On the international political front, Russia is facing condemnation from Western powers over its actions in Ukraine with the European Union vowing to hold Moscow accountable for the military operation
|The Author is Former Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Training Command, IAF|
After a period of tense confrontation, on the morning of Thursday February 24 this year, the military forces of Russia launched a multi-pronged attack on a number of cities in Ukraine. The Russian military commenced its offensive operations using cruise missiles to strike and destroy some targets of critical importance in Ukraine in the pre-dawn hours of that day. The offensive operations were aimed to target Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, other major cities, military airfields, headquarters of the Ukrainian armed forces located in the Eastern part the country as well as a number of other targets of military value. As per military experts in the United States (US), the air attacks were a part of the first phase of the military operations against Ukraine that were planned by Russia. The military experts in the US are also of the view that the extensive air operations carried out by Russian forces on February 24 would be followed up by operations on the ground by the Russian military that would invade Ukraine with a very large force consisting of more than 150,000 Russian troops that have been amassing on the border of Ukraine over a period of time. In fact this did happen as after the aerial action by the Russian military against practically all the major cities in Ukraine, columns of Russian troops moved across the borders of Ukraine into the Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions in the Eastern part of the country. Russian troops also landed by sea at the port cities of Odessa and Mariupol in the South. Despite the sustained political and diplomatic efforts by the leaders of Western nations to prevent the situation in Ukraine from escalating and resulting in a full scale war, military invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military could not be stopped. Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, finally had his way. However, the military action against Ukraine by Russia has been rather traumatic for the global economy and its adverse impact can be seen in the commodity, equity and currency markets.
The position adopted by Ukraine had been rather infuriating for Moscow which has ultimately led to the current situation in the region
Ukraine, a country that broke away from the erstwhile Soviet Union in the early 1990s after its collapse, has aglorius history of over a thousand years. Today, Ukraine is a democratic country with a population of around 44 million. In terms of land area, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe after Russia. Ukraine has often indicated the desire to be a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) as a also be a part of the European Union (EU). These aspirations of Ukraine have been somewhat disturbing for Moscow that is apparently not very comfortable with these. In fact the position adopted by Ukraine had been rather infuriating for Moscow which has ultimately led to the current situation in the region.
The confrontation between Russia and Ukraine had been building up for a few months during which there were efforts on the diplomatic front by the US as well as by other Western nations to diffuse the situation so as to counter the possibility of an aggressive military action that would have the potential of escalating into a full scale war between Russia and Ukraine. Such an event would be a major military crisis on the European continent since the days of the Cold War.
As the Indian government did not quite expect the situation to degenerate into a full scale war so early and so rapidly, commencement of evacuation of Indian citizens which included a large number of students, was somewhat slow and delayed
The military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine has had serious repercussions for the Indian citizens in the country. As the Indian government did not quite expect the situation to degenerate into a full scale war so early and so rapidly, commencement of evacuation of Indian citizens which included a large number of students, was somewhat slow and delayed. As a result, when Russian forces commenced their military operations on February 24, 2022, only around 4000 of the estimated total of 20,000 Indian citizens present in the country could be evacuated before the Russian military commenced its offensive operations into Ukraine and very rapidly covered the whole country. However, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India is trying to assist in the evacuation of Indian citizens who are stranded in Ukraine through teams of MEA from Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic as also of Indian nationals resident in these countries who have rather obligingly volunteered to assist in the evacuation of Indian citizens stranded in the country. These teams have been positioned at different points on the land borders with Ukraine and the MEA has advised the Indian citizens stuck in Ukraine to try and get in touch with these teams for assistance in their evacuation.
On the international political front, Russia is facing condemnation from Western powers over its actions in Ukraine with the European Union vowing to hold Moscow accountable for the military operation and its consequences in both short and long term.
India is not in a position to side with any of the players on the scene and as such, is left with no option but to maintain a neutral stance which it is doing
The military situation in the region could well lead to escalation resulting in a military conflict between Russia and the Western nations particularly the US that now has more than 90,000 troops on the continent, most of whom are positioned outside Eastern Europe. India however, is not in a position to side with any of the players on the scene and as such, is left with no option but to maintain a neutral stance which it is doing. Rather tragically, apart from total disruption of peace and harmony in the country, there are a significant numbers of lives lost on both sides. The greater fear is that the worst is yet to come. The long term consequences will hinge depend on how NATO, especially the US, reacts to Russia’s move in Ukraine.