ethnic conflicts. Unfortunately, many of the world’s national and ethnic conflicts are currently irreconcilable and will remain so for a long time to come.

Was Russia justified in invading Ukraine? Obviously not. Ukraine had thousands of nuclear bombs back then, as well as more than a dozen Tu-160 strategic bombers, and a large number of tactical missiles, and even an aircraft carrier, making it the third largest country in the world in terms of the number of nuclear bombs. In December 1994, the United States, Russia and Britain signed the Budapest Memorandum of Understanding with Ukraine to guarantee the country’s national security and territorial integrity. Our country also issued a statement of security guarantees to Ukraine on 4 December 1994, while France made a similar commitment. Ukraine’s national security was thus jointly guaranteed by the five permanent members of the United Nations, and on 30 October 2001, with the dismantling of the last SS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile silo on its territory, Ukraine was officially declared a non-nuclear state. By destroying its nuclear weapons at that time, Ukraine wanted to become a purely neutral country similar to Switzerland, indicating that they were positioned very peacefully and had no intention of provoking trouble. Was this idea wrong? It was, but he forgot that he was next to a country that was greedy for territory. Without a nuclear balance Ukraine is being eaten up, Crimea was annexed in ’14, Donetsk and Luhansk were recognised as independent by Russia in early ’22, and the only way to keep their territory is to go to the new boss.

It is said that “if you take a knife to someone’s door, they will beat you up”. But Russia has 3,000 nuclear bombs and an overwhelming conventional military, so it is clear who has the knife in their hands. The three Baltic states border Russia, have long since joined NATO and are about the same straight line distance to Moscow as Ukraine. Now that Ukraine has abandoned its nukes, strategic depth is a complete excuse in the absence of a nuclear missile threat. Russia fought a Ukraine that claimed to be in NATO, a reason not very different from the loss of a Japanese soldier in the Chinese city of Wanping. Putin’s pre-war speeches “Ukraine was not an independent state or nation before” and “in retrospect Ukraine is an integral part of Russia’s historical, cultural and spiritual world” were simply a desire to annex Ukraine.

My point is simply that the contradictions formed by history cannot be an excuse for the present conflict. Just because your neighbour stole a chicken from your ancestor a hundred years ago is no reason to kill his dog. Societies have evolved to the present and have to abide by the present international rules, otherwise there will be endless tossing and turning. I will not comment on the right or wrong of this, only the national interest, to the Russian state and nation caused such great harm, Putin now after the regret? It should be far more than he expected. In the end, this is Putin’s war alone. I thought it was similar to taking Crimea, and the reaction of the countries before was hardly a pit dug by the US and NATO, but Putin jumped. The United States and NATO should have been fully prepared for the invasion of Ukraine a month in advance. The surface is calm, but in fact the strategy, tactics, personnel, and even weapons and equipment to deal with the situation I guess have been quietly in place, including the sanctions program and financial harvesting program, everything is ready for you, just waiting for you to do. Of course it’s hard for Russia, and it has to be. It also shows all countries in the world that the consequences of starting a war lightly, it is easy to start a war and difficult to end it, even if you get local strategic benefits, the overall cost is unbearable. Only then can a hot war be avoided and other ways of settling disputes be sought, and there will be peace in the world.  At the same time I am firmly opposed to sanctions against civilian and civil activities in Russia. In particular, the boycott of Russia by private US companies Apple, google, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Pizza Hut, Pepsi, etc. Such sanctions, which are entirely aimed at ordinary people, are unjustified and absurd. The brigandish behavior of European and American politicians reveals the hypocrisy and shamelessness of the West to the fullest and depletes the image that has been built up over a century. It is possible to meet that there will be no hope for Russia for at least the next 20 years, but the Russian people are only living in hardship, while the Ukrainian people have lost their homes and their lives, who suffers more?

The truth is that everyone has a dream of a great nation inside them, always hoping to find a strong sense of belonging, to find pride inside, whether from history, from culture, from war, from art. But a truly strong soul comes from oneself, not from one’s ancestors; from the present, not from the past.

By Irving

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