By Dr Masimba Mavaza | President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told Ukrainian troops “you are all we have” as he accused European countries of an insufficient reaction to the Russian invasion.
The Russian invasion will upend the lives of 44 million Ukrainians. But the relevance of Ukraine, on the edge of Europe and thousands of miles from the United States, extends far beyond its borders. Its fate has huge implications for the rest of Europe, the health of the global economy and America’s place in the world.
The problems in Ukraine came to naught in February 2014, after a decade of increasingly destabilizing political confrontations, Ukrainian nationalists ousted the Russian-supported Ukrainian government in what became known as the Maidan Revolution. Russian annexation of Crimea and covert support for “Ukrainian Russian Separatists” in the Eastern Oblasts of Ukraine soon followed. Nine months later, the Russian military intervened overtly in support of the Ukrainian Separatist forces.
The conflict has settled into a large, complex example of Hybrid (or Russian New Generation) warfare in a context reminiscent of static military operations during World War One.
We must then be alive to the lessons emerging from Ukraine which has been strong from the conflict’s beginning. While some of these efforts are wide ranging, they can generally be clustered in two categories: geo-political and tactical/technical. If, as some have argued, the conflict in Ukraine represents a 21st-century version of the Boer War or the Spanish Civil War—where emerging military technologies and concepts were employed in a nascent form but pointed the way toward a disruptive future—then much more needs to be done to develop lessons in the broad middle.
Before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia NATO led by America made outrageous promises to Ukraine and its people. America promised undying love and that they will pour in Ukraine like the Tsunami to support and help the people of Ukraine against Russia.
Learning lessons from these kinds of conflicts requires an integrated approach. Direct lessons applicable to current capabilities are often obscured by the particular economic, political, and social characteristics of the participants. Recent efforts by the Military Services (particularly the US Army) to collect lessons in Ukraine are notable but generally narrow in both subject and application.
Projecting these lessons into the future and more importantly, into conflicts of a different character from the one being examined, requires a different approach.
Ukraine has learnt it the hard way. After being urged on at the end of the day there was no Europe to help no America only Russia. This prompted the president of Ukraine to say to his army “you are all that we have.”
Many African opposition parties live in a dream. They are promised help once they remove their governments. Zimbabwe opposition parties have been pure puppets of the West but the West are not to be trusted if you do not believe look at Ukraine now. This is a great lesson for Chamisa and other opposition members. The money which Chamisa is boasting about is in the hands of the Western sponsors. As a people Zimbabweans must learn from the situation in Ukraine. Do not trust those who just promised you. You only have one country take a good care of it.
Why might Russia, the United States and Europe care so much about Ukraine? It felt in recent weeks like a scene from the Cold War, a perilous episode from a bygone era. An unpredictable Russian leader was amassing troops and tanks on a neighbor’s border. There was fear of a bloody East-West conflagration. Ukraine was urged on by the West but was the West there to the end. Then the Cold War turned hot: Vladimir Putin has sent his forces over the border into Ukraine, with repercussions that were immediate and far-reaching.In the days ahead of the invasion, even as Russian forces reached an estimated strength of 190,000 and they formed a pincer around Ukrainian territory, and even as the United States warned in increasingly dire tones that a military strike appeared inevitable, there was hope. Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, kept up his message of optimism. Mr. Putin was claiming that he was open to diplomacy, and European leaders were working desperately to persuade the Kremlin to stand down.
Ukraine took comfort from the promises of the West. Then just before 6 a.m. Thursday, the Russian president, addressing his nation, declared the start of a “special military operation” in Ukraine. The goal, he said, was to “demilitarize” but not occupy the country.Mere minutes later, large explosions were visible near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and blasts were reported in Kyiv, the capital, as well as other parts of the country. And soon, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry reported that Russian troops had landed in Odessa and were crossing the border.
The invasion threatens to destabilize the already volatile post-Soviet region, with serious consequences for the security structure that has governed Europe since the 1990s.
President Putin has long lamented the loss of Ukraine and other republics when the Soviet Union broke apart, but diminishing NATO, the military alliance that helped keep the Soviets in check, may be his real mission.Before invading, Russia made a list of far-reaching demands to reshape that structure — positions NATO and the United States rejected.After the Soviet Union collapsed, NATO expanded eastward, eventually taking in most of the European nations that had been in the Communist sphere.
The Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, once parts of the Soviet Union, joined NATO, as did Poland, Romania and others.As a result, NATO moved hundreds of miles closer to Moscow, directly bordering Russia. And in 2008, it stated that it planned — some day — to enroll Ukraine, though that is still seen as a far-off prospect.Mr. Putin has described the Soviet disintegration as a catastrophe that robbed Russia of its rightful place among the world’s great powers and put it at the mercy of a predatory West. He has spent his 22 years in power rebuilding Russia’s military and reasserting its geopolitical clout.
The Russian president calls NATO’s expansion menacing, and the prospect of Ukraine joining it a major threat to his country. As Russia has grown more assertive and stronger militarily, his complaints about NATO have grown more strident. He has repeatedly invoked the specter of American ballistic missiles and combat forces in Ukraine, though U.S., Ukrainian and NATO officials insist there are none.
Mr. Putin has also insisted that Ukraine and Belarus are fundamentally parts of Russia, culturally and historically. He holds considerable sway over Belarus, and talks about some form of reunification with Russia have gone on for years.But East-West relations worsened drastically in early 2014, when mass protests in Ukraine forced out a president closely allied with Mr. Putin. Russia swiftly invaded and annexed Crimea, part of Ukraine. Moscow also fomented a separatist rebellion that took control of part of the Donbas region of Ukraine, in a war that still grinds on, having killed more than 13,000 people.
The West insisted that President Putin appears intent on winding back the clock more than 30 years, establishing a broad, Russian-dominated security zone resembling the power Moscow wielded in Soviet days. Now 69 years old and possibly edging toward the twilight of his political career, he clearly wants to draw Ukraine, a nation of 44 million people, back into Russia’s orbit.
The problem of having a nation stronger than the other creates bullies. Russia is not the only Bully here. America has attacked many countries at will and deposed several governments according them “in the interest of America.” So is Russia not allowed to act to protect their interest.
Ukraine under American influence is a security threat to Russia and a preemptive action is in the best interest of Russia.
Russia presented NATO and the United States in December with a set of written demands that it said were needed to ensure its security. Foremost among them are a guarantee that Ukraine would never join NATO, that NATO draw down its forces in the Eastern European countries that have already joined, and that the 2015 cease-fire in Ukraine be implemented — though Moscow and Kyiv disagree sharply on what that would mean.
The West dismissed the main demands out of hand, while making overtures on other concerns, and threatening sanctions. Moscow’s aggressive posture has also inflamed Ukrainian nationalism, with citizen militias preparing for a drawn-out guerrilla campaign in the event of a Russian occupation.Mr. Putin’s timing could also be related to the transition from President Donald J. Trump, who was notably friendly to him and disparaging of NATO, to President Biden, who is committed to the alliance and distrustful of the Kremlin.He may also want to energize nationalists at home by focusing on an external threat, as he has in the past.
As the war continues with Ukraine about to capitulate the West is in closed doors offering lip service.
The best lesson for all is do not trust foreign leaders to help in your domestic issues. The faster Chamisa realises this the better.
This idea of putting your trust in foreign countries only destroys your country.
Looking at Ukraine now it is the people of Ukraine who are paying with their blood. We only have one country let us love it.