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  • Why Ukraine must win

    Why Ukraine must win
    A decisive victory could transform the security of Europe

    When Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine he was not alone in thinking victory would be swift. Many Western analysts also expected Kyiv, the capital, to fall within 72 hours. Ukrainian valour and ingenuity confounded those assumptions. As the war enters its sixth week, the side that is contemplating victory is not Russia but Ukraine—and it would be a victory that redraws the map of European security.

    Speaking to The Economist in Kyiv on March 25th, President Volodymyr Zelensky explained how people power is the secret to Ukraine’s resistance and why the war is shifting in his nation’s favour. “We believe in victory,” he declared. “This is our home, our land, our independence. It’s just a question of time.”

    The battlefield is starting to tell the same story as the president. After several weeks in which the Russian assault stalled, Ukrainian forces have begun to counter-attack. On March 29th Russia said that it will “fundamentally cut back” the northern campaign. Its retreat may well be only tactical, but Russia has in effect conceded that, for the moment, it cannot take Kyiv.

    Yet a lot of Ukraine remains in Russian hands, including the strip of land on the southern coast that the Russians now claim was their focus all along. A large chunk of the Ukrainian army, in the Donbas region, is vulnerable to encirclement. Nobody should underestimate Russian firepower. Even if its forces are depleted and demoralised they can dig in. Victory for Ukraine means keeping its Donbas brigades intact and using them to deny Russia a secure hold on occupied territory.

    For that, Mr Zelensky told us, the West must impose tougher sanctions on Russia and supply more weapons, including aircraft and tanks. Sanctions deplete Russia’s ability to sustain a long war. Arms help Ukraine take back territory. But NATO countries are refusing to provide him with what he wants. Given what is at stake, for the West as well as Ukraine, that betrays a reprehensible failure of strategic vision.

    For Ukraine, a decisive victory would deter yet another Russian invasion. The more convincingly Ukraine can see off the Russian army, the more able it will be to resist the compromises that could poison the peace. Victory would also be the best basis for launching a post-war democratic state that is less corrupted by oligarchs and Russian infiltration.

    The prize for the West would be almost as great. Not only could Ukraine invigorate the cause of democracy, but it would also enhance European security. During 300 years of imperialism, Russia has repeatedly been at war in Europe. Sometimes, as with Poland and Finland, it was the invader. Other times, as with Nazi Germany and Napoleonic France, it was seen as a lethal threat and itself fell victim to aggression.

    A strong, democratic Ukraine would thwart Russia’s expansionism—because its borders would be secure. In the short term an angry, defeated dictator would be left in the Kremlin, but eventually Russia, following Ukraine’s example, would be more likely to solve its problems by reform at home rather than adventures abroad. As it did so, NATO would become correspondingly less of a drain on budgets and diplomacy. The United States would be freer to attend to its growing rivalry with China.

    Alas, much of the West seems blind to this historic chance. America is leading as it must, even if it vetoed sending Ukraine aircraft. But Germany is taking a short-term view of sanctions, balancing pressure from its allies and public opinion against the preservation of its trading links with Russia, the supplier of much of its oil and natural gas. France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, claims to speak for Western allies when he argues that to supply the heavy weapons Ukraine needs would turn them into “co-belligerents”. Mr Zelensky accuses such countries of being either short-sighted or timorous. He is right.

    Perhaps Germany doubts that Ukraine can leave behind its post-Soviet past. It is true that, after the Maidan protests established democracy in 2014, the country was unable to slough off its corruption and political inertia. And after being pounded by Russian artillery, Ukraine’s economy will be in ruins. However, the eucan help ensure that this time is different by starting work on Ukrainian membership right now. There could be no greater affirmation of the eu’s founding mission to create peace on a continent ravaged by war.

    Bringing Ukraine’s governance in line with the eu’s will necessarily be lengthy and bureaucratic. The risk is that Brussels strings Ukraine along, as if Europe is deigning to let it join. Instead, the eu should welcome Ukraine eagerly, as eastern Europe was welcomed when it shook off Soviet domination in the early 1990s. That calls for generous aid to rebuild the economy, as well as political support and patience.

    The other worry is Mr Macron’s: that NATO will provoke Russia. From the start of this war, when he spoke of “consequences…such as you have never seen in your entire history”, Mr Putin has hinted that Western involvement could lead to the use of nuclear weapons. Wisely, the West has therefore been clear that NATO will not fight against Russian forces—because, if they did, the war could spin out of control, with catastrophic results.

