The West must strengthen support for Ukraine to ensure Putin’s war fails
In the wake of the Day of Ukrainian Statehood, and with the war now inevitably coming to Russian soil, Ukraine has every right to defend its people and its land in any way it can.
As Ukraine’s counter-offensive enters its main thrust, with thousands of reservists brought to the front, the Day of Ukrainian Statehood takes on new meaning, and should serve as a rallying call for renewed and better aligned international support of Ukraine’s war effort.
Contrary to Russian propaganda, Ukraine has a proud history. As President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reflected last year: “All stages of the history of Ukraine’s statehood, its defence and struggle for it can be described in one sentence: We existed, exist and will exist!”
Vladimir Putin’s outrageous claims denying Ukraine’s statehood, and justifying its invasion, are easily proven false.
As Ukraine’s fight intensifies we must evolve the current piecemeal efforts of international military aid
Ukraine is a nation that is very distinct from Russia. Its roots trace back centuries before its break from the Soviet Union in 1991, when 92.3 per cent of Ukrainians voted to leave in a democratic referendum. Since then, Ukraine has had six successive presidents; in comparison, Russia has only had two. Putin simply cannot afford a free and democratic Ukraine on his doorstep.
As Ukraine strongly counters Putin’s soft and hard power, it’s been impressive to witness a nation transform itself in such unprecedented circumstances. To achieve lasting independence and assure its security, Ukraine has committed to reform its security institutions, improve governance and curb corruption.
In tandem, international support for the war effort must now grow stronger.
To date, Ukraine has inflicted significant pain on its aggressor, and against all odds, has held a much larger and wealthier adversary at bay. However, while Ukraine has liberated 227 square kilometres since the start of its counter-offensive, this represents just 0.3 per cent of the territory gained by Russia since the start of the invasion.
Ukraine’s struggle to breach Russian lines of defence is in part due to a lack of adequate equipment and resource. From de-mining kits and anti-tank missiles to air defence systems, planes, helicopters, drones and armour-piercing weapons, Ukraine needs significant military aid to overrun dug-in Russian positions and retake occupied territory.
Ukraine also needs its allies to be united, aligned and committed. In recent months, we have observed Switzerland rejecting requests to export tanks, Nato members continuing to bicker over a leadership contest, continuous violations of trade sanctions, and a British-led international fund plagued by delays.
Support from Europe in general has been notably lagging. While European countries have opened their borders to huge numbers of refugees, monetary contributions by Europe’s biggest economies are significantly smaller as a percentage of GDP compared to the United States. For example, France has committed just 0.1 per cent of its output to Ukraine, compared with America’s 0.4 per cent.
What Putin originally set out to do is having the reverse effect. The spirit of Ukraine and unity amongst its citizens is growing stronger and stronger. United international support is necessary to maintain this momentum. As President Zelenskyy stated on the first anniversary of the invasion, Ukraine could win the war this year, so long as international allies remain united “like a fist” and continue military and humanitarian aid.
As Ukraine’s fight intensifies, and the counter-offensive continues, we must evolve the current piecemeal efforts of international military aid with an evolving and scaled system to consistently re-supply, service and re-equip those fighting on the frontlines.
This Ukrainian war of independence is fought on all of our behalf. It is fought for global peace, stability, prosperity and the rule of law.
As this futile war continues to kill innocent civilians, our marching orders are clear.
Lubov Chernukhin, former investment banker born in the USSR
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