How to end the Russian invasion in Ukraine

  • 2023-07-14
  • Artis Pabriks

The unprecedented war in Europe, started by Russia against its neighbour Ukraine, has entered its second year. In scale, it can only be compared to World War II, and as such, it exposes Europe and the entire world to its most serious security challenge. The major difference between this war and previous conflicts in Europe is that supporters of both fighting parties do not take direct participation in the warfare.

The Russian invasion in Ukraine must be tackled wisely, timely, and wholeheartedly by the West and the entire global community. Otherwise, it will irreversibly destroy everything that the international community has achieved up to now and possibly trigger another war.

The Russian invasion in Ukraine has several facets to be taken into account when trying to stop it. It has a realpolitik side, moral dimension, and economic consequences.

Tactically, Russia started the war wisely in challenging times for the global community, which still has not fully recovered from the Covid pandemic and its negative consequences. In 2022, many global institutions were under permanent stress and had already required reform for years, as they did not correspond to global needs in the 21st century, be it international trade, international finance, climate change, or global security. Therefore, their response to the Russian invasion was assessed to be weak by the Russian leadership.

In addition, the expansion of social media and AI, in combination with Russian propaganda machine and spec ops, including infiltrations into Western NGOs, political parties, social networks, and media, granted the Kremlin an opportunity to fragment the Western response to the invasion. The responses to previous Russian invasions in Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014 suggested to Kremlin analysts that the Western response pattern to full-scale invasion would be weak this time as well. However, they miscalculated grandly.

Despite initial hesitation by some Western powers and delays in military support to Ukraine, the West consolidated its response in favour of Ukraine. Today, there is a consensus in the West and the global community that Russian revisionism must be stopped.

Looking from a realpolitik perspective, it must be clear that if Russia is not stopped in Ukraine, it will trigger another war. The regime's tactics can be compared to Hitler's Germany which was not appeased during the Munich deal by abandoning Czechoslovakia in 1938. This history lesson teaches that appeasement towards the aggressor does not provide peace or justice, but only encourages and provokes the aggressor.

From a moral and value perspective, it must be clear to even a blind man that Ukrainian defence and territorial integrity is a just cause to be defended by the full might of liberal democracies and the entire international community. Might cannot create right. Therefore, it is ultimate that a free Europe, free world, and everyone who believes in justice must stand by the victim. This time, the victim is Ukraine. How to do this practically?

The answer is straightforward: do not give in to Russian bullying, be it threats of the use of nuclear weapons or anything else. Remember that if the world is united against the aggressor, it has no chance to fail since it is simply too big to fail. The economic might of the West is about 50% of the global economy, while that of Russia is about 2-3%. Put that might behind Ukraine. Deliver all weapons needed in that country: provide ammo, planes, missiles, open factories in Ukraine to produce necessary goods required by the Ukrainian army. Provide humanitarian assistance, economic aid. The slogan is simple and very Churchillian: "Everything for victory!" Follow the example of Baltic states and Poland, and Russia will be forced to negotiate peace and withdraw from sovereign Ukrainian territories.