Repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict: The successive crises created a new Afghanistan model in Europe

 Basma Anwar           

Researcher in international relations

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, most of the countries of the eastern camp rushed to reconcile with the western camp, which includes “the United States, NATO and the European Union” and ally with it, and Washington supported their joining the European Union and NATO, but Russia took a side and clung to its position as a superpower, although it did not It becomes so after the fall of the Soviet Union, where the West views Russia as too strong to be fought and less efficient and prestige than to be recognized as an international pole or a superpower as it was before the fall of the Soviet Union, where NATO member states agree that “any attack on any A member state of the alliance is an attack on all members and that it will stand together with any member state exposed to external aggression, so all member states stand in the face of Moscow, Through this study, we will explain the reasons behind the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the necessity that prompted “Putin” to resort to war and his exclusion of peaceful means, which led to the reproduction of a new Afghanistan quagmire in the heart of the European continent, as this war is very dangerous to the stability of the European continent, but rather the world as a whole.                                                    

The penetration of the Western camp towards Europe ignited the wildfire:

  The current world is based on  unipolarity  and  American  hegemony, which impedes Russian endeavors to ascend to the polar sky. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the Russian leadership sought reconciliation and cooperation with the West in what concerns the interests of both parties, both in terms of “European and global security” alike, but the Western powers It did not show its desire to cooperate with it, and on the other hand, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization continued to penetrate into the countries of the former Soviet Union, one country after another.

On the other hand, the European Union invited the countries of the Soviet Union to join it, and many of the countries of the Union responded to its temptation, but Russia could not agree or obstruct that accession, and Moscow took a new step with the West by signing the “Partnership Program for Peace” in 1993, which Through it, Russia was supposed to participate in the common European security system and to be accepted as a member of the European Union at a later time, but that did not happen, but rather it was excluded.                                                             

And it was among the objectives of the alliance – NATO – to confront the communist threat at a time when the Soviet Union was seeking to spread its influence in the European continent and other regions, and the “North Atlantic Treaty Organization” stated that it seeks its primary goal, which is to preserve [the freedoms, common heritage and civilizations of its member states from The way to enhance the stability and safety of the North Atlantic region] This is according to the Charter of the Alliance, where it stipulated in Article 2 of it that: “The member states undertake to work to strengthen their cultural, economic and social relations, in order to support cooperation between countries so that they can confront the communist current. They also undertake to work to stabilize internal conditions In their countries and spreading prosperity.” And Article Three of it stipulated the adoption of the “principle of mutual cooperation” to strengthen the capabilities of individual and collective member states in repelling any armed aggression that falls on them. Any armed attack on one of the countries is considered an armed attack on all member states. Likewise, the right of individual and collective legal defense must be initiated in accordance with Article (51) of the Charter of the E.H. The United Nations, especially since among the principles on which the alliance is based [not to enter into agreements that conflict with this treaty], and among the most prominent goals included in the Charter, which reflect the real reasons for which it was established: [Work to resist any armed attack, individually or collectively With all possible means of special readiness and joint cooperation between them, and on the geographical scale, Europe is generally considered the most important work area of the alliance – NATO – along with the lands belonging to the member states of the alliance.                                                                     

For all these reasons, Russia categorically rejects Ukraine’s accession to the alliance, considering that this accession is a threat that threatens it all the time and may attack it at any moment, because it will place NATO on Russia’s western borders, which would turn Ukraine into an additional place for the work of the alliance, which would result in That if any conflict occurs between “Kyiv and Moscow” it will put the latter in direct confrontation with NATO and that moment that the alliance is waiting for to pounce on the Russian bear and kill it, so this matter is like a lump in Russia’s throat and it cannot accept it in any way.                                     

It is worth noting that the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization came at a time when Western countries were afraid of the expansion of the Soviet bloc in Europe, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the alliance – NATO – lost the basic justification for its existence after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, which was parallel to it, and from that time the alliance uses His defensive shield to justify a policy of “proactive response” to events that fall outside its traditional influence, under the pretext that any state of chaos that occurs in Europe may pose a danger or threat to the countries joining under its banner.                                  

In 1994, NATO offered to the member states of the former Warsaw Pact to join the “Participation for Peace Program”, which allows them to participate in military exercises, peacekeeping operations and exchange of information, but this program confirmed Russia’s fears that NATO represents an increasing threat to its security and sovereignty. Russian fears multiplied in 1999, when the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary became the first countries of the former Soviet camp to actually join the alliance, which pushed the borders of the alliance to crawl towards the east with a distance of 400 kilometers.                                                       

Russia was not satisfied with the expansion of the alliance in early 2004, which placed NATO near the Russian borders, in addition to the deterioration of relations between them significantly after the war that Russia waged with Georgia in August 2008, and the alliance announced at the time that cooperation with Moscow would be suspended until Russia withdraws its troops from Georgian territory.                              

