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A World Divided

Russia’s War Threatens Global Politics as Conflict Creates Uncertainty for the Future of Ukrainians

By: Emily Reid

Since the invasion of Ukraine, conditions have changed in Europe, and much in Russia’s favour. In recent months, Ukraine has started to run out of artillery shells - an essential element of the country’s defence - with Russia firing five to ten times as many shells. Eric Schmitt, covering National Security at The New York Times said “That’s just not sustainable. Ukraine would eventually have to give up territory and pull back.”

Photo by Mathias Reding from pixabay

After months of stalling by far-right Republicans, the United States finally approved $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. This package is considered by many to be a lifeline for Ukraine, with little hope that the country could survive without US assistance. The American funds will help Ukraine restock two things: artillery shells, which have previously stopped advancing armies, and anti-aircraft munitions. As the city of Avdiivka recently fell into Russian hands, Ukraine is likely to put it to work on the eastern front. Although this could halt any further gain from Russia, many analysts have expressed concern that an undersupplied Ukraine would struggle to defend the countryside around the major city of Kharkiv and its remaining territory along the Black Sea line. More territory has been captured and a larger offensive in spring or summer from Russia is expected.

This begs the question; is it too little and too late? Ukraine would be facing almost certain defeat, experts say, had Biden’s funding package not gone through. Regarding European involvement, Kyiv has called on EU member states and their leaders to urgently donate air defence, as Ukraine remains overwhelmed. Europe does not lack air defences, with roughly one hundred air defence systems sitting in storage around the continent. So far, only Germany has agreed to hand one over.

Russia has been exploiting this domestic dispute with the US and other European countries, capturing as much territory as possible, targeting cities, major power stations and vital civilian infrastructure. Their reach goes deeper into European politics itself, with the threat of Russian propaganda “pounding” in EU states. With European Parliament elections pending, and far-right parties such as FPÖ in Austria, and until February of this year, Viktor Orbán of Hungary, opposing extending military aid for Ukraine, the fate of the alliance is susceptible and not immune to this threat.

French President Emmanuel Macron described the Russia-Ukraine war as a “principal danger for European security” and warned Europe needs stronger defence; “Our Europe can die” he said in a dire speech. He also called for more sanctions on Russian entities involved in trying to disrupt elections in EU member states, whilst calling on the continent to adopt a “credible” defence strategy that is less dependent on the US.

Ultimately, the lack of urgency to support Ukraine is a failure to fully grasp that Ukraine’s struggle is existential, with the conflict having no end in sight.


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