Monday, September 26, 2022

Plea for Peace

By The Editorial Team Updated: Feb 24, 2022 11:25 pm

Even as the whole world was keenly watching the Russia-Ukraine crisis over the possible escalation of the situation into a full-scale war, Moscow on Thursday launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine and dozens of people were reported to have been killed, a few days after announcing the formal recognition of the independence of pro-Russian separatist regions Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia had been maintaining all this while that it had no intention of invading Ukraine and claimed that it pulled back troops from the borders, while the US and NATO contended the claim to be false. The worst fear has come true and it is unsettling. Unperturbed by international condemnation, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that any interference from other countries could ‘lead to consequences you have never seen in history’. He went on to claim that Russia didn’t intend to occupy Ukraine but to protect the civilians in the eastern part of the country and demilitarise it. He also accused the US and NATO of ignoring Moscow’s security concerns and the demand to prevent Ukraine from joining the NATO. Following the attack, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has declared martial law in the country and cut diplomatic ties with Moscow. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called for a summit of the alliance leaders on Friday to discuss the development. Global powers, including the US have said that they wouldn’t send troops to defend Ukraine but the situation demands urgent pragmatic moves to avoid a possible catastrophe and loss of human lives. It is to be seen if NATO will seriously look into Russia’s demand for security guarantees, to stop Ukraine from joining the alliance and address its concerns over presence of western troops in the region.

Meanwhile, the crisis has put India in a diplomatic dilemma. New Delhi and Moscow see each other as time-tested friends, sharing strong bilateral ties for decades. In the meantime, India’s response to Russia’s recent moves may not go down well with other countries. Ukraine’s envoy to India has expressed that it is “dissatisfied with the Indian position” while pleading Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and de-escalate the situation by speaking to Russian and Ukraine presidents. New Delhi will be expected to reach out to its old trusted friend and it can play a vital role in defusing tensions. The government also should ensure the safety of about 20,000 Indians in Ukraine. Above all, concerted efforts should be made by all governments across the globe to stop further escalation of the conflict as the whole world stands to lose in the event of a full blown war. Failure to de-escalate the conflict could cause untold destruction and casualties besides shattering peace in the region.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Feb 24, 2022 11:25:20 pm