During Barack Obama’s presidency, relations between Russia and NATO improved in January 2009, and NATO announced in March of that year its intention to resume high-level contacts with Moscow.                      

But soon the relations between them deteriorated again after Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimea peninsula and accused it of supporting the separatists loyal to it in eastern Ukraine. These developments would have given the alliance, which some considered to be a relic of the Cold War, a great importance that it lacked before that time.                                       

The Secretary-General of NATO, “Linzesto Littenberg,” said at the time that the Ukrainian crisis reminds us of the importance of the alliance and that the principle of collective defense has become more important due to the Russian endeavor to use force to change the borders on the European continent.                                                  

And with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the conflict escalated between the Ukrainian forces and the separatists loyal to Moscow and the denominated ones before it, despite its vehement denials, which caused a crack in the relations between it and Ukraine and the Western camp alike. By other countries, in addition to imposing heavy sanctions on Russia for its occupation of Crimea.                                                                              

These agreements were a glimmer of hope to try to defuse the crisis and quell its escalating lip, but oon one of the two parties to the conflict – Cusco and Kiev – penetrates it, which fuels the situation on the Ukrainian border again.                                                                                                

Despite Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia does not want it to have limited sovereignty, and Russia plays the role of guardianship over Ukraine in its sovereign decisions, especially in its sovereign decision of its desire to join NATO, so Mosseau interdicted it in this regard and did not let it have the freedom to act in it and stood Flames during any attempt to join the alliance.                                         

And Russia announced that it would not allow it to do so, accusing Kyiv of not adhering to the neutrality that it recognized in its constitution after independence in 1991, and from the beginning of December 2021, Putin repeatedly and seriously asks the United States of America not to allow Ukraine to join the alliance or receive military aid, but it did not agree with that, in addition to not NATO acquiesces to Moscow’s demands. 

Russia concerns:

It becomes clear that both sides of the conflict – Moscow and Kyiv – in addition to the countries of the Western camp, are striving to achieve their goals and protect their interests.                                                         

In view of the United States of America and NATO, which seeks to deepen its roots in the European continent and its strong will to annex Ukraine to it, which makes it as close as possible to the Russian Federation and its presence near it as a pressure card that it possesses so that it will not allow Moscow to think to ascend to the polar sky, but rather it will be in its position even if it excels On the United States of America “economically and politically” On the other hand, it will put Russia between the jaws of the alliance, if it makes a mistake, it will never escape, and this will reassure the horror of NATO, which fears that the Soviet Union will return again to the political arena if Russia manages to control all the lands Ukraine.                                                                    

On the American side, it will not choose a military solution because it knows that it will cost it a lot, especially as it works that Moscow is a huge military and nuclear power and it is wrong to confront it, in addition to that Washington does not have direct interests in the region, which pushes it to engage in this adventure and enter into a major war of this size. Therefore, Biden contented himself with threats to Moscow with “unprecedented economic sanctions,” which would have dire consequences for the Russian economy if a Ukrainian was attacked, in addition to his repeated threat to increase military support for Ukraine, including supplying it with advanced and lethal offensive weapons, and hinted that it would strengthen the presence The US military is in the NATO countries in the region, and therefore it is clear that Washington is avoiding involvement in a direct military clash with Moscow, which may cost it a lot.                                                                                                   

As for the Russian Federation, which is the most important axis in this struggle, as it is evident that it seeks to curtail the expansion of NATO and its expansion towards the east, warning it of approaching its borders by including Ukraine as a member of it, which is what Putin called “the red lines of Russia” because by that, “Kyiv” will become a field of action NATO, and this would cause its forces and military equipment to be present on its soil in a large way, and therefore Moscow rushed to mobilize its military forces massively to warn it that it is ready for confrontation if this happens, and it will supply an irreparable blow if it is attacked by the alliance – NATO – Or the United States of America, that is, it presents its military forces as indirect warning messages that it waves to anyone who dares to approach it. It refused to merge with it as a close ally, and preferred to turn to the western camp and merge with it, seeking to join NATO, and this matter will not be accepted by Russia in anyway.                                                  

Where Putin believes that NATO has violated his verbal agreements that he presented to him in the nineties of the last century, by criticizing his promises to it that the military bloc led by the United States of America would not advance one inch to the east and not accept the former republics and the countries of the former Warsaw Pact as its members, so Russia You see that it has been subjected to a great deception by the alliance, especially after its presence in Poland and the establishment of offensive weapons in it, and Moscow believes that if the alliance was able to include Ukraine as a member, even if it was not officially, it would be able to deploy its weapons there.                                                                

Moscow believes that the Western camp seeks to curtail and undermine it and their refusal to treat it as an ally, but the most it fears is its sense of their attempts to dismantle the country, so it clings to security guarantees and will not accept negotiation with it. On the other hand, it is holding on to the limited Ukrainian sovereignty by not allowing it to crawl out from under its hands and join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This is in addition to its repeated request for NATO to prevent the United States of America from establishing new bases in the Soviet republics.               

