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UKRAINE: A CRY FOR HELP


1.  ABSTRACT

THIS PAPER SHEDS LIGHT ON THE PRESSING ISSUE OF THE CONFLICT BETWEEN UKRAINE AND RUSSIA, WHICH HAS NOT ONLY IMPACTED THESE TWO COUNTRIES BUT HAS LEFT A FAR-REACHING EFFECT ON THE ENTIRE WORLD.. THE PAPER EXAMINES THE STANCES OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, UNPACKS THE CLAIMS OF BOTH NATIONS, AND PROBES THE WEST'S POTENTIAL ROLE IN THE CRISIS. FINALLY, IT ILLUMINATES INDIA'S UNIQUE POSITION AMIDST THIS GEOPOLITICAL CONUNDRUM.

 

2.    Background

Ukraine and Russia share a tangled past, dating back centuries. From empires to independence, Ukraine's westward tilt clashes with Russia's grip. After gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine sought to strengthen its ties with the West, including joining the European Union and NATO.  In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and began supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. It is important to know the history of the Ukraine-Russia conflict because it helps us to understand the motivations of the actors involved and the potential consequences of the conflict.


3.  RECENT POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS

The overthrow of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in the 2014 Revolution of Dignity was a watershed moment in the conflict. The ensuing pro-Western government in Kyiv alarmed Russia, which has since employed a range of economic and military tactics to coerce Ukraine. For example, Russia has imposed trade sanctions and amassed troops along the Ukrainian border. Russia's military build-up on the Ukrainian border has sparked fears of a major invasion. The United States and its allies have warned Russia of severe consequences, provided Ukraine with military and financial assistance, and deployed additional troops to NATO's eastern flank. Diplomatic efforts have proven fruitless. On November 7, 2023, the United States announced an additional $425 million in military aid to Ukraine, highlighting the complex and fluid nature of the conflict.


3.1 TAKE OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS ON THE ISSUE

UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned Russia's invasion as a blatant violation, yet the UN response falters. Symbolic gestures like investigations and coordinators exist, but decisive action eludes. Even the EU, their biggest donor, drags its feet, sanctions proving toothless against Putin's aggression. Ukraine burns, exposing the impotence of international bodies against powerful aggressors. The war re-emphasizes the urgent need for peace education, as enshrined in UNESCO's and Vienna's declarations, for only true understanding can build true defences against future conflicts.

 

4.  ARGUMENTS

4.1 ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF RUSSIA

Russia's actions in Ukraine stem from a web of justifications. Protecting Russian speakers, especially in the Donbas, features prominently, with accusations of Ukrainian discrimination and persecution driving the narrative. Beyond that, a historical claim echoes - Russia views Ukraine as its rightful sphere of influence, a lost piece to reclaim. Moreover, Putin craves control, fearing both democratic domino effects and potential havens for dissent. He seeks not just territory, but a puppet regime safeguarding his domestic grip, hence the tactic of salami slices, gradually tightening control to achieve full dominance. The West's perceived weakness further emboldens this course. In essence, Russia attempts to preserve its sphere of influence and tighten its internal grip, using Ukraine as the chessboard.


4.2   Arguments In Favour Of Ukraine

Ukraine has valiantly resisted Russia's invasion, demonstrating remarkable resilience and determination. The international community has supported Ukraine with military and financial assistance. Ukraine is an independent nation with the right to exist and self-determination. Russia's invasion violated Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia has a history of suppressing Ukrainian culture and identity, leading Ukrainians to fear losing their culture and language if Russia succeeded in invading. A Russian victory in Ukraine would expand its regional influence and threaten other countries. The ongoing conflict has had a devastating impact on Ukraine, displacing millions and killing thousands.

 

5.  WHY THE UKRAINE CRISIS IS THE WEST’S FAULT

The United States and its European allies bear most of the blame for the Ukraine crisis. NATO expansion, the central component of a broader plan to remove Ukraine from Russia's sphere of influence and integrate it into the West, is the root cause of the problem. The EU's eastward expansion and the West's support for Ukraine's pro-democracy movement, beginning with the 2004 Orange Revolution, were also critical factors. Russian leaders have vehemently opposed NATO expansion since the mid-1990s, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they will not allow their strategically significant neighbour to become a Western stronghold. Mearsheimer (2014) begins by tracing NATO's expansion eastward since the Cold War's end, noting that it has added ten new members, including Poland, Hungary, and the Baltic states. He argues that each expansion was seen as a threat by Russia, but that Russia's tolerance for NATO expansion reached a breaking point when Ukraine began to seek membership. His paper also discusses the concept of realism in international relations. It can be said that the West needs to change its approach to Russia, abandoning efforts to expand NATO eastward and recognizing Russia's legitimate security concerns. He warns that the West's current approach is leading to a dangerous confrontation between the two powers. Mearsheimer's paper has been controversial, with some critics arguing that he is too sympathetic to Russia. However, his paper is well-argued and provides a unique perspective on the Ukraine crisis, allowing us to critically examine the feud between these two countries.

 

6.    Effect Of The War On The Rest Of The World

The war in Ukraine has caused a major disruption to the global economy, particularly in the energy and food markets, by reducing supply and driving prices to record highs. Compared to other economic regions, the euro area has been especially vulnerable to the economic effects of the Russian invasion. Russia and Ukraine were major suppliers of foodand fertilizers to the euro area before Russia invaded Ukraine . The euro area is a very open economy, which means that it is heavily dependent on trade with other countries. This makes it more vulnerable to disruptions in global markets and supply chains. Russia's recent withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed some grain exports to resume, has further imperilled global food security. In East Africa, for example, a combination of continued drought, the blockade, and the economic fallout from the war is causing mass starvation. Millions of lives are in danger unless urgent international funding is provided


7.    Whose Side Is India On?

India has adopted a neutral stance in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, abstaining from voting on anti-Russia UN resolutions and joining Western sanctions. It continues to buy Russian oil and gas despite Western pressure. India's neutrality likely stems from its close historical ties to Russia, its reliance on Russian arms and energy, and its desire to maintain good relations with both the West and the East. India's government justifies its neutrality by arguing that it must prioritize its national security and economic interests and that dialogue and diplomacy are the best ways to resolve the conflict. However,  India's neutrality can be criticised by arguing that it is morally wrong to stay on the sidelines while Russia commits war crimes in Ukraine. At the same time, it can be argued that India's neutrality is damaging its reputation and could lead to its isolation by the West.


8.    Conclusion

Based on several findings and after doing extensive research on the History, Causes, Impact and Repercussions of the conflict between Russia And Ukraine, it can be concluded that people of all the nations need to come together to tackle such big problems and may serve a vital role in addressing the challenges of Ukraine and Russia. “I am because we are, we are because I am” which is the translation of ‘Ubuntu’, is a term coined in South Africa. A person’s actions have an impact on others and vice versa, while it also points to the notion of mutual responsibility. Addressing the quote mentioned at the beginning of the paper, “When two nations are fighting, the duty of a votary of ahimsa is to stop the war”, it symbolises Mahatma Gandhi’s faith in the power of advocating for peace and diplomacy.  One who is a follower of ahimsa (non-violence) is dutybound to stop the himsa (war). Himsa and the aftereffects of Himsa are not territorial bound, it’s a concern and threat to the entire world. Therefore the peacemaker shall also think about the Samagra (the entire world)





Author: Suryansh Singh

University ans Year: Jindal Global Law School, 3rd Year

Programme: BA LL.B

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