What the West, particularly the US and its allies, had been warning against since late January this year -invasion of Ukraine by Russia became reality early Thursday morning.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military operations in Ukraine and demanded Kyiv forces to surrender. A full-scale attack was launched, making it the biggest by one state against another in Europe since WWII. As the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) backs Ukraine, civilians and leaders across the globe are fearing that the world will descend into a World War three. Countries will then be pushed to choose sides with economies feeling the heat world over. But how did we get here?
For eight years, Russia offered the West to come on the dialogue table to pledge that Ukraine – a former state of the then Soviet Union – will never join NATO or host its missile strike systems. As the fact remained that since the USSR was dissolved NATO expanded eastwards. On the other hand, to the West’s contention, Moscow remained involved in the internal matters of former Soviet states and communist allies. But it wasn’t until earlier this month, when Putin demanded legal guarantees for the promise the US and its allies were unable to keep. However, their failure in doing so along with a flurry of diplomatic activity that did little to ease tensions saw Russian troops enter Ukraine early Thursday.
Another defining factor to what the West’s, particularly the US’, considers as a threat is the North Stream 2 pipeline project which is yet to commence between Russia and Germany. Washington believes the project will threaten its primacy in Europe. To much of its disdain, Europe’s energy is dependent on Russia with the latter providing for 35% of European gas needs. And the Gazprom – a Russian state company – and its subsidiary operate both Nord Storm 1 and 2, and own majority shares.
The cold war mentality of world leaders and the power struggle have led us to a time in history, where a threat of a war between nuclear states looms over us. The end losers as seen in previous wars will be the people, particularly those of the developing worlds. The show of power will lead to bloodshed and causalities are already being reported from Ukraine. The US and its NATO allies as well as Russia need to shed its post-imperial nostalgia as any further escalation of the conflict will have a devastating effect.