In view of the current Russian-Ukrainian situation, during the past few months, we find that the developments of the situation are heading towards the worst with the Russian escalation, which mobilized tens of thousands of Russian forces as a display of its military capabilities, which destabilized the European region, which it considers the largest escalation the region has witnessed in more than 70 years.                                       

Therefore, there were fears of an actual war, the drums of which had already sounded in the Donbass region, which caused dire consequences that might affect the entire European region. For this reason, the years 2021 and 2022 witnessed several discussions with Russia and other international parties as attempts to stop the bloodshed flowing on the Ukrainian borders. framework of the “Minsk Agreement.                       “

Russia hastened to present two documents to the “United States and NATO” to negotiate Russian security guarantees with the aim of the latter obtaining documented and long-term guarantees. Several discussions were held at the beginning of the new year 2022 between Russia and both “the United States of America, NATO and the European Security Organization”, But the result of these talks is zero for all parties, and they only reap more Russian intransigence and multiply the threats of sanctions that will fall on the Russian side in the event of an invasion of Ukraine. to NATO, which would lead to the presence of NATO forces on its borders with Ukraine, which represents a serious threat to its security, and in return Ukraine clung to joining NATO and supported it in that decision NATO – along with the United States of America, in addition to the latter’s threat to Russia to supply The Ukrainian side with lethal weapons. If it invaded, Russia ignored the threats of the international community and attempted to invade Ukraine and spread its forces in all corners of the country. It constitutes a flagrant violation of the Ukrainian sovereignty over its territory.                                                                           

The peak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict:

All attempts to calm down and defuse the crisis at all levels in the Ukrainian border region failed, as a result of the parties to the conflict not complying with the points of the “Minsk” agreement, especially from the Russian side, and the agreements concluded over the previous years to try to find solutions to the crisis, stop the fighting, and bring the parties closer, through the mediation of other international parties. , Therefore, the situation on the southeastern Ukrainian borders went between calm and conflict from time to time without reaching a definitive solution to the conflict and ending it.                                                                             

Since the beginning of 2021, the intensity of the conflict has intensified, while armed incidents have intensified in parallel between the Kyiv forces and the separatists, and its index has taken an upward trend, which predicted the events that took place in this year to speculation of a war that might beat its drums at the beginning of the new year 2022, as Ukraine has previously expressed Concerned about the possibility of an imminent invasion.                                                                                       

The head of Ukrainian Military Intelligence, “Kirilo Budanov,” announced in an interview with the American newspaper “Military Times” that Russia had mobilized about 92,000 soldiers at the Ukrainian border, expecting an attack in late January or early February of the new year, and he made it clear that he had According to Budanov, the expected attack will include air strikes and artillery shelling, followed by air and amphibious attacks, especially on Mariupol, in addition to a smaller incursion into the north through neighboring Belarus.              

On the Russian side, it denies any plan in this regard and in turn accuses Kyiv, NATO and the Westerners of fueling tension by carrying out military maneuvers near the Russian borders, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated that Moscow has no intention of “interfering” in Ukraine, and this What Moscow did before, prior to its occupation of Crimea, as Kyiv and its Western allies accused Russia of sending troops and weapons across the border in support of the separatists, something Moscow denied. As a result, the war broke out between the pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian forces in the east of the country, resulting in about 13,000 deaths since 2014.                                                                 

Zelensky confirmed that he had received guarantees from his Western allies that “they will be by our side no matter what happens and that they” will support us.                                                                                            

A geopolitical struggle behind the curtain of the Ukrainian crisis:

(Russia, the United States of America, NATO and the European Union)

Before the Russian invasion, the West agreed that Russia was preparing for military action against Ukraine, and Moscow responded in the negative, stressing that there were no threats from the deployment and movement of its military forces on its territory, and no one should be disturbed by that. The Kremlin indicated in several statements that these allegations are used As an excuse to put more military equipment and NATO forces on the Russian borders, I repeatedly criticized this matter, as the Russian Deputy Defense Minister, “Alexander Fomin,” indicated that there are 13,000 NATO soldiers stationed permanently in Eastern Europe alone, 200 tanks, and 30 aircraft and helicopters, and on the other side NATO believes that these measures are intended as deterrence in the face of Russia’s hostile policy, especially with regard to the Ukrainian crisis. The alliance also criticizes Russia’s reinforcement of the presence of its forces on the borders with Ukraine.                                                  

