The Ukraine Situation these Days

Ukraine is going through abysmal times these days. It is facing a horrific crisis which it did not expect nor did it plan for.

On February 24, Vladimir Putin attacked Ukraine, demolishing the infrastructure of many of its cities and civilian areas, thus creating havoc throughout the country. Many Ukrainian women and children have had to take refuge in other, mostly neighbouring, countries. Ukrainian soldiers and men have stayed behind to defend their country.

According to CBN, “the Ukraine-Russia war was a predictable incident. This is a situation which has existed before.”

From the time Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, pro-Russian separatists proclaimed two republics in the eastern part of the country much to the Ukrainian government’s consternation: the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.

Since then, there have been ongoing skirmishes and fighting in the region, known as the Donbas, between Ukrainian troops and separatists.

According to a new global survey, Ukraine’s current population stands at about 43.3 million people. But a number of issues have contributed to a shrinking population in this country, such as a rise in emigration since the 1990s, low birth rates and high death rates.

Before the war, Ukrainians moved to other countries for financial reasons as this is the second poorest country in Europe. Its population is decreasing every day and it is now facing a 0.59% population reduction. Even the United Nations estimates that Ukraine could lose nearly one-fifth of its population by 2050.

From 24 February to 8 March 2022, a total of 2,155,271 refugees have fled the country according to UNHCR. Almost 100,000 more have moved to the Russian Federation from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions between February 18 and February 23.

From March 8, a great number of refugees (about 1.3 million) have gone to Poland. Some of the refugees have moved to other places such as Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, and Russia. Still other Ukrainian refugees have left for other European countries further afield.

On March 8, the UN OCHA stated that, “after the third round of talks between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, both sides have agreed on ‘safe passage’ for the evacuation of civilians and uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid in the northeastern city of Sumy.”

An unprecedented number of one million Ukrainians left the country during the first seven days of the crisis. The number of refugees is increasing by the day and predictions show that Ukraine must expect more people to leave.

This is anticipated to be one of the worse refugee crises in the world. This level of forced displacements highly impacts the population in the countries the refugees move to and is an important matter in the Covid-19 crisis.

Russia’s Invasion of Syria

Russia’s invasion of Syria happened prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s incursion on Ukraine is the second war initiated by him following the Syrian crisis. Russia’s involvement in Syria, however, has been more conservative than its entrance into Ukraine.

Russia sent its tanks to Kyiv in a short few days, starting an unpredictable war. No one expected this incident, but Putin’s actions demonstrated that he had been planning the attack for a long time. It shows that he wanted to gain a great advantage over the West in this pre-planned strike.

He started this atrocious challenge with the EU and the UK by thinking it would be over soon.

Anton Mardasov, a non-resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute, stated that “in Syria and Ukraine, Russia was preparing for an invasion long before the official announcement of its beginning.”

He added that in Syria, many Russian military experts knew about the upcoming operation several months before it began, as the rest of the world “started talking about it rather late.”

As in the case of Ukraine, Russia invaded Syria cautiously. Initially, it pretended that it wanted to change everything to the benefit of Bashar al-Assad, but its policy changed gradually when, eventually, not only did he no longer pretend that he wanted to change the situation in favour of Bashar al-Assad, but that he wished to make a mockery of the US and President Barak Obama’s indecision.

Putin sold military equipment to Bashar al-Assad prior to invading his country under the pretext of protecting Syria against the US. Subsequently, he became more aggressive by invading Syria. From here on, bombers started bombing cities and crushing all resistance, further emboldening Putin in his aggressive acts.

Only after changing the fortunes of the Syrian conflict to its own favour did the Kremlin start supporting the Syrian army’s incursions further north towards Idlib and Aleppo, adding to a problematic scenario with Turkey and the United States.

Be that as it may, Russian presence in Syria did not bring peace to this country. It simply empowered Russia further.

In 2021, Putin told Syria that the presence of foreign troops “undermines your ability to use your best efforts to consolidate the country and promote recovery at a pace that would have been possible if the legitimate government controlled the entire country.”

After Russia’s control and domination of Syria, it began planning the takeover of Ukraine.

Ukraine, Another Syria

A similar destiny to Syria’s seems to be rolling out for Ukraine. It is going to become another Syria and a place of conflict for the policies of other countries.

Syria is a country that has been suffering from a civil war for 11 years. For 11 years, it has been totally submerged in troubles to which there seems to be no solution. The country has been totally devastated for 11 years and its infrastructure remains in ruins. UN investigators have sounded the alarm by saying that Ukraine must not turn into another Syria – a country which other powers have turned into a battleground for their conflicts for over a decade.

The uprising in Syria began 11 years ago and turned into a full-scale war when Russia invaded in 2015. The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria has said that it hopes the disregard for civilian casualties would not be repeated in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Commission chair Paul Pinheiro has spoken of the millions of people forcibly displaced, more than 100,000 missing or disappeared, poverty rates at an unprecedented 90% high, human rights violations, and crimes against humanity. “We can only hope that world leaders are doing everything now that they can to avoid a similar fate for Ukraine,” he told reporters.

“Syrian and Russian forces” operating side by side have continued to indiscriminately bomb densely populated areas in the northwest,” he added.

“Civilians have also been attacked with sophisticated precision-guided weapons and airstrikes-including in strikes where Russian fixed-wing aircraft were identified flying over targeted areas.”

Pinheiro also said Russia and Syria were insisting on humanitarian aid being delivered from Damascus rather than across the border, but “their attacks in the northwest occur along the very road where such humanitarian aid would travel”.

He added, “we are seeing since 2015 similar practices by the Russian Federation in the conflict that we are seeing in another country today.”

Russia has started a devastating war in Ukraine and in this short time it has razed the infrastructure of many of its cities and some residential areas to the ground. Women and children have been taking refuge in other countries to save themselves.

This act by Russia is a repeat of its performance in Syria many years ago. In its plans to gain domination over the West, Russia has inflicted great pain and losses on the people of these two countries, also impacting the world as a whole and endangering global peace and security.

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