Riva Agarwal

14 Years

52 Years

Calcutta International School

Kolkata

Russia- Ukraine War | Understanding News | Bookosmia

Trying to make sense of the Russia- Ukraine war? Here is 14 year old Riva Agarwal breaking it down and expressing her views on the India stance.

russia ukraine war bookosmia

Ukraine has long wanted to be part of the NATO, and Russia has strongly opposed it, saying it poses a threat to Russia as they share borders, and this is a major reason the war broke out- to stop NATO’s expansion into Ukraine. NATO is a military alliance established in 1949 by the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and eight other European countries. Additional countries have since joined NATO — most recently North Macedonia in 2020. Thirty nations are now part of the organization. Membership with NATO would significantly increase Ukraine’s international military backing, allowing for NATO military action within Ukraine and alongside members of its military. This guarantee of military might would act as a firm deterrent to Russian aggression.

In the previous days, countries have been throwing around baseless threats to Russia in the air, warning Russia of the consequences they’ll face if they dare to threaten Ukrainian sovereignty. Now when the invasion has started, every single country has left Ukraine out high and dry. Not a single country stepped up to help militarily. The USA, which seemed to be the most promising country to help Ukraine, instantly backed down after Putin’s threat of the consequences, and now is only offering the NATO countries  protection, followed by the NATO itself releasing a statement where they refuse to help Ukraine simply as it  is not a part of the NATO, and is not considered an attack on their country.

 

Russia is continuing with the invasion, with Ukraine left to defend itself, and no country stepping in between. We all know what’s happening, people are dying, Ukrainian civilians are losing their futures, men aged 18-60 are being drafted in the military, everyone’s been handed a gun to stand strong against one of the strongest military powers in the world. The destruction in Ukraine is getting worse by the second, and Mr. Putin will not stop the invasion till he has achieved his goals. The first of his goal was, taking over Chernobyl.

 

Chernobyl is a nuclear power plant in Ukraine, and many of us know the place because of the Chernobyl  disaster. It is now in Russia’s hands, and Ukraine has been robbed of its most powerful weapon they had against Russia.

The situation of Ukrainian citizens must be addressed. 50,000 Ukrainians have fled the country in the first  two days, and a 100,000 have been internally displaced,  according to reports published by the UN. Newborn babies in the country are being shifted from hospitals to bomb shelters, and those civilians still in their homes, face a lack of basic necessities like food and water.

Today, on the 3 rd day of this war, some glimmer of hope was sprinkled in the morning, when the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov said in a statement, that Russia will stop the invasion if Ukrainians lay down their arms. Only when the Ukrainians stop fighting, will Russia stop their illegal invasion. Many of you may be thinking, “That’s good, Ukraine should stop.” But we must understand, that if Ukraine stops fighting,
Ukraine ceases to exist, yet if Russia stops fighting, the war stops.

Last night, the UNSC, the only body of the UN with action- taking powers, introduced and voted on a resolution introduced by the USA, condemning Russia of its illegal invasion, and commanding an immediate withdrawal of troops. The UNSC comprises of 15 countries, out of which 10 are selected on a two- year term basis. 5 members are permanent, which are called the P5, including- USA, UK, Russia, France, and China. They have a ‘veto’ power, exercising which, they can block any resolution. The other 20 countries have 3  choices- Yes /No/ Abstain. 11 countries voted for the resolution, while 3 countries, including India, China,
and UAE, abstained from voting. Why India did this, I will explain in a bit when I explain India’s foreign policy. However, Russia vetoed the resolution, and thus it failed to pass, making all efforts useless.
Some countries took to economic sanctions in the form of sanctioning banks and Russian oligarchs- basically putting penalties on Russia to discourage the war and try to make them suffer for their actions. But bank sanctions take a lot of time to show effect, because it won’t make the Russian economy cripple in a day, and to put an end to this war, a more aggressive sanction was needed. But on the flip side, something that would make the Russian economy cripple, would affect global economy too, because Russia has one of the strongest economies.

This is because they’re one of the world’s biggest producers and exporters of oil, and almost all the European Union relies on natural gas supply from Russia. Following the invasion, oil prices already skyrocketed, hitting $104 barrel, which is the highest it has reached in decades. A hit like this would threaten the stability of global economy, which is still recovering from the shock of the pandemic. It will push up inflation even more, and rattling financial markets yet again, wiping out more investor’s money. Ukraine’s farms feed millions around the world, and a spike in food prices is also very near. The central banks of many countries are looking to tighten their monetary policies to reduce the borrowing in their economies, to try and control inflation. As scary as all this sounds, there is a silver lining. Russia’s attack on Ukraine and retaliatory sanctions from the West may not portend another global recession. The two countries together account for less than 2% of the world’ gross domestic product. And many regional economies remain in solid shape,
having rebounded swiftly from the pandemic recession.

Now, coming to India’s stance on the matter.

In the year 2000, India entered a strategic partnership with Russia, and since then they have had good bilateral ties. Russia remains India’s biggest and time-tested supplier of military hardware. At the height of the crisis with China in Ladakh, it was to Moscow that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh travelled to ensure that there would be no cut-back in military supplies. And since then, Russia has boosted India’s defence capability against China with the S-400 air defence system. Moscow is also a reliable ally in the UN Security Council. India-Russia ties have ensured that Delhi has not been entirely left out of the conversation on Afghanistan, and in Central Asia, while also providing some leverage with the US. At the same time, the US,
the European Union, and UK are all vital partners, and India’s relations with each of them, and the Western world in general, is strong. However India is one of the countries that have made a pragmatic decision, and saves Indian citizens from problems in the future.

 

India has been walking on a tightrope since the start of the conflict, and is maintaining the neutral stance.  While PM Modi has called Putin to emphasise on the importance of diplomacy, he has also made it clear that his priority remains the Indian citizens trapped in Ukraine, and their evacuation. India has also not publicly made a statement condemning Putin’s actions, or sanctioning Russia, and is why in the UNSC, India  abstained from voting on the resolution. Many may think India is the ‘bad guy’ and should help Ukraine. It is worth pointing out that in the past, Ukraine has repeatedly shown a stance against India.Ukraine was one of the countries that vehemently opposed India’s nuclear tests in 1998 and most importantly, the UN resolution that Ukraine endorsed had encouraged all states to prevent the export of  equipment, materials or technology to India that could in any way assist the country’s programmes for  nuclear weapons. Now, the Ukraine foreign minister pleaded for India’s support,  quoting lines form Mahabharata, to try and get powerful countries as allies.

 

While India is under pressure from many countries to choose a clear stance, as of now India remains neutral.
People around the world, continue to hope that the matter de-escalates, and Ukraine comes out on the other  side with its sovereignty. This article has been written with the intention of spreading awareness, and hope people understand the actual situation.

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