As a result, Ukraine has become a chessboard between Russia, the United States of America, NATO, and European countries, and through it the Western camp moves its threatening games to pressure the Russian bear to back down from any military action against Ukraine, but there are those who move their stones on the Ukrainian chessboard to achieve goals that serve their geopolitical interests in the region On the other hand, Russia is trying to thwart any attempts to put pressure on it in order to protect its national security from the danger of the Western camp, which is creeping towards it through incursions into European countries and is about to approach its borders, which is moving its stones to control all the players on the board, led by the Union Therefore, the Russian Defense Minister, Alexander Fomin, warned of the danger of an armed conflict in light of the tensions between Russia and NATO, where he said: “The alliance has recently adopted its provocative practice, which directly represented A great danger threatens to expand the scope of the matter to turn into an armed conflict, and he stated that NATO has increased its military activities significantly, noting that the number of military sorties T carried out on the borders of Russia in 2020 alone, it increased from 436 to 710, and every year NATO performs 30 major maneuvers that include war scenarios against Russia, so Putin warned NATO of dire consequences if he continued to approach its borders and demanded security guarantees and put an end to the expansion of the alliance east. He repeated his warning of the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO.                                                                                             

Fomin said that NATO had abandoned cooperation projects with Russia to focus its efforts on “deterring” Moscow militarily. In recent years, the focus has been on military deterrence, unlike the previous period, in which there was greater interest in cooperation projects in which the alliance sees its interest, and as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov indicated that NATO is increasing the supply of weapons to Kyiv, and the number of Western trainers has increased in Ukraine, noting that this could prompt the Ukrainian authorities to carry out “military adventures” and use weapons in their confrontation, which creates a direct threat to its security.                                                                                                       

On the other hand, since the Ukrainian-Russian crisis, the banks of the Black Sea have become an arena for military mobilization between Moscow on the one hand and NATO on the other in support of Kiev, where Putin confirmed that NATO’s expansion towards the east and the deployment of offensive weapons there represent Moscow’s red lines, and Putin expressed motives His concern about NATO’s movements, saying: “They pushed us to a line where we no longer have room to retreat, and we can no longer move back.” He referred to his concerns, which lie in the continuation of NATO’s expansion towards the east, as he added, “The West brought its missiles to our doorstep, and therefore Provide security guarantees to us here and immediately”.                                    

He warned, “Putin” that NATO – NATO – missile systems in Ukraine will mean that he will be able to target the Russian capital in only four to five minutes, asking: “Where should we move in these circumstances, they put us in a situation where we have to say.” Stand up.” In this regard, Russia proposed to the United States and NATO to sign two agreements to establish a system of security guarantees in order to achieve a military balance with Europe. As soon as possible, as these proposals require intensifying coordination between the two parties in order to avoid any serious military incidents and limit the deployment of strategic weapons such as heavy bombers and medium and short-range missiles in specific areas, with NATO’s pledge not to continue its expansion to the east and not to grant Ukraine membership in it, and in a step that contradicts nature Confidentiality of diplomatic discussions. Russia published the two drafts. At one point in the project, Moscow proposes that NATO provide guarantees to Russia that would exclude further progress by the alliance in the eastern direction. In particular to the Ukrainian territory.

Russian fears lie that the West will take advantage of any initiative on its part to continue its subversive activities that aim to create threats to the Russian domain from the territories of its neighboring countries, and “Putin” responded to a question asked to him about what Moscow’s military-technical response would be if both Washington and NATO did not listen to his envoys. Her concern, saying: “Our response may be completely different and will depend on the recommendations that will be made by our military experts”                                                                       

Where the Secretary-General of the Alliance, “Jens Stoltenberg,” rejected a request submitted by Russia to the alliance on the same day of its submission, through which I requested that the alliance officially cancel its decision issued in 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia could join the alliance, and he said during.                                                                        

Evidence of the Russian invasion:

The White House stated that it is preparing a set of initiatives aimed at protecting Ukraine from a Russian attack, as Washington accused Moscow of mobilizing forces on the borders and preparing for a military invasion. During Russia’s surprise exercises near Ukraine’s borders, plans included massive movements of 100 tactical battalions with an estimated 175,000 personnel, in addition to armor, artillery, and equipment. US intelligence documents, which include satellite imagery, reveal Russian forces massing. In 4 locations, where about 50 tactical groups have been deployed, while “Kyiv” stated that Russia has nearly 100,000 soldiers, and expects the number to double, and on the Russian side, the aim of these initiatives is to make it very difficult for Putin to He does what people fear he will do.                                                                                  

