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Mainstream, VOL LX No 24, New Delhi, June 4, 2022

Urgent—Both Russia and the USA Should End Their Invasion of Ukraine | Bharat Dogra

Friday 3 June 2022, by Bharat Dogra

The title of this article needs an explanation. Several readers are likely to ask—of course it is clear that Russia should end its invasion of Ukraine, but what do you mean by the USA ending its invasion as it has not invaded Ukraine at all?

Yes, of course, the USA has not at all invaded Ukraine openly with tanks and soldiers as in the case of Russia. But it has invaded in a different sense of trying to deny Ukraine any present or future policy other than than the one of relentless opposition to Russia. That such a policy choice inevitably involves a clash with a powerful, heavily armed neighbor like Russia and imposes very heavy costs on the ordinary people of Ukraine and has also led to very high distress, including loss of thousands of lives, for the Russian speaking people of Ukraine in recent years has been ignored by the USA. This also is an invasion of a different kind which started much before the Russian invasion started on February 24 this year.

By all indications the policy option most in keeping with the welfare of the people of Ukraine is to live as a neutral or non-aligned country in the context of its relations with the big powers. As Russia is a much bigger and more powerful country situated next to it, sharing a long border, it is best for Ukraine to maintain a relationship of friendship with it. This also contributes to peaceful and stable internal situation and good relations internally, keeping in view that so many Russian speaking citizens have lived in Ukraine, particularly eastern parts. A relationship of cordiality is likely to be reciprocated by Russia, as Russia has been so keen to avoid Ukraine falling into the US and NATO camp. The geographical situation is such that even moderate level of stable and friendly relationship is likely to result in a win-win situation for both Russia and Ukraine in economic terms.

What the USA has done, by pursuing a policy of excessive and undