A protester holds a Ukrainian flag during a rally in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine outside Saints Volodymyr. (Photo| AP)
A protester holds a Ukrainian flag during a rally in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine outside Saints Volodymyr. (Photo| AP)

No justification for Putin's Ukraine adventure

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent battle tanks rolling into the highways of Ukraine not only from his land borders but also from that of his puppet state Belarus.

In a completely unjustified demonstration of regional hegemony, Russia on Thursday launched a massive invasion of Ukraine. Under the false flag of protecting civilians in rebel-held territories, it launched a series of missile and artillery strikes, later claiming it had taken out Ukrainian defence systems. Thumbing his nose at the UN Security Council that was in a last-ditch session to make better sense prevail, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent battle tanks rolling into the highways of Ukraine not only from his land borders but also from that of his puppet state Belarus.

In an ominous warning to the US and NATO that he was prepared to deploy hypersonic missiles, he said weapons without parallel have been put on combat duty. And with NATO refusing to put boots on Ukrainian soil, the nation’s military doesn’t have a ghost of a chance against the infinitely superior invader. Obviously, the crippling economic sanctions that the US, the UK and the EU have started imposing mean little to a despot with an elephantine ego who has no respect for international law.

Actually, Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are two of a kind. Both have bent their respective rulebooks to stay perpetually in power. They are warmongers out to crush neighbours into submission and have played the nationalism card to suit their supreme personal interests. Weaponising the cyberworld to poke their noses in the internal affairs of other nations is their favourite pastime. With the US and NATO showing no appetite for being a credible counterweight - the chaotic drawdown of troops from Afghanistan is the latest example - both are having a free run. It is a different matter that the diminishing profile of the US as a global cop is a positive development. But the developments are ominous for Taiwan, which can expect fresh turbulence. And the occupying Chinese force on the Ladakh border could get more aggressive.

India predictably has chosen to react cautiously. It is on good terms with both Russia and the US. That the turmoil will slow down its economy, which is partially on the mend, is a given. Besides, hardening Western sanctions could cripple defence imports from Russia. India needs to weigh options and take a position that serves its supreme national interest while not legitimising invasion.

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The New Indian Express
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