100-days of Russia-Ukraine war

ByDr. Tahseen Mahmood Aslam

Designation: is an educationist with wide experience

Dated

June 11, 2022

Russia-Ukraine War

Dr. Tahseen Mahmood Aslam talks about a long-drawn war

After 100-days of Russia-Ukraine war of ever-increasing bloody engagement the Russians have not been able to subdue the inherently weaker opponent Ukraine rendering the battle into a slugfest of dueling artillery. The gridlock faced by Russia is a reverse of what was repeatedly claimed by a sorely mistaken cabal sitting in the Kremlin led by a besieged Putin. It is reported that Russians are making grinding but costly gains and now control at least 20 per cent of the country including the areas that they took control of back in 2014. The Russians are plastering the areas where they find Ukrainian resistance but that can only go on for so long because they are also taking very high losses. On the other hand, the Ukrainians, too, are suffering losses – 60 to 100 soldiers killed each day but their equipment is being replenished by the US and other Western countries such as the recent arrival of 108 Howitzers with a range up to 20 miles; four rocket systems which can fire salvos out to 40 miles.

It is reported that the fresh weapon supply is enough to take back lost territory. New equipment is not much use unless the Ukrainians can effectively employ it in combat as became evident by thousands of Javelin anti-tank missiles sent by Americans but most observers found that they were useless as the Ukrainians lacked the skill to make use of them. However, using parts from broken computers, they designed a way to power the Javelins with motorcycle batteries and when the Javelins came out of storage the Ukrainians recorded their first Russian tank kill. It is now reported that the Ukrainians have now gone on the offensive both in the South and in the north. One hundred days of warfare between Ukraine and Russia have now passed that is rated a tragic milestone in a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced millions from their homes, razed cities, towns and villages to the ground and reshaped the geopolitical contours of Europe and the wider world.

With the passage of time the fighting has shifted eastward in the country that has become the new focus of Putin’s war machine, after attempts to overwhelm the capital, Kyiv, and topple the Ukrainian government were unsuccessful. Ukraine’s resilience on the battlefield has proved decisive. Despite Russia’s strength in numbers, the defending forces have used their knowledge of the land and astute military tactics to chip away at Putin’s invaders, stalling and disrupting their efforts to conquer the country in one quick sweep. Western allies of Ukraine have played their part, too, in equipping the Ukrainians with state-of-the-art military equipment to counter Russia’s superiority in the air and on the land, while the imposition of sanctions has alienated the Kremlin and its economy, turning the country into a pariah state. Remarkably, the people of Ukraine clearly appear to be committed to carrying on with their lives under the looming spectre of warfare. In total, at least 46,000 lives have been lost between both sides, including thousands of civilians, while 6.8 million Ukrainians have fled the country, billions worth of damage has been inflicted and a looming global food crisis is emerging because of disruption to Ukraine’s wheat exports.

Though the conflict is raging since 100 days but it appears that ages have passed by when the first bombs fell in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa and the Donbas, just minutes after Putin announced to the world that a special military operation has been launched in Ukraine, one that sought to “demilitarise” and “de-Nazify” the country but not occupy it. The aggression came after months of speculation about Russia’s intentions after it amassed tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s border. Despite Putin’s words, officials from both inside and outside Ukraine were under no illusions as to what had begun. In a warning shot to the west, the Russian president threatened consequences as people have never before experienced if anyone tried to interfere. The world looked on in horror as the veneer of civilisation was stripped from Ukraine. Amid heavy shelling and fighting in the streets, the residents of numerous targeted cities fled in their thousands or took refuge in metro stations.

And then came the string of surprises, fierce fighting on the outskirts of Kyiv and Kharkiv slowed the Russian forces’ advance with Russian attempts to establish air supremacy over Ukrainian airspace failed. The efforts of the invaders are also undermined by poor planning and logistical issues, meaning armoured vehicles are often left stranded on roadsides before being captured. The first success came to the Russians when their troops entered Kherson, the city is strategically located in southern Ukraine at the mouth of the Dnieper River’s exit into the Black Sea. It was one of the largest urban centres to have fallen into Russian hands. The spectre of nuclear fall-out worried the world as it was reported that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest of its kind in Europe, was struck by Russian shelling, sparking a fire at one of the facility’s buildings. Experts insisted that the chances of radioactive release are low but Ukraine called for imposition of a no-fly zone over the country.

The month of April witnessed in small town of Bucha a horrifying massacre in which an estimated 650 civilians were executed by Russian soldiers. A further 350 people were believed to have died during the Kremlin’s month-long occupation of the town. Many bodies were found mutilated and burnt with women and girls raped along with 31 children found among the dead. After weeks of heavy bombardment, Russian troops started withdrawing from Ukrainian second largest city Kharkiv. It was reported that in the aftermath of the Russian retreat that Moscow has, by that point, likely lost one-third of the ground combat forces it committed in February and suffered consistently high levels of losses. Just as surprisingly, the Kremlin announced that it is radically reducing military activity indicating that the campaign for taking over Kyiv had come unstuck. Kyiv had surprised the world and repelled the invaders but success came at a great price.

The conflict triggered off both military and economic problems with the US and its NATO allies walking a careful line seeking to funnel weapons and aid to Ukraine without provoking Russia into widening the war beyond its borders. But sensing an opportunity to trap Russia in a quagmire, western powers were pushing that line further. The Biden administration passes a massive $40 billion package of military and economic aid for Ukraine, and is shipping out long-range Howitzers, armoured vehicles and kamikaze drones, a step up from the anti-tank missiles and small arms it sent earlier. It also increased its role by training Ukrainian soldiers for using the weapons sent there. America also provided vital intelligence that helped in killing a dozen Russian generals.

The shocks of the conflict were also felt across the globe particularly Egypt, which imports 80% of its grain from Russia and Ukraine, fixing the cost of bread in response to a surge in prices. The soaring cost of fuel compounded a severe currency crisis in Sri Lanka that ultimately defaulted on its international debts. The price of cooking oils, cereals and meats are on their way to the highest levels recorded by the United Nations since it started tracking in 1990. TW

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