Today marks one year since Russian Czar Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
The war rolls on but appears to be at a stalemate, despite – or, rather, because of – the involvement of foreign mercenaries and massive amounts of military hardware donated to Ukraine by the US, EU, UK and even Australia.
Vlad the Impaler
And despite Ukrainian President Zelenskiy’s anniversary claims of “invincibility” and his declaration that “This will be the year of our victory”, this feckin’ war ain’t going nowhere yet, folks.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has verified a total of 7,199 civilian deaths during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as of February 12, 2023. Of them, 438 were children. Furthermore, 11,756 people were reported to have been injured. However, OHCHR warns that the real numbers could be higher.
The protagonists involved cite conflicting troop death tolls but Indian news website FirstPost reports: ‘According to the latest estimates from Norway, 180,000 Russian soldiers and 100,000 Ukrainian troops have been wounded or killed in the conflict. Other Western sources estimate the war has caused 150,000 casualties on each side. In comparison, some 15,000 Soviet soldiers were killed in a whole decade of fighting in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989.’ Around 65,000 suspected war crimes have been reported throughout the war, according to the European Union’s justice commissioner. UN investigators have accused Russia of committing war crimes on a “massive scale” in Ukraine — bombings, executions, torture and horrific sexual violence but I doubt there are any accurate figures.
Russia has already annexed the Ukrainian – mostly Russian-speaking – regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia through local referendums after pulling back troops to regroup in eastern Ukraine. And currently Russian forces control about 18 per cent of Ukraine.
ABC News online reports: ‘Since the start of the war, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has recorded more than 8 million Ukrainian refugees fleeing the country." The latest update on February 15 showed 8,073,182 refugees from Ukraine had been recorded across Europe, with 4,848,209 of those refugees registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe. Some Ukrainian refugees have since returned back to their country, and some have left Europe altogether in search of safety.’
As this disastrous conflict bogs down, and the USA continues to rattle its sabre against China, one thing seems certain. Ukraine’s desperate bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – an alliance of 30 countries from Europe and North America founded in 1949 – will not happen because it would spark World War Three, no doubt nuclear.
"Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”
Because NATO was founded on the principle of collective defence, meaning that if one NATO ally is attacked, then all NATO Allies are attacked.
That, folks, means global war. And that is when we can all kiss our arses goodbye.
But I reckon this essentially Ukrainian disaster will drag on for years. Putin is nothing if not patient, like a well-fed spider, and he doesn’t give a shit about the body count, Ukrainian OR Russian. And he knows damn well nobody – except for some of the most unhinged Americans – will risk nuclear war. There will be no “winners”. Ukraine won’t surrender but all Russia has to do is entrench itself in territory it occupies.
What scares me most is the possibility of a loose nuclear cannon. A glitch. An unintended fumble. An accident!
Ukraine’s only hope is that one of Vlad the Impaler’s inner circle pushes him from a window or slips a polonium Mickey Finn into his samova.