Ukraine – one Year on

On Friday (24Feb), the world marked the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been a devastating genocidal war aimed at destroying Ukrainian nationhood and culture. Over the past year, tens of thousands of Ukrainians, including countless innocent civilians, have died, while millions more have been displaced as refugees. Entire towns and cities have been reduced to rubble, and vital infrastructure has been destroyed.

Vladimir Putin’s actions have shattered the post-war global order, unleashing inflation worldwide and leading to food shortages in developing countries. While Putin’s hope was that his “special military operation” would last only a few days, it has instead led to unprecedented sanctions and a significant reduction in Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas. The West has responded to this crisis with unity, and NATO has even expanded with the potential addition of Finland and Sweden.

However, there is still much work to be done to defeat the invaders and ensure that Ukraine regains control of its territory. The Ukrainian armed forces have achieved remarkable success, liberating one-fifth of the captured territory, but the invaders still occupy 20% of the country. If Ukraine is to win the upcoming spring offensives, Western allies must urgently provide the necessary weapons and ammunition, including long-range missiles and fighter jets.

It is critical that the West acts swiftly to support Ukraine and defeat Russia, sending a clear signal to other autocrats that changing borders by force is not acceptable. There is a real risk that the world will change in ways detrimental to Western interests if the war continues. For instance, China’s potential decision to supply weapons to Russia would mark a significant escalation, raising the risk of a wider world war.

The war will only end with a negotiated settlement, but there is currently no possible basis for such a negotiation until Russia acknowledges the catastrophic failure of its attempt to destroy Ukrainian sovereignty and annex its territory. Therefore, the West must continue to provide immediate and decisive support to Ukraine, or the consequences could be dire.

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