Morally, psychologically, Ukraine has won the war against Russia. But, physically, I do not have a clear opinion on how it will be Mečys Laurinkus writes in lrytas.lt.
The moral victory is based on resistance – Crimea was occupied by the “little green men” walking around and the disruption of the Ukrainian troops, of which there were twenty thousand at the time.
Eight years have passed. We have seen battles with the ‘sepi’ (as the separatists are now called), and we have seen the long-term reform of the Ukrainian army. Heaven and earth compared with the initial clashes with the Russian-backed sepi. But will this lead Ukraine to its desired destination?
President Volodymyr Zelensky, leading the Ukrainian resistance from outside the Maldives, has been thanked by parliaments in various countries, and not only them, while at the same time expressing (often in between the lines) reproaches for the lack of military support. But unfortunately, there are no requests for humanitarian aid.
The reproaches of the current Ukrainian leaders to the West cause me, as a Lithuanian and EU citizen, to have mixed feelings.
If Ukraine is now able to oppose Russia, it is only because of the West’s specific help. Likewise, the reform of Ukraine’s army, which its own actors have robbed, has been carried out with specific help from the West. And without that help, and now in the midst of a military invasion by Russia, Ukraine would not be able to negotiate the ceasefire texts.
In war, the West’s aid to Ukraine is substantial and is already changing the future architecture of global security. But is it enough? Will it ensure Ukraine’s final physical victory over Russia, which caused the war?
The answer lacks concrete technical information. Ukraine is currently fighting an enemy with weapons that are not of its own manufacture, with imported weapons. Even for non-military people, the natural question is whether it is modern or obsolete. The drones, which Ukraine does not manufacture, are modern, although they can also be shot down. The other armaments provided require specialist evaluation.
It sometimes seems, perhaps wrongly, that the former Warsaw Bloc countries are emptying their warehouses of old armaments. But, to put it more nastily, perhaps it is not aid that is being provided but the disposal of old weapons.
Russia, too, is emptying its arms depots. This was particularly evident at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. I read in the Spanish media the words of a Ukrainian officer quoted: “Russian military equipment is rubbish, but there is a lot of rubbish.” By the way, the same thing happened with Russia’s aid to the Syrian dictator.
Of course, the theatre of war is also a testing ground for new weapons. A Kremlin propaganda television programme featured a Russian military expert who spoke openly about this, regretting that the effective weapons already tested in Ukraine still cannot be mass-produced.
From such hard-to-verify information, it seems that the Russian invasion army is about to “dig in” in the Donbas.
Vladimir Putin reiterated this at a Russian spaceport, with his vassal, Alexander Lukashenko, by his side. The latter’s reply to a journalist who asked whether Belarus was not planning to become part of Russia (legally – Author) was peculiarly interesting: “Putin and I are not stupid enough to work with the old methods.”
But is the occupation of Crimea and the plan to cut off a third of its territory from Ukraine a new method?
The Russian proxy leader of South Ossetia has already expressed his intention to ‘ask the people’ in a referendum whether they want to become part of Russia. Sooner or later, the procession of ‘accessions’ will move on, and it is not inconceivable that we will see the results of the ‘referendums’, which we know in advance, as early as this year.
Although the war and its consequences for Russia itself have so far calmed all but a small part of Russian society, the Kremlin and its leader are uncertain about the future. So the reason for the invasion has to be explained willy-nilly. Russian propaganda is doing just that around the clock.
It explains that Ukraine, supported by the West, was massing troops near the Donbas and was only looking for the right time to take back the territories controlled by the ‘Sepi’ by force while also throwing the hostilities into Russia.
According to its propagandists, Russia is merely turning a blind eye to these events.
Naturally, the narrative about the reasons for the war is not aimed at the West but at its own population, as is the call to mobilise against the West’s supposedly long-cherished plan to destroy Russia as a state. And what are ordinary people who see and hear nothing else to do? Those who are dissatisfied but do not want to face the siloviki?
To leave as a stepchild, and for those who accept that their children may return from Ukraine in coffins, just to shake their heads – this is the West, this is America? And what to do, how to behave, when you leave?
I met a Ukrainian family at a Portuguese seaport who have lived in this country for 20 years. The woman selling tickets for the pleasure boats, guessing that English was not my first language, cautiously asked where I was from and whether I understood Russian. I confirmed that I did.
The woman complained that those working in tourism here now had to be more careful with Russian.
The Polish tourists refused to buy tickets when they heard Russian at the table, but they relented when they found out we were Ukrainians.
I told the ticket seller that the language was not to blame and that some people who spoke it were nasty. The woman just waved her hand.
An iron wall will go up in front of Russia. On the Western side. How much of it will be from the East is difficult to say.
The wall will affect Russian politics, economy, culture, customs, and people’s everyday life.
And even if the current Kremlin regime suddenly burns to a crisp, the black shadow will hang over the heads of those who did not resist in time.