The Platform

Ukrainian soldier.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has been vulnerable to various challenges owing to its geographical location and historical baggage.

Post-independence Ukraine looked toward the West for trade and investments and was moving away from Russia. The Kremlin, on the other hand, was reshaping its foreign policy to regain its former territory.

Until very recently, Ukraine was the breadbasket of the world. In 2010, it produced close to 50 million tonnes of grain, just under half of which was exported. “But over the next 10 to 15 years the country aimed to triple its export capacity, to become one of the major suppliers, perhaps even the top supplier, for the main importing countries around the Mediterranean,” observed Jean-Jacques Hervé, a former adviser to the Ukrainian ministry of agriculture.

However, the top producer of grain was shattered by the invasion of Russia in its eastern region where Moscow supported the rebels who wanted Ukraine to become part of Russia. Russia provided the rationale that Eastern Ukrainians share the same language, culture, and historical background with Russia.

Russia also influenced the government led by Viktor Yanukovych, the former president, to make deals such as defense agreements and sharing natural resources with Russia ignoring the populace who wanted Ukraine to conclude free trade agreements with the European Union.

Along the same lines, Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, which is still internationally recognized as a part of Ukraine. Russia now governs Crimea ignoring the UN charter which disallows illegal annexation.

In February, Russia invaded Ukraine under the false pretext that Ukraine was a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity. This unwanted invasion brought the once large exporter of grain to shackles and so far more than four thousand civilians have been killed. According to the UN refugee agency, Over 6.7 million people have fled to other countries, while more than 7.7 million have been internally displaced. Thus defying peace in Ukraine.

The United States and its allies need to look for practical steps on war footing to help defeat Russia on the battlefield. Although economic sanctions on Russia may slow down its aggression but to curb the whole menace of invasion, Russia needs to be curtailed on every front to give way to peace in Ukraine.

Ali Haider is currently a Customs Inspector with Pakistan Customs. Ali has a keen interest in global affairs.