The Russian invasion of Ukraine is entering a fourth week of fierce field combat, wherein varied formats of traditional, urban, and cyber warfare have been employed. In parallel, a cluster of frantic mediation efforts, and desperate talks about unrealistic proposals for peace, have failed to figure out the specific strategic goals that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to achieve by killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians, including children, and forcing millions of Ukrainians to leave their homeland and seek refuge elsewhere.
However, we at least know that, so far, Putin has failed in realizing the objective that he deceitfully claimed, at the beginning of the war, to justify his unjustifiable assault on Ukraine. That is; pushing NATO away from Russia’s borders. Clearly, Putin’s lie has backfired on him. By invading Ukraine, Putin forced the NATO allies to move too close to Russia’s borders.
Ukraine, which had zero number of foreign or NATO military bases or support before the war, is now receiving billions of dollars in aid and advanced military equipment from Europe and the United States. Last week, the United States President, Biden, signed a bill to provide 13.6 billion dollars in emergency aid to Ukraine. The package is divided into three categories: a sum of 3.5 billion dollars is allocated to securing arms and other defense equipment for the Ukrainian military, including advanced American-made anti-missile systems, while 4 billion dollars are allocated for humanitarian aid, and 3 billion dollars will be used by the United States for deploying American troops to the NATO countries surrounding Ukraine.
Needless to mention the Turkish-made TB-2 drones – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – which the Ukrainian military has been skillfully using, since the beginning of the war, to prevent Russia from gaining leverage by dominating the sky. The same drones were used in the Karabakh war between Azerbaijan and Romania, in 2020, and played a tremendous role in Azerbaijan’s victory. In a conversation between the Russian and Turkish presidents, a few months ago, Putin noted that he is concerned by the increasing use of Turkish-made drones in conflicts around Russia.
Even more, thanks to this war, the thirty allies of NATO are showing an unprecedented sense of unity, on policy and military levels, as they chose to put aside their internal disputes and rather focus, with full determination, on finishing Putin’s tyranny. One main highlight of the growing cohesion among the NATO allies is the accelerated rapprochement between the two historical frenemies – Turkey and Greece. Both countries joined NATO at the same time, in 1952. They are, literally, the gatekeepers of NATO’s southeastern borders.
However, the long decade of geopolitical disputes over maritime rights in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea have kept them in a political and diplomatic standoff that reached a peak point of military harassment using jet fighters and naval forces, in the eastern Mediterranean, in the summer of 2020. However, thanks to the economic and security global and regional crises resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is a strong hope that the historical disputes between the two Mediterranean neighbors could be realistically resolved.
Meanwhile, Putin is drowning himself and his country further into the dark hole of his inflated ego. The Russian military, which had deployed to implement a short-term “special military operation” in Ukraine, has been awfully strained on six fronts at the eastern, southern, and northern borders of Ukraine, for four weeks. The Ukrainian army, alongside urban fighters, is showing hell to the morally defeated Russian troops, who are struggling with the guilt of killing their cousins for reasons they cannot fully accept.
In a desperate move to put a limit to draining his military troops and equipment, and depleting Russia’s economic resources, on a war that he should not have entered in the first place, Putin is now looking into recruiting mercenaries from Syria to help his army. According to Ukraine’s Military Intelligence report, released last week, the Russia-owned Hamim military base in Syria, received orders from Moscow to prepare and deploy 300 fighters/ mercenaries per day to fight in Ukraine. However, on March 15th, which marked the beginning of the third week of the war, the Russian base in Syria could only send 150 mercenaries, two days after, 30 of these mercenaries got badly injured and had to return to Latakia, Syria.
On March 8th, the British Minister of Defense, Ben Wallace, told the media that the current war between Russia and Ukraine marks the end of Putin’s legacy. “Whatever happens, President Putin is a spent force in the world and he is done, his army is done, and he needs to recognize that.” Wallace, also, highlighted that Putin has become a burden on Russia. “He has exhausted his army, he is responsible for thousands of Russian soldiers being killed, responsible for innocent people being killed. He is reducing his economy to zero. He has to take responsibility for that.”
As the war concluded a third week, Putin expressed that he got offended by U.S. President Biden describing him to journalists as a “war criminal.” Ironically, on the morning of March 16th, the United Nations International Court of Justice (IJC) ruled that Putin had committed a crime, in the definition of international law, by invading Ukraine and called upon Russia to immediately end its intervention in Ukraine. Indeed, invading a sovereign state and killing innocent civilians is a grieve crime that Putin purposefully committed with cold blood. Yet, the good news is that he has already started to pay for his irreversible failures in Ukraine.
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