    Yet backing away from Mr Putin’s nuclear-tinged threat entails risks, too. Limiting Ukrainian aid would abet Russia in imposing an unstable—and hence temporary—peace on Mr Zelensky. It would reward Mr Putin for his threats, setting up his next act of atomic aggression. By contrast, more powerful weapons and sanctions would mark a change in the degree of aid, but not its kind. And this week, facing Ukrainian success, Russia paused the campaign in the north, rather than escalate. For all those reasons, the best deterrence is for NATO to stand up to Mr Putin’s veiled threat, and make clear that a nuclear or chemical atrocity would lead to Russia’s utter isolation.

    Lift up your eyes
    Conflict is unpredictable. History is littered with wars that were meant to be short but which dragged on for years. Ukraine has won the first phase of this one simply by surviving. Now it needs to advance, and so Mr Zelensky needs redoubled Western help. It would be terrible if what stood between a bad peace and a good one was a failure of imagination in the capitals of Europe. ■

    Watch the full interview with Mr Zelensky, read the transcript, and get a look inside the war room. For more of our recent coverage of the Ukraine crisis, visit our dedicated hub.

    For subscribers only: to see how we design each week’s cover, sign up to our weekly Cover Story newsletter


  • #2
    I’m rooting for Russia

    Comment


    • #3
      Why look! It's a fly covered ball of shit!

      Click image for larger version

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      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Agent Zero View Post
        I’m rooting for Russia
        Why haven't you moved there yet? I read today that young Russian men are now being drafted to fight Putin's war.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Blueflame View Post

          Why haven't you moved there yet? I read today that young Russian men are now being drafted to fight Putin's war.
          I’ve been moved to Russia for a while now

          keep up

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Agent Zero View Post
            I’ve been moved to Russia for a while now

            keep up
            Then your username should be "Comrade Zero".

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Blueflame View Post

              Then your username should be "Comrade Zero".
              Change it for me

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Agent Zero View Post

                Change it for me
                You'd need to PM Dom for that...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Now they've found mass graves in a town that Russians just evacuated, estimated to contain 300 bodies, all shot.



                  That should make for a good "joke" for some of the pissants and punks. Maybe it's because they spend their lives in the make-believe world of video games and have no connection to real life? Drained of empathy. Why do we make so many zombie movies? Because we are creating a generation of zombies. You're an incel because you have renounced your humanity.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Blueflame View Post

                    Why haven't you moved there yet? I read today that young Russian men are now being drafted to fight Putin's war.
                    he is just trying to get on your nerves with the Putin/Russia stuff. Notice he has 'heil Putin' as his quote which a real Putin supporter wouldn't say. Saying that in Russia would get you in jail since its a connection between Putin and Hitler the Nazi.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by uplink View Post

                      he is just trying to get on your nerves with the Putin/Russia stuff. Notice he has 'heil Putin' as his quote which a real Putin supporter wouldn't say. Saying that in Russia would get you in jail since its a connection between Putin and Hitler the Nazi.
                      Yep -- he's just openly trolling. Anyone saying "Heil Putin" in Russia would be well-advised to avoid going above the second floor of any building, as Putin's enemies often mysteriously fall out of windows.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Blueflame View Post

                        Yep -- he's just openly trolling. Anyone saying "Heil Putin" in Russia would be well-advised to avoid going above the second floor of any building, as Putin's enemies often mysteriously fall out of windows.
                        Since we have now entered the realm of atrocities, "trolling" is just too benign a term for it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Roh View Post

                          Since we have now entered the realm of atrocities, "trolling" is just too benign a term for it.
                          Certainly, there has been an appalling human cost for Putin's aggression -- the man needs to face justice at The Hague for his war crimes.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Blueflame View Post

                            Certainly, there has been an appalling human cost for Putin's aggression -- the man needs to face justice at The Hague for his war crimes.
                            Or get tossed off a ten story building.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Roh View Post

                              Or get tossed off a ten story building.
                              Pretty much whatever it takes to stop his atrocities and ensure that he is not able to continue -- because it seems pretty evident to me that he wouldn't stop his aggressions with just Ukraine.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                European grievances dating back centuries could do us all in. Great.

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                                • #17
                                  Ukraine needs to increase its vaccination rate

                                  putin is doing the world a favor by ending the pandemic. Why would anyone cheer for unvaccinated plague rats

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Blueflame View Post

                                    Yep -- he's just openly trolling. Anyone saying "Heil Putin" in Russia would be well-advised to avoid going above the second floor of any building, as Putin's enemies often mysteriously fall out of windows.
                                    If tRump were to call in an airstrike on Agent Falco's own trailer park, then troll boy would support tRump just to "trigger the libs."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Small brains are easily amused. Incels are incels because they act like incels. This truth never occurs to them.

                                      Comment

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