Ukraine's 'Bloody War' is Not a 'Quick Fix'

Published March 4th, 2022 - 07:48 GMT
Burning the house down!
A burning building is pictured after the shelling is said by Russian forces in Ukraine's second-biggest city of Kharkiv, on March 3, 2022. (Sergey Bobok/AFP)

When Vladimir Putin ordered the military invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces he thought it would be a short and quick adventure before things were put right according to his own thinking.

Yet this has become far from the truth. At the end of the first seven days and into the second week things look bloody, chaotic, intense and destructive. There is a sense of gloom about what the Russian President euphemistically called a military operation rather than a fully-fledged war despite the missiles, tanks, jet fighters, soldiers and bombs used to drop on the civilians of another country and people previously seen as ‘comrade-in-arms’.

What could Putin have been mulling over in his mind? How could he and the Russian bureaucracy of ministers and officials been thinking when they launched such an adventure into another country, another domain or geographically regardless of its locations? Putin, a cool, calculating man who likes to stand aloof and think hard about the ‘chess board’ and the unveiling strategies, may have chewed much more than he bargained for or is that so?

To go into another country and start bombing right, left and center and with all might and ammunition in the north, south, east and west part of the country is really not a strategy to achieve end results nor objectives. The sheer destruction of the first seven weeks, the targeted attacks - and that doesn’t include military installations and infrastructure - but civilian flats and buildings, hospitals and universities speaks volumes about a notch army tagged with ‘principles’.

Loss figures are larger than words. In just seven days 2000 civilians were reported killed by the Ukraine authorities. Plus, the war immediately displaced a million people in the country triggering a mass exodus into the neighboring of countries of Poland, Hungry, Moldova and Romania with numbering spiralling daily. It is termed as the biggest human exodus in terms of the short number of days.

But statistics are set to spiral if no solution is found. In this war, Russia has appeared to be adopting a broad military strategy. Through the air and via missiles and tanks, they are attacking different towns, cities, ports and airports in the Ukraine were fighting has become deadly. 

Odessa on the Black Sea, port of Kherson, Mariupol, Chernihiv, Kharkiv - Ukraine's second largest city after Kiev have all become under attack. While, at first some of these were considered as "easy" targets, the resistance have been stiff and unexpected. Russian troops initially said they held Karkiv after heavy fighting but it kept changing hands because of the fluidity of the military situation where there is still heavy fighting. However, reports suggest Kherson was the first port city to fall to the Russians.

Take Kiev for instance. In the first day of the war many predicted - as relayed through the news - the city of three million would fall within hours. However, now into the second weeks, the city has not been taken. Although, it has taken a battering  with missiles striking different building including its radio and television center the sirens frequently going off, the stiff resistance continues.

Russian soldiers have not been able to enter the city although they were talks about pro-Russian individual fighters some of whom turned out to be Chechens. The 65-Russian-convoy that is supposedly moving towards Kiev is still stuck somewhere on the outskirts of the city with western intelligence sources saying its still around 25 kilometers outside the city. The news of the convoy suggest it is barely moving because of either logistical problems, ie lack of fuel and food as well as the resistance. 

Everyone waits. But morale in the city seems to be higher with everyone waiting. That goes right from the Ukraine president Volodymye Zelensky -who earlier in the war sent out desperate appeals about his life being in danger - to the men, women and children of Kiev who quickly made the city's underground system their home and a place to stay away from the bombings and strikes. 

One cynical aspects being made in the media and that is the present Kiev underground was built during the Soviet era in a bunkers-like fashion to withstand inter-continental ballistic nuclear attacks on the country. That didn't happen with the end of the Cold War but may be it is happening now. One report suggests the Kiev central station was recently hit by a missile. Yesterday's friends have become today's enemies. 

Much mayhem has happened in this war. Until recently the Russians kept a tight lip on how many of there soldiers were killed. Virtually no word. However, on the 8th day of military operations to use a slick, cold term, about 500 Russian soldiers were killed. This is the number of deaths the Russian generals would admit to and acknowledged the fact the 1500 had been injured.

They were forced to give out this figure because a day or two earlier President Zelensky said that a massive 6000 Russian soldiers were killed at the hands of the Ukraine forces. This figure was later revised to 9000 and judging from the course of the war this figure will continue to spiral.

With such horrendous figures and logistical problems so early in the war it may suggest that Russian president Putin may relent, stop the war and sit at the negotiating table. The war may not be a ''quick fix". Emmanuel Macron earlier suggested that the conflict may drag on for sometime while and British Prime Boris Johnson is giving out the same vibes. 

As the war unravels however, and the state of destruction becomes more glaring the pressure on Putin will increase. He has already agreed for Russian and Ukrainian delegates to meet in Belarus. This is their second meeting in eight days although the delegates from Kiev continue to be pessimistic that Russia will not cease the bombardment. 

This "talking option" will likely to continue because Russia is being subjected to external pressure from Europe and the United States. Already the screws are being tightened on their flights with many countries refusing to given clearance to fly in their air zones. Also, Russia is being squeezed in terms of financial transactions with the withdrawing of the global SWIFT transactions for Russian banks. These will be effective to some degree but will take time to filter through.  

However, and for the time being escalation is set to continue, and becoming more dangerous in the light of the fact that Russian forces have just directly hit the area of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power trigging a mass fire which the Ukraine military have just put out. But the consequences can be far-reaching considering the issue of nuclear weapons and the fact that the Russians are now in control of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, a move they managed to do in the first days of the conflict.

Russia is still moving on with this war regardless of calls from the world community to stop. It will not until its demands are met and it has demands that will probably be fought.

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