From somewhere in the tunnel

In the middle of the darkness of a tunnel it is not easy to know who is ahead. Contenders in wars claim victories as part of every battle; thus they seek to keep the spirits of their people and their combatants high and to impress those interested in the course of events. As the truth is one of the first casualties of all wars, no one can correctly predict the final outcome of any of them, and early bets on its outcome are often wrong. But that cannot at any time prevent the well-intentioned claim for peace.

The contenders in the war in Ukraine are not those who appear as counterparts with their smoking cannons, and the battles are not fought only in the form of military confrontations. In addition to heroic Ukrainians resisting and Russians attacking under the false pretense that “neo-Nazis” are out there on the other side of the border, there are third parties openly helping to keep the pace of the war going. The destruction of cities inhabited by unarmed civilians is not the only way it takes, since the dispute over energy sources becomes increasingly relevant as winter approaches.

Ukraine alone, with its weapons and its budget, would never have been able to sustain fierce fighting for half a year, stop the Russians and even expel them from certain areas, had it not been for foreign aid. Aid that makes its suppliers part of the war. Russia is clear about it, and so are the Western governments that have turned the issue into a cause that they hope to carry out with a Ukrainian victory, with the weapons that they provide.

Far from the Ukrainian countryside, and beyond the sphere of military strategies, energy prices hit the governments and peoples of Europe on the sensitive side of the conditions of daily life. The task of obtaining non-Russian gas to face the rigors of the approaching winter adds to the effort to recover the ground lost by the pandemic, with the worrying implication that each citizen now forced to pay six times more for their energy bill he becomes an eventual opponent of his government’s support for the Ukrainian cause.

As wars are essentially mutative processes, it is not known when or how the one unleashed by the Russians six months ago will end, nor to what extent those involved in the conflict will be willing to go. In order to get some orientation on such a complex matter, it is necessary to look at the problem as a whole from the widest possible perspective. Then previous arguments and behaviors appear again, as well as new factors, which cannot be ignored when thinking about the future.

Since 2015, Russia has waited for the fulfillment of the agreements aimed at giving Donetsk and Lugansk a special status within Ukraine, without the governments in kyiv having responded favorably to that claim, according to Putin, encouraged by the United States, which at the head of NATO, and with the neutralization of Germany and France, guarantors of the Minsk Agreements, they would have resorted to all kinds of practices to curb any aspiration of Russian influence beyond the borders of the Soviet era.

Already involved in the adventure of war, and at the time of the meetings for a possible negotiation with Ukraine, the Russians insisted on recognizing their annexation of Crimea, as well as the independence of the aforementioned regions, converted by force into “republics” under the protection of Moscow. All of these requests are impossible for the Zelenzki government to accept, which has set itself the task of reconquering all these territories.

Despite the ambivalent military results, the balance of which is difficult to establish, the Russian president today maintains that Ukraine is “an anti-Russian enclave” and that those who fight under his command in this disjointed war do so to defend the motherland. It also raises the idea of ​​”extirpating Nazi ideology from Ukraine” and dismantling the benefits that the communists Lenin and Stalin granted it, for which it hopes to close their access to the seas and reduce their eventual existence to the central and western regions, while the The rest should pass to the sovereignty of the Russian Federation, through “referendums”, surely carried out under armed force.

To the previous claims, he adds the decision to close the keys to the energy supply to the Europe that decided to delve into the sanctions imposed by putting a price cap on gas of Russian origin, not without noting that his country has not been harmed by the punishment imposed. until now, while the imbalance slowly affects its opponents as a result of prices directly affecting consumer households. A situation of undoubted strategic value that acquires greater importance every day in the face of the imminent change of seasons, as surely both he and his opponents have calculated.

As international disputes change their objectives and content depending on the circumstances, it is worth asking whether Russia would be able to sustain an extended military confrontation, either for a longer time or before a larger group of opponents, if one takes into account that, so far, it has not even been able to break Ukraine. It is also necessary to ask whether the countries that have intervened indirectly so far could at some point be considered “forced” to enter directly into an armed confrontation with Russia in order to further the purpose of containing it. All this without knowing the real proportions of the support that the war may receive internally in both fields, more difficult to establish in Russia than on the other side, where open societies will allow us to see the proportions of the approval of a citizenry that can hardly accept the austerity, expense and deprivation of his daily life, derived from a war that he does not see as his own.

Without falling into the triumphalist proclamations of the parties, which seek to encourage the enthusiasm of those who enjoy listening to news and forecasts that are to their liking, it would be good if, in the midst of the darkness of the tunnel, voices emerged calling for the search for a negotiated peace. A demonstration of the value of diplomacy that this year avoids the sacrifice of the welfare and life of millions of human beings whose destiny cannot depend on the arbitrary interpretations, interests and vanities of politicians. For these purposes we should demand, as citizens of the world, the use of so many unused institutional tools, the participation of all those who have intervened directly or veiled in the Ukraine conflict, and the competition of so many Nobel Peace Prize winners in search of new scenarios to ratify its commitment to this noble cause.

We would like to say thanks to the writer of this write-up for this outstanding material

From somewhere in the tunnel