The road between Moscow and Kyiv

By Yousuf Awadh Al-Azmi

“War makes thieves and peace hangs them.” – George Herbert. It seems things are not easy in the war Russia launched against Ukraine for both sides, yet it seems that the Ukrainians found some air to breath despite the Russian military pressure and striking force. “The task of the government is not only to pour honey into a cup, but sometimes to give bitter medicine,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

I think here about the meaning of bitter medicine Putin means. Is, for example, the war in Ukraine a bitter medicine? Are the Ukrainians like those who are disobedient or lagged behind the flock? There are those who spoke and confirmed according to their analysis that the war in Ukraine is only the first step on the road of reuniting the Soviet Union republics, which became part of contemporary history.

Here we pause and wonder – is there any failure (I could not find a clearer word than this) so far to have decisive control, as he could not even take over the capital Kyiv. Does he have the ability to go far and expand more comprehensively? The situation on the ground gives a decisive answer, that the Russian ability to decide matters is not clear so far, and also it is clear that the decision making strategy was not correct in organizing the war or the steps of invasion.

The West’s stand of applying pressure on Russia is still effective, at least economically, and the game of using Russian gas and taking advantage of winter has not shown its benefits so far. I am speaking about the more comprehensive shape of this direction. It seems that the alternatives are playing an integral role in meeting winter gas needs and the influence of Russian gas became much lesser than expected.

The Budapest memo was signed in 1994, in which the Russian Federation pledged to respect Ukrainian borders in exchange of Kyiv giving up its nuclear arsenal that was inherited from the Soviet Union in favor of Russia. The action of the Ukrainian leadership then lacked strategic vision, which allowed for Ukraine to be invaded by that state with which it signed an agreement. In politics, your good intentions should not lead you all the time, as the smart politician should see with 10 eyes and hear with 20 ears.

Be generous, as generosity is one of the appreciated ethical virtues, but to voluntarily give up your strategic power to another country? Because here we are facing something that has nothing to do with the virtue of generosity.

Anyhow, indirect Western involvement in the war on the side of Ukraine made it difficult for the ruler of Moscow to win the war. I believe the matter may need a longer time than what we imagine, and may bring several items that were not mentioned so far, even if they are still in the books of political analyses. War is not easy to get into, and very difficult to get out of without blood and fire and possibly disturbing concessions. The road from the Caesar’s capital Moscow to Kyiv, which is one of the four cities that were described as “heroic” during the Soviet era, is still bloodied and crowded with the bodies of those killed in an unwinnable war.

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