Today, the largest war in Europe since World War II has been unfolding. Once again the world has to stand against evil, against terror, against genocide. Ukrainians are the ones on the battlefield today, but in a modern globalized world, everyone already is or will be affected by this war. And if the terrorist Russian state would not be stopped now, the whole human history may take a darker path for the decades to come.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has continued to harbor significant resentment against Independent Ukraine. Vladimir Putin, along with many Russians, shares a deeply flawed narrative about Ukrainians and Russians being “one nation”, and Ukraine being an essential part of “Historical Russia”. Part of the empire they are trying to restore.
Why should you not consider Ukrainians and Russians as “one nation”?
However, Ukraine has chosen a different path over the years – an independent path of democratic development, reform and European integration. Ukraine decided to look into the future rather than be dragged back into the past.
Unwilling to comprehend or respect Ukrainian choice, Russia started its military aggression in 2014, occupied Crimea, and attacked the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. On February 24, 2022, the full-scale invasion began. Russian troops crossed Ukrainian borders to occupy more land, to suppress Ukrainian identity, to destroy independence and democracy itself.
Ukraine is giving them a fight. But the war is still going on, and its consequences are spreading far beyond the frontline.
For once, the global security system may be on the verge of change, as many diplomatic instruments has not proven effective in preventing the full-scale war. Russia is breaking international agreements as well as laws of war. And blocks every decision on the matter in the UN Security Council.
“President Putin has attacked an entire innocent country and people, with military force, to achieve his political goals. What he is really doing is challenging the world order we believe in. Where all countries, large and small, can choose their own path. He does not accept the sovereignty of other countries,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Countries in Europe, especially those close to the Russian border and history, have begun to worry about their security. The defense budgets are going up. And this trend will likely be shared around the globe: even in countries in other parts of the world, resources will be put on building defense systems rather than developing better education systems or tackling climate change. And the war brings even more threats to the environment: environmental damage in Ukraine alone, caused by the Russian invasion, is estimated at over $36 billion.
Yet another security issue arose from the 20th century – nuclear threat. Vladimir Putin is telling the world he is ready to use “use all means”, including nuclear weapons, any time things go in contrary to Russian wishes. And that is only a part of Russia’s nuclear terror. Chornobyl NPP was occupied for over a month. And now, Russia is constantly endangering other Ukrainian nuclear power plants, Zaporizhzhia NPP in particular, by shelling and mining the site. Even if Ukraine is the main target here, nuclear pollution does not care about borders.
While nuclear disaster still remains a threat, food shortage in many countries has already become a reality. The war disrupted supply chains, Ukrainian ports remained blocked for months and many Ukrainian fields are still occupied or impossible to harvest. Prior to the Russian full-scale invasion, Ukraine provided food for 400 million people worldwide. And now hundreds of thousands of them in Africa and Asia will face food shortages or even famine conditions because Russia is using food as a weapon creating a global threat.
“Smaller supplies and higher prices for food mean that the world’s poor could be forced to do without. This must not be allowed to happen,” said the WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The energy crisis is another part of the unfolding events. For years, Russia was successfully using natural resources to gain influence. And now those supplies are weaponized and turned into leverage. Energy prices are going up and everything else follows, triggering inflation and economic crisis around the world.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated that Russia’s war in Ukraine “could throw more than 1/5 of humanity into poverty, destitution & hunger on a scale not seen in decades.”
Food shortage. Energy crisis. Lack of security and nuclear threat. All because Russia started a war to pursue its imperialistic fantasy.
And to end this war, Ukraine has to fight back. For Ukrainian independence, Ukrainian people, Ukrainian language, and culture, that Russia is trying to wipe from existence. For its own future and the future of the world, as current events will become a blueprint for other countries around the globe.
The outcome of this war will determine what path human history is taking from now on. Are we back to the world, where it is possible to invade an independent country – and still have a seat on the table? Where military power is the only argument that matters? Where genocide can be committed without any substantial consequences?
“Were Russia to win this war that would be a tremendous victory for all forces that oppose democracy, for all people who are planning to use violence of one kind or another to overthrow democracies,” stated historian Timothy Snyder.
Or are we building a world, where state borders and international laws are respected? Where we favor international partnership and cooperation over armed conflicts? Where countries and nations have a right to determine their own future?
That is what Ukraine is fighting for. Ukrainian victory will be a victory of freedom, democracy, and international partnership over tyranny and terror. And the powerful message to all the people and countries: evil can’t thrive in this world, it would not escape its end or its punishment.