Reports of mass killings in Bucha city in Ukraine show how horrific the Russians can be when allowed to engage in unjustified wars. Calls for action have increased, urging the west to increase its efforts and help Ukraine defeat the Russians and secure their country. Initially, Russians-backed separatists took over Donetsk and Luhansk administrative regions and declared separate states. In 2014, Crimea was annexed by Russians with little response from the international communities. The actions have gone unchecked and have emboldened Russia into the current invasion.
NATO and the U.S have been limiting their donations or replacing the requests with other aid forms. Russian Dictator Putin's invasion of Ukraine aims to topple a democratically elected government. Ukraine's President called for a No-Fly Zone to be imposed by NATO and the U.S, and the request was turned down. The U.S government also turned down the Patriot Air and Missile Defense system request because Russia would escalate the situation and lead to an outbreak of a wider war across Europe and the war.
Escalation Real or Excuse
Former U.S ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, speaking to the Economist Journalist Anne McElvoy noted that the Ukraine – Russian crisis is like no other. Yovanovitch notes that the West has stood together and given heroic support to Ukraine but must continue sending weapons to help the Ukrainians wage a better war. President Biden has been commended for walking the tight rope by giving Ukrainian aid without provoking the war. However, the refusal of Poland's request to send fighter jets to Ukraine by President Biden's administration is surprising.
Ukrainians have received support from the U.S, NATO, and other countries in missiles, drones, Stinger anti-aircraft systems, and other equipment. However, no anti-warship weapons have been given, considering that Russian warships have shelled Mariupol city and surrounding areas. The refusal to send F-16s, Patriot Anti-air and missile defense systems, Iron Dome and anti-ship defense systems are based on fears of escalation and nuclear war. Experts are warning that Ukraine's military may run out of supplies soon, which calls for the delivery of more powerful equipment.
NATO leaders summit in Brussels was held to show unity against Russia and unwavering support for Ukraine. At the summit, Ukraine President Zelenskyy asked for fighting equipment pitching for 1% of all NATO warplanes and tanks to help fight the war against Russia. Jen Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary general, argued that the request would shift the assistance from defensive weapons to offensive ones. He noted that providing lethal weapons would breach NATO's responsibility of preventing the conflict from becoming a full-fledged war in Europe.
The decision to provide only defensive weapons is considered a balanced act of preventing the war from becoming a full-blown conflict. However, there are fears that Russia will launch a biological or chemical weapons attack on Ukraine after failing to advance. Will such action result to direct intervention by NATO and the U.S? There should be a red line in the war, and Russia should not be allowed to have field days killing civilians without consequences. Russia is prepared to escalate its offensive and possibly occupy Ukraine without a red line.
Russia threatened nuclear war if NATO peacekeepers entered Ukraine to help the Ukraine military. The disturbing warnings were issued on Russia's state-controlled State TV, with other pro-Kremlin mouthpieces in the media claiming that Poland was preparing to put peacekeepers in Ukraine. Military Veteran Colonel-General Vladimir Shamanov called on President Putin to secure the borders between Ukraine and Poland. However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that Russia would only use nuclear weapons in the face of existential threat.
Former Intelligence analyst Dr. David Wright-Neville stated that the Ukraine invasion is not turning out well for Russia forcing the Kremlin government to lash out with threats. Russia has suffered heavy losses, with Western countries reporting Russian deaths to be between 7000-14,000 while over 30,000 have been injured. Dr. Wright warned that he was becoming concerned about a nuclear attack that would escalate the situation and lead to World War II. NATO and U.S have stated that they would respond if Putin used chemical weapons in Ukraine. NATO stated that they prepared to provide Ukraine with Equipment to protect against biological, radiological, chemical, and nuclear threats.
The majority of the decisions have been undertaken on fears that Russia may escalate and cause an outbreak of full-blown war with the West. Russian media and its puppet media outlets have been spreading misinformation to create fear for Russia and keep NATO and the U.S. out of the country. Dictator Putin's cronies have been in the media urging him to prepare Russian nukes and other nuclear weapons for deployment if the situation escalates. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has been the face of propaganda, making ludicrous allegations accusing Ukraine's government of killing its civilians to garner public support.
The sanctions imposed by other nations hurt Russia, but it has not been driven out of the war. More needs to be done to stop Russia from committing genocide in Ukraine, and the threats of the use of nuclear power or World War III should not be an excuse for NATO and U.S. Ukrainians are showing great courage and determination using the donated equipment to destroy Russian tanks and downing several fighter jets. However, more needs to be done to drive Russians out of Ukraine and protect civilians. The West should remind Russia that many countries have nuclear weapons, and starting a nuclear war would be disastrous even for Russia.
Nuclear wars should be avoided at any cost, but Russia should not use them to bully NATO and the U.S to silence the war crimes perpetrated by Russian troops in Ukraine cities. Russians utilize nuclear war threats as a shield to perpetrate crimes against other nations without any response from the rest of the world. After the U.S and European powers gave Ukraine weapons to fight the war against the invasion, the deputy foreign minister warned that the Russian military would target arms shipments. Russian threats should not deter Ukrainian support since it is a war that Russia started by invading a sovereign country with justification.
Mass killings of civilians should be a red line, and the world should send their weapons and any aid to help Ukraine.
Geofrey Robert is an experienced freelance researcher and writer with over five years of experience. He holds a Bachelor of law from Kenyatta University (Nairobi, Kenya). His research interests are: International law, Peace & Security, Conflict, humanitarian issues, and climate change. He worked as a peace and security news writer for Peacehumanity.org. and also contributed to their periodic PEACE MONITOR MAGAZINE as a peace researcher and writer focusing on the Israel-Palestine conflict.