Russia-Ukraine War: Who will Win at What Cost?

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Munir Ahmed

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged Western countries to be ready to offer long-term military, political and economic support to Kyiv during a grinding war

Today is the 120th day of the Russia-Ukraine war. Both countries have lost the lives of thousands, and the damaged millions of dollars to their infrastructure. The economy of both countries has crippled down. The countries dependent on the exports of the staple and cereal foods, and edible oils are suffering from a shortage of food. Inflation is at a record high. Weapons of billions of dollars have consumed the peace and stability of the world. The extreme global recession is in the offing. The US is enjoying the interest rate on the dollar.
Billions of people are suffering except those who are supplying the military shipments amounting to billions of US dollars and food aid to the war-hit Ukraine. The ultimate result: the economic slavery of Ukraine.
The US and NATO military aid is no free lunch. Ukraine has to pay it back with interest. On several occasions, the Ukrainian government agreed to negotiations with Russia but sabotaged. Who? The suppliers of the heavy military shipments to Ukraine. The war had been concluded many weeks back on negotiations between the fighting countries. Then, the US and NATO have been the losers. Ukraine would not have gone under heavy debt. More chances were to revive both economies in less time. Much less damage to infrastructure and quite fewer casualties on both sides. How could it be acceptable to the warmongers and weapon merchants?
Still, they are up to fuel the war for years. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged Western countries a day before yesterday (Monday, June 20) to be ready to offer long-term military, political and economic support to Kyiv during a grinding war. “We must be prepared for this to last for years,” Stoltenberg told the German daily newspaper Bild. “We must not weaken our support of Ukraine, even if the costs are high – not only in terms of military support but also because of rising energy and food prices.”
The US, Western or Asian – every single media outlet is hiding the Russian successes in the war. Certainly for obvious reasons to demoralise Russians and their well-wishers. Blowing up the allegations of war crimes, and so on. Seems that all Western propaganda could not serve against Russia. Ukraine has evidently lost many parts of their land to Russia. It’s a new reality for the West but embarrassing that they could not stop it. It is the failure of Western hopes, which used to say that “Russia will get tired,” “Russia will be scared,” “Putin will be overthrown” and even “Putin will be killed by his own people.” If the war ends now, Ukraine will have to at least give up some parts of its territory to Russia. And, the world has to agree on it. Perhaps, that is why Stoltenberg speaks out of proportion “to fight for years.”They must accept their failures, and stop fueling the war.
The estimates are horrifying that Ukraine has lost up to 600 billion USD because of the war while over 195 factories have been disabled. Half of the Ukrainian enterprises have closed. The rest are not working at full capacity. The country’s economy, according to World Bank estimates, will shrink by about 45 per cent. Restoring the country’s industrial capacity to pre-war levels will require a lot of money. Will the US and NATO really continue to finance the military actions of Ukraine? Will they support the Ukrainian looming inflation and domestic troubles for “years”? Seems impossible for them – the US, NATO and EU.
In the present scenario, both Russia and Ukraine might think that a peace agreement providing for territorial concessions may seem terrible to Ukraine, but it can stimulate a return to diplomacy and help avoid further financial and human losses. It could be the last sour option. Ukraine would opt to, when its 82 per cent population is said to be against it. But, sometimes unpopular decisions have to be taken for the larger good.
“The question is not whether peace is possible, but what price are you willing to pay for it? How much territory to give away? How much independence to give up? From what part of the sovereignty? From what part of freedom? What part of democracy are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of peace,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. He believes this is a very difficult moral dilemma. And those who pay the highest price should decide. And, they are Ukrainians. Be sure. Fighting countries never won but the ones who supply heavy military shipments. The rest are all losers. Loss is as much as long the war is. Curtail the war.