Why I do not shed tears for the Ukrainian President

As President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy should have known the limits of pushing his counterpart beyond a point also should have been realistic about the strength and weakness of his defence forces.

Published: 27th March 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th March 2022 12:49 AM   |  A+A-

Since February 24, Ukrainians have been living through a nightmare, not known to human history since World War II. Cities of Kherson, Mariupol, Kharkiv and scores of towns are under relentless attack from Russian tanks, artillery, missiles and bombing. Capital Kyiv is under siege and its suburbs are bleeding under brutal firepower. Two of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants have been rendered non-functional, its armament factories, ammunition dumps, reconnaissance centres and airfields destroyed and infrastructure facilities, including roads, bridges, steel and metallurgical plants and fuel silos, damaged beyond repairs.

The human cost is even more staggering. A fifth of 44 million Ukrainians, are internally displaced and hiding in schools, hospitals, bunkers, underground parking areas, make-shift camps and bomb shelters but everyone has not been lucky to escape death. A huge number of residential and office complexes have been flattened, killing their inmates. Children (613) and elderly people (1,200) have also not been spared. Cities like Mariupol have turned into a wasteland, with buildings charred and streets strewn with dead bodies. Those who are still alive have little or no access to clean water, heat, food, electricity and medical care. It is estimated that more than 3,000 civilians and 7,000 soldiers have so far been killed and 4,800 injured. Those (3.8 million) who could manage to flee, have taken shelter in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania.

This is the hell that Volodymyr Zelenskyy has led his people to. Even now, he daily makes xenophobic calls to soldiers and civilians to fight till the end and seeks military assistance to punish Putin. As President, he should have known the limits of pushing his counterpart beyond a point, been realistic about the strength and weakness of his defence forces vis-a-vis the Russians and aware of the nature of involvement of European nations and the US in case of a war. If joining NATO was Putin’s red herring, he should have avoided raising a fanfare of his intent aggressively. Given their acrimonious relationship, his eagerness to equip his army with US and NATO hardware and become a storekeeper of their missiles is baffling. Strangely, he learnt nothing from the Russian occupation of Crimea.

True, sanctions—some funny and some tweaked—have started biting the Russian economy. True, the Russian Army is suffering heavily. But does that alleviate the unspeakable miseries of Ukrainians? A good leader should know when to retreat but not Zelensky, who has been a victim of his distorted ambitions. Look at PM Modi who shunned his ego, apologised and withdrew farm laws when farmers’ agitation began grievously hurting people and the economy. Hence, my tears are reserved for Ukrainians and not for him.

Amar Bhushan


Former special secretary, Research and Analysis Wing


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  • Sunil Gupta

    @Amar. Then why don't you retreat and allow the Chinese to take over Indian territory Ladak..
    10 months ago reply
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