Washington does not hide its support for Kiev, as it has pledged complete transparency in the talks with Russia. Ukrainian President Zelensky said that the United States has evidence that Russia intends to launch an attack on Ukraine. He continued, saying: “In recent weeks, Russia has intensified plans to launch action.” Possible military action in Ukraine, including the deployment of tens of thousands of additional combat forces near the Ukrainian border. The Russian Foreign Minister responded by saying that the United States surrounds his country with military bases from all sides, hinting at a response when needed and that he does not tolerate that.                                                                              

At the same time, US Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said: “We are decisive in our message to Moscow that if they take steps to destabilize Ukraine and use their forces to attack it, there will be serious economic steps and sanctions that did not happen in the past,” and emphasized that The United States can contribute to settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine, despite the fact that negotiations over Donbass have reached a dead end, especially because the parties did not comply with many points in the “Minsk” agreement. The White House also announced that it would impose a series of economic sanctions, double military aid to Ukraine, and strengthen the deployment of SCO member states. NATO along the eastern side of Europe if Russia attacks Ukraine.                                                                                           

On the Ukrainian level, Kyiv is seeking US military support in the face of Russia, where it applied for security assistance, and the request includes military assistance to Ukraine to confront the forces of the Russian Federation that are massing near its borders, where Ukrainian officials said that there is a need to strengthen the military force to confront Moscow’s threats Any possible Russian attack was reported.                

Russia has criticized the West’s rejection of Russia’s “red lines” with regard to Ukraine, and explained how NATO’s expansion has caused great threats to Russia’s doorsteps, so Moscow will not tolerate Ukraine’s potential membership with NATO, which Russia considers a hostile military violation of it, saying: “It is necessary Pressure for serious and long-term guarantees that guarantee Russia’s security in this region, because Russia can keep thinking constantly about what might happen there”.                                                                                                      

Despite warnings from the United States and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “NATO” that any invasion by Russia of Ukraine would have “dire economic consequences”, the British army chief described the Russian military build-up on the border with neighboring Ukraine as “extremely worrying.                                           “

Western intelligence agencies have estimated that Russia already has up to 100,000 troops stationed near the border with Ukraine, along with tanks and artillery.                                                                                       

The Western intelligence official said that if Russia chose to launch an offensive, it could do so, but said Russian forces massed on the border were still missing some crucial elements of the battle such as full logistical support, ammunition stocks, field hospitals and blood banks. He described the Russian military build-up as an “escalation”. slow to apply pressure.                                                                                                       

Washington indicated that the number of forces massed on the Russian-Ukrainian ridge may rise to 175,000 by the end of January 2022.        

In conclusion

it becomes clear that both sides of the conflict – Moscow and Kyiv – in addition to the countries of the Western camp, which seek to achieve their goals and protect their interests.                 

In view of the United States of America and NATO, who seek to deepen their roots in the European continent and their strong will to annex Ukraine to them, which makes them as close as possible to the Russian Federation and their presence near it is a pressure card possessed by both parties – America and NATO – so that they will not allow Moscow to think to rise to the polar sky, but rather It will remain in its position even if it surpasses the United States of America “economically and politically”. On the other hand, Russia will be between the jaws of the alliance. If it makes a mistake, it will never escape deterrence from the Western camp. On the political scene if Russia managed to control all the Ukrainian lands.                                                                                           

By reading the chapters of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and its development, the international community was expecting an imminent war between the two parties to the conflict, despite Russia’s repeated denials in this regard as it mobilized massive forces on its borders with Ukraine, and claimed that it was merely military maneuvers and training that it was conducting on its territory, without prior warning. The Russian forces invaded Ukrainian territory early last year, February 24, 2022, and launched military attacks that killed and injured thousands of civilians and caused severe damage to Ukrainian infrastructure and civilian buildings such as hospitals, schools, and residential buildings. Russia violated the rules of international law with hostile acts that were classified as war crimes. . This would have made Ukraine a new quagmire in Afghanistan in the heart of Europe, in which Russia fell, as happened in the Soviet Union.                                                                       

A few days and the Russian-Ukrainian war reaches a year full of successive conflicts between the two parties, in addition to economic crises at the global level and instability in the European region. Diplomacy, the area of conflict may expand with the accession of allies to both parties and blocs are formed, resulting in a third world war that will wipe out everything.                                                                                    

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