War in East Europe
Contrary to global expectation and when Pakistan Prime Minister was in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered full fledged military operation against Ukraine eight years after a pro-European protest movement toppled a Kremlin-backed president in Kyiv which fomented it to launch a grinding war in the country’s east. By air, land, and sea, Russia launched a devastating attack on Ukraine, a European democracy of 44 million people. For months Putin had denied he would invade his neighbour, but then he tore up a peace deal, sending forces across borders in Ukraine’s north, east and south. As the number of dead climbs, he is now accused of endangering peace in Europe and what happens next could jeopardise the continent’s entire security structure. Moments before the invasion began, Putin went on TV declaring that Russia could not feel “safe, develop and exist” because of what he called a constant threat from modern Ukraine. Many of his arguments false or irrational, as he claimed his goal was to protect people subjected to bullying and genocide and aim for the “demilitarisation and denazification” of Ukraine. There has been no genocide in Ukraine and it is a vibrant democracy led by a president who is Jewish. “How could I be a Nazi?” said Volodymr Zelensky, who likened Russia’s onslaught to Nazi Germany’s invasion in World War Two. Putin has frequently accused Ukraine of being taken over by extremists, ever since its pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted in 2014 after months of protests against his rule. Russia then retaliated by seizing the southern region of Crimea and triggering a rebellion in the east by Russian-backed separatists who have fought Ukrainian forces in a war that has claimed 14,000 lives. For now it is unclear if Russia’s leader seeks to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected government. The Kremlin has refused to say, although it believes that ideally Ukraine should be “freed, cleansed of the Nazis”. However, by invading from Belarus and near Kharkiv in the north Putin has indicated his aims go well beyond the eastern areas hit by eight years of war. Nato has put warplanes on alert but the Western alliance has made clear there are no plans to send combat troops to Ukraine itself. Instead they have offered Ukraine advisers, weapons and field hospitals.