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THE aftermath of the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing onslaught in another major city, Donbas, has continued to make headlines all over the world.

On Monday, April 18, Moscow reportedly bombarded other major cities with rocket and artillery fire, and Ukrainian President Zelensky announced in a televised address that the struggle “for the Donbas has begun”.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has described the invasion as an attempt to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine, which Ukraine and its allies dismissed as a ploy for an unprovoked war. Russia is said to have launched a barrage of rocket and artillery fire on a variety of eastern localities on Monday, killing eight people in the Luhansk city of Kreminna and the Donetsk region. It was reported last week that President Putin made a speech in which he stated that his goal was to “assist the people of the Donbas who feel their unbreakable bond with Russia”.

As I had earlier noted, the invasion of Ukraine, if not curtailed, will extend to other European frontiers, or at least to the citizens of other European countries, as the grand scheme of Putin may arguably be to rule the whole of Europe. A recent SUN publication titled: “Bloodthirsty Putin unleashes troops for Battle of Donbas as he parades captured Brits on TV”, reports thus: “Both were paraded in front of propaganda TV cameras to float the idea of a swap. Kyiv last week announced the capture of Medvedchuk, an opposition politician in Ukraine, who has long been seen as Putin’s man in the war-ravaged state.

“The men are seen in separate appeals on Russian state TV making appeals to Mr. Johnson who they want to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky. Since their capture in Mariupol, Russia has sought to milk the ‘British mercenaries’ for propaganda purposes. It appears the men now in Russian detention have been told their only route home is if the PM fixes Medvedchuk’s release – a move that would be seen as kowtowing to Putin. It comes as Medvedchuk’s wife called on the two men to be released in exchange for her husband.

“In a video address, she said: ‘I, Oxana Marchenko, spouse of opposition politician, people’s deputy of Ukraine, Viktor Medvedchyuk, address the relatives of captured citizens of Great Britain Aiden Aslin and of Shaun Pinner. It is in your power to ask the PM of your country Boris Johnson to influence Ukrainian leadership and to achieve Aiden’s and Shaun’s release by their exchange for… my husband Viktor Medvedchyuk.’”

Though the captured British nationals are contract soldiers, it yet gives an insight as to what the Russian President may be willing to do in order to drive home his agenda. It yet remains to be seen whether the British government will accede to President Putin’s demand to mount pressure on Ukrainian President for the release of the detained Viktor Medvedchyuk who is acclaimed to be Putin’s close friend. This, therefore, begs the question: If the British Government concedes to this demand, what other measures can Putin adopt to arm-string the British government, or how far he may be willing to go in order to extend his agenda to the whole of Europe. As far back as 2015, the Indian Express published a news report of the interview of Ukraine’s former President, Petro Poroshenko, on a French Radio station wherein he commented on President Putin’s desire to rule Europe.

The report reads:“Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of wanting to take over the ‘whole of Europe’ and potentially aiming his sights next at Finland and the Baltics. Putin wants to go as far as we allow him – not only Ukraine but the whole of Europe. If you had asked me two years ago, I would have said this was impossible because the whole postwar security system wouldn’t allow that.

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“But if you asked me today… unfortunately, everything is possible because the annexation of Crimea and the eastern part of Ukraine… shows we can break the global security system. He said the ongoing fighting against Russian-backed insurgents in eastern Ukraine should be seen as a fight for all of Europe. Is an attack on Finland possible? Yes, and Finland knows that. Is an attack on the Baltic states possible? Yes.”

A former NATO commander and retired US four-star General, Wesley Clark, noted that the intention of Putin is to exert control over Europe. During his interview on CNN, he stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actual goals in attacking Ukraine are to establish control over Eastern Europe and to shatter the Western military alliance. He added: “Ukraine is just the current battlefield. But if Ukrainians defeat Russia on this battlefield, everything changes. So, the best way to protect NATO, the best way to protect the international system, is to give Ukraine the assistance it says it needs and let them handle Russia on the battlefield.”

Perhaps driven by this common goal to ‘protect’ Ukraine, some of the world powers have started sending ammunition and other war materials to Ukraine. Recently, Japan promised to send drones, chemical masks, and clothing to Ukraine. On its part, the US Pentagon indicated the government’s plans to commence the training of Ukrainian troops on US-supplied weapons, while the UK indicated its interest to send anti-aircraft ‘Stormer’ vehicles to launch anti-aircraft missiles which can be used to target planes and helicopters.

Conclusion: The response to Putin’s onslaught goes beyond the mere supply of artilleries and gunships. Afterall, if Putin wipes out all Ukrainian troops, who will be left to handle the weapons being supplied? The answer to the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is for the United States, United Nations, and the European Union to assist Ukraine with troops and nip a potential expansion of the invasion in the bud. In the words of Morgan Pierce, the solution is ‘to punch Putin in the face – to knock him out’.

Putin was empowered to pursue his long-held aim of recreating the Soviet Union to its former size and strength from the time Russia took Crimea in 2014 and the world did nothing to stop it. However, if Putin is allowed to conquer Ukraine, he will continue to invade other nations he feels should be returned to the glory of the old Soviet Union. With its deplorably complacent inactivity and reliance on Russia’s massive energy resources, the world has emboldened this imperialist.

It is nearly impossible to defeat Putin’s imperialistic czar-like goals with a few words, supply of ammunition and freezing of assets of oligarchs. However, if the United States, United Nations and the European Union do not act aggressively to stop the heinous crimes in Ukraine, the threat from a resurgent Russia and its enabling allies will grow exponentially, making the globe a much less safe place for everyone.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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