On the 24th of February 2022, Russian forces moved into Ukraine and headed towards Kyiv, the capital of this once part of the Soviet Empire, but now an independent state in its own right.
Many an armchair pundit would have predicted that the war would have been over in a few months. But none realised the resolve of the Ukrainian people, who have resisted for more than a year now. And the end is nowhere in sight!
There has been a gross under estimation of the leaders of this now battered nation. For one they have a President who was a comedian before he moved into politics! Volodymyr Zelenskyy has proved to be a strong leader of his people, despite the terrible cost to the country.
Estimates show that more than eight million citizens have left the country and another eight million are now internally displaced. Most went to Poland who has become a staunch supporter of Ukraine. The rest are spread across Europe and even the UK.
Ukraine also has the Klitschko brothers, two former heavyweight boxing champions of the world, who never fought each other because they promised their mother never to beat each other up.
One is now the mayor of Kyiv and the other a champion of the Ukrainian cause at international forums.
No One Wins a War
No one can verify the exact toll of soldiers killed in this war. But more than 750 civilians have been killed in Ukraine with many more unaccounted for now. Ukraine has lost more than 100,000 of its armed forces.
The Western press has named about 300,000 Russians killed, but that again has to be verified independently. Putting the Russians down is the mainstay of the Western media.
So, who is winning this war? The simple answer is “no one wins in a war”. Both sides in any war are the losers. The real winners are the armaments manufacturers. They are making tonnes of money by manufacturing the weapons of war.
Now the Leopard tanks are coming into the picture. And that too is a cost factor.
Can We Get Fighter Jets?
The Ukrainian President has been begging his Western and NATO allies for fighter jets, which he says can help him win this war. Thus far there has been a reluctance to provide the jets, although many Ukrainian pilots are undergoing training in both the United States and United Kingdom.
France too has agreed to the training needs of the embattled former Soviet satellite state.
Right now, the battle is for the strategic mining town of Bakhmut. This is the longest engagement in the whole invasion scene, more than seven months of fighting for the control of this town.
More than 75% of its population has moved away, and even NATO commanders state that it could fall at any time.
But what gains can Russia make with this victory? Already the Wagner mercenary company have been almost wiped out in this operation. They have accused the Russian Commanders of not providing them with ammunition. They have also lost many of their fighters.
All these prove that wars cannot provide winners. The spoils of war are bitter memories, loss of life, shattered towns, death and destruction are there for all to see and weep over.
More Troubles in the Horizon
Already both Turkiye and Syria have lost more than 55,000 people in two devastating earthquakes. There is enough turmoil and death in the Middle East. The fear is that more trouble spots will crop up in various countries.
The leader of North Korea is gearing up for a real nuclear war. China is making moves into Taiwan and other parts of the South China Sea.
Philippine officials have complained bitterly about China’s actions in the region. Regular incursions have been made into disputed islands and strategic locations. China imposes its own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but does not respect that of the Philippines. Their officials claim that China follows the principle of “What Is Mine, Is Mine”. But “What is Yours, We Share!” These are dangerous times for all of us. Let us hope that level headedness prevails at all times and we are never plunged into a global conflict.
G S Kumar
G S Kumar is a veteran journalist and broadcaster. He actually began his journalistic career with the Asian Defence Journal (ADJ) back in 1974 as an Assistant Editor. He returned to broadcasting and spent the next 17 years on both sides of the Causeway before ending his stint as an Executive Producer with Current Affairs in Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Then from 1988 till now he has served with The Straits Times (Singapore), SingTel Yellow Pages and even with The Malaysian Reserve. He is keen on news and current affairs and the “plight of mankind” in an ever changing world.