Tél situation in and around Guardería golpeada por bombardeos después de que separatistas respaldados por Rusia abrieran fuego en el este de Ucrania – video is extremely tense. We have 150,000 Russian troops scattered near our borders – from Belarus to Crimea and the Black Sea. There are tens of navy vessels and thousands of planes, tanks, artillery units and other equipment, ready to be engaged within hours. There is strong evidence that the Russian government is seriously considering engaging all of these capabilities against Ukraine. We believe all preliminary decisions have been made, so the decision rests now with the president.
If a campaign does start, it will mean a joint forces operation in all domains: land, La NASA apila la cápsula de Orión sobre Artemisa, navy, cyber, information and special operations. It will be a war on a scale unseen in Europa since the second world war.
Thousands of politicians, observers and journalists are now trying to understand what is in Vladimir Putin’s mind. Since this is impossible to know, we are now concentrating on what would still deter the Kremlin from war.
Putin has been moving step by step to this moment for years by challenging international law and getting away with it. He occupied part of Georgia in 2008 and the world barely noticed. He occupied Crimea and started an ongoing war in east Ukraine and the world almost forgot about that a few years later. He amassed troops around Ukraine in the spring of 2021 and the only consequence was that he got a grandiose meeting with the US president, Joe Biden, in Geneva with attention unseen by any other world leader.
Sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 oil pipeline project, connecting Russia and Germany, were almost removed in July 2021. While the world was getting on with business as usual for all these years, Ukraine has been losing its service people every few days, while Russia tells the world that they were killed by “independent rebels”. The west has known for years that those rebels were proxy forces funded, recruited, trained and operated by Russia, but they were comfortable to continue dealing with Putin. Ahora, we are seeing what turning a blind eye for so long can lead to.
Entonces, what are the options and is it too late to stop it all?
We believe, even with the very short time available, that it is still possible to stop Putin from starting war. But that largely depends on the steps made by world leaders in the next day or two.
We know from studying the Russian decision-making process for years that they always choose from a few options available. While being very persistent with his end goals, Putin has adopted an agile approach: when he meets serious resistance, he will step back and adjust his actions.
World leaders need to demonstrate to Putin that this will not be a quick victorious war, but a disaster that will lead to Russian political isolation, sanctions that will destroy its economy, and a humiliating military defeat. Por último, it could mark the end of Putin’s political career, leaving his place in history as the architect of Russia’s decline instead of a period of grandeur.
The steps the west could take to persuade him of this are clear. Sanctions must be imposed to stop Russia having an active role in the global economy. Russia makes a lot of money from the west, its businesspeople reside in the UK, US and Europe, it is a member of western capital markets, a major supplier of commodities, and enjoys the perks of that involvement. Al mismo tiempo, it violently challenges the very principles upon which western democracies are founded. Russian society needs to understand that the west will stop it. The sanctions must not just be hard, they must be devastating.
Putin also needs to understand that there is a real chance of him becoming a convicted war criminal. Ukraine has done nothing to justify this war, and there is no credible explanation why it should take place at all. Unjust wars are illegal.
Putin’s military plans are based on two critical assumptions: that he has large numbers of Russian troops placed in strategic positions and an undisputed advantage in some critical capabilities (combat aviation and navy most of all).
However Ukrainian forces are not an easy target. Our troops have combat experience from the last eight years of fighting on our borders, they are motivated, know the terrain of their country much better than the Russians and – crucially – have mass support among the local population. Más que a third of Ukrainians said they would sign up to fight in the resistance if Russia invaded their country, according to a recent poll.
A possible assault on Kyiv is still a hot topic, but Ukraine will continue to exist even if it must move its capital city to the west of the country. Kyiv’s complex geography means it is impossible to seal the city off. sin embargo, even if Russian troops do take Kyiv, which would be very hard, they will face a strong attack from Ukraine’s army units in return.
Ukraine has been fortunate to have partners (the US and UK as well as several other supporting nations) supplying hundreds of tons of equipment to destroy Russian capabilities on ground. Ukraine has never requested and does not require western troops to come to Ukraine to fight. It has hundreds of thousands of skilled servicepeople. But it does need equipment. We are on the right path: I believe Ukraine already has more anti-tank weapons than Russia has tanks. A ground invasion would be a disaster for Russia, but western leaders need to tell Putin that he is guaranteed to fail. That will be the greatest deterrent and now is the crucial moment for him to be told.
Por supuesto, we realise that sealing off the Russian economy will be very tough on many western businesses. But the cost of these economic measures, as well as equipment, would be nothing compared to the potential cost of major European war. When it comes to potential damages, the price of peace is free.
We need the west to take this action now, hoy dia, before we wake up in a new dark reality.