Editor's Note: Times of India, Pune, editorial piece dated 24 Feb 2023 published on the above subject gave two polar opposite views on who is to blame the most and how to end this one-year-old Russia-Ukraine War. MVI circulated this piece amongst its military veterans and sought responses.
The responses need to convey more about the subject and its related issues. Still, if seen collectively, all responses would give a reasonably good overview of this war that has drawn world attention and deep concern about its direction and the grim possibility of a third world war!
Colonel Rajinder Kushwaha
There are three ways to end this war:—
An external force is applied to subdue one of the belligerents. But it is unlikely to bring peace. It will be something like Versailles Treaty after WW-1 — when Germany was forced to surrender or the end of WW-2 - when Germany was divided and led to the Cold war.
This option is for the two belligerents to reach a mutual understanding, which ensures a WIN-WIN situation for both. However, this is impossible because of the vested interests of “Outsiders”. The USA will not allow Ukraine to compromise.
There is a remote possibility of one of the two sides' leaders being removed from the scene. This could be because of health reasons or internal rebellion, or even an outside conspiracy.
However, for the time being, it was a stalemated war, and it would continue to be so when any of the above three conditions were fulfilled.
Please remember wars are never time-bound. The Duration depends upon the objective of war for either side.
In the instant case, Putin wants a commitment from Ukraine and USA that Ukraine would not join NATO. Putin does it because of the NATO threat coming closer to his borders. But Zelensky needs to prepare to do so because of the same security reasons.
Ultimately the war will end when one side blinks. Till it happens, it will continue. Fire - Fighting solutions would not yield permanent dividends.
Lieutenant Colonel Manoj K Channan
In my view, it’s a self-destruction of the US and NATO; their economy is under stress. Russia remains unaffected despite the sanctions.
The US has fomented serious trouble in the region. Their objective is the total destruction of Russia --- Ukraine is a convenient pawn.
Major General Rana Goswani
A straightforward statement, but the truth nevertheless is to ensure that they (the US) remain the only super power in a unipolar world. However much as they may try, it twon’t happen that way! The way Biden is going, if they continue, the world is headed towards a nuclear catastrophe, from where there will be no victors and no vanquished and may not be even any survivors. It is utter madness. How and why the European Union is still supporting him (Biden), knowing the dire consequences, is unknown and difficult to understand.
Who’s to blame - The USA and NATO. How to end the war - The USA and NATO-backed off and announced that they won’t take Ukraine into NATO. Should’ve said this more than a year before. Small price to save this world from annihilation. No other way out.
Gp Capt. Johnson Chacko
If you look for who is to blame, then forget about ending the war.
A nation that succeeds in achieving it's aim wins the war. In these special operations, the Russian objectives are very clear:
De - Nazification and De - Militarisation of Ukraine. I think they have achieved both ,some remanants in Khersin.
The Azov bn founded on Nazi ideology was tormenting people of Russian origin in eastern Ukraine. Azov bn has been decimated and areas where Russians lived have been annexed by Russia through a referendum.
Ukrainian military has been cut to size. Infrastructure, especially of energy has been destroyed. The remnants can only survive with doles from the West.
Sevastopol is the only warm water port that Russia has and they will not give up the Cremian peninsula because of that.
With the crumbling of Warsaw pact, NATO lost a reason to exist. A reason to exist has been invented with Russia being painted as enemy #1.
Soviet Union has been transformed into a democracy. The guidance to this was provided by the West. If there are flaws, it was because of the West.
In 1993, two Russian DAs met me in a foreign country. Met them after I kept our intelligence agencies in confidence. In addition to professional matters, they wanted to know how India manages both private and public sector at the same time? Had to start with the basics. For PSUs the govt places the order at a price decoded by the govt. They don't have a marketing arm to sell their products earn revenue and generate profits. In the private sector everything is of the company. Asked them how they decided the cost of a MiG 21, when all components are made by PSUs? Wage structure depends on how many children one has to feed and not on the intellectual prowess of the designer or manufacturer. They understood a lesson in valuation.
Next we hear about Russian oligarchs. Cronies who got public sector assets at a throwaway price and who accumulated a lot of wealth selling products at comparable world prices! The unsaid condition was that they support the man who facilitated it. They did not abide by it, so Russia is not fighting to get their confiscated assets released.
Americans are focused on wealth creation. Arms industry is the biggest money spinner. Gun lobby is very strong. They don't mind their children being shot by deranged youth, but will not give up their freedom to own a gun so that the gun industry thrives. Lopsided morality.
They look for wars that will increase the demand for American weapons.
If the world wants to hold someone accountable to the loss of lives, it is the West. They cannot impose their brand of democracy in every part of the world.
People will get the type of governance that they want. If it is forced on them by regime change, it will cause misery. Iraq, Libya, Syria are examples. Arab spring changed many regimes from within. They are doing better.
To stop the war, address Russia's insecurity. If majority of people in eastern Ukraine need autonomy, it should be granted. If the current ground position line is not respected and Ukraine aided by western weapons attacks Russia it will defend itself using nuclear weapons which would surely lead to a catastrophe!
Colonel Rajinder Kushwaha
Sense of insecurity of individuals, organisations, communities and even nations often leads them to irrational acts — sometimes irrationality transcends diabolic limits. Russo-Ukraine war is the direct product of this.
War in Ukraine is the cause of insecurity for all participants — from Russia to Ukraine to Europe to the USA. In fact, the US is more insecure than the fighting nations.
Wars today have become a Chess game where extensive use of pawns is made. Ukraine is no more than a US pawn, as was Pakistan in the war in Afghanistan. Even the use of Pakistan by China against India is no more than an attentive and captive “pawn”.
In the same vein, I have no hesitation in saying that the USA was looking at India as its Pawn for war on China. India ought to play its cards well.
Brig. Pradeep Sharma
The war in Ukraine is rooted in political and economic drivers and individual perceptions/aspirations. It surprisingly ignores human suffering! Zelensky will long be remembered for his rise from a comedian to a leader with guts and spine who could motivate citizens in such a crisis, leading to large-scale deaths.
Europe will pay for economic losses, and Americans will likely shut out war-mongering industrialists, possibly getting a new president? The American policy of using Proxies is under scrutiny; so far, India has managed a tightrope walk between USA, China and Russia.
From indicators, everyone wants the war to end, especially because of the humanitarian and economic angles. The Americans gambled on Sanctions which don’t seem to work in an interdependent, globalised environment, adding to this Russian preparations to mitigate such moves by America.
The war will likely end with the possible change of regime in America and active influence by India and China.
The more significant ramifications being of the likelihood of a new world order? The reduced economic influence of Europe and America, the emergence of India as a country with greater economic value and perhaps a nebulous beginning of improved relations with China through Russian influence? No amount of crystal gazing can accurately predict when and how it will end, but someone has to blink!
Brigadier Sanjay Sangwan
Post disintegration of the Soviet Union and the unravelling the Warsaw Pact, it was agreed that NATO would not expand Eastwards. Still, the US has been attempting to take NATO’sNATO’s right to the Russian border. Russia raised the issue a few times but was ignored every time. Recently, the US has been gradually losing its superpower status to a multipolar world and seeing a shift of power from the US-Atlantic-Europe to the Asia-Pacific region led by China and Russia. The US was fine cooperating with China as long as US interests were upheld.
The Covid strain and financial support were initially researched in the US lab before being transferred to Wuhan. It probably was part of a larger/ contingency plan. It was unleashed from Wuhan (intentionally or accidentally), but unfortunately, it unleashed more significant damage onto US and Europe than the rest of the world.
Despite repeated requests and caution by Russia, US attempts at including Ukraine in NATO continued. This compelled Russia to safeguard its interests and launch a military operation hoping for an early capitulation, but that did not happen. The USA wanted to safeguard its secret labs, research work and physical presence on the Russian border, extending support to Ukraine and encouraging it to fight and win. On the other hand, the Ukraine war seems to have created a new situation wherein the US saw an opportunity to defeat Russia and extend its dominance further.
China, too, sees an opportunity to see its competitors embroiled and declining. It probably sees its ambition of the Middle Kingdom manifesting and of capturing Taiwan while the US is distracted there. To achieve its aim, the US was operating from its strength of military industrial complex and pushed $ 50 Billion worth of hardware. That strengthened Ukraine but not enough to defeat Russia. Amidst talk of more arms from NATO, the US allegedly decided to use its other strength of Energy control and targeted the Nordstream pipeline.
After a complex and expensive winter for Europe, fatigue seems to be set in Ukraine, Russia, and NATO. Though both sides talk of a spring offensive, a peace option seems lucrative. India, as G20 President, can play an active role in this, and the world, too, seems to be veering towards the expressed Indian view that this era is not of war.
Lt Col. Yeshwant Umralkar (Who has spent several years in USSR/Russia)
Russia launched the Special Military Operation in Ukraine a year ago with two objectives, 1) to demilitarise Ukraine and 2) to denazify Ukraine, thereby nullifying the threat to the national security of Russia emanating from Ukraine. Why do these two aims?
De-Nazification, because a section in the Ukrainian population has always eulogised a character called Bandera. He was a Nazi collaborator during the Nazi occupation of Ukraine as Germany marched to defeat the USSR. He was responsible for the killing of 150000 Jews. During Ukraine’s recent history, a Nazi-like anti-Russia movement took birth and infiltrated the echelons of Ukraine’s government. It was instrumental in xenophobia against Russian-speaking Ukrainians, particularly in the Donbas area in the East. About 15000 Russian-speaking Ukrainians have been killed since 2014 in military excesses.
By defeating Ukraine, Putin aimed to uproot this Neo-Nazi movement.
Has this aim been met? Not so far. If anything, these neonazi elements have become more deeply entrenched in the administration and are influencing government policies. They have even been trained by the Americans and British.
As for the demilitarisation of Ukraine, in the initial weeks of the operation. The Russians destroyed the entire military infrastructure of Ukraine, its communication centres, airbases, ammunition and arms depots, fuel dumps, tank factories, and anti-aircraft capability.
The Ukrainians are fighting on borrowed arms and ammunition. Ukraine does not have a military logistical infrastructure to support a military operation. The day the US tells Zelensky to surrender, that day the war will end. Currently, 20-25% of Ukraine’s territory is under Russian occupation, and 25% of Ukrainians have fled as refugees. There is no industrial production; its export of food grain is at the mercy of the Russians.
So, to a large extent, Putin has achieved the aim of demilitarisation of Ukraine.
Russia is sitting pretty. By telling the West at the beginning of the war that he had the finger on the nuclear button if anybody dared to interfere, he ensured that no NATO boots would be on the ground. He is not following the scorched earth policy because there are too many Russian-speaking Ukrainians. He did not want to hurt them, so his army had to tread carefully as it occupied more territory.
(All views expressed are the respondents own and do not relect the editorial stance or views of Mission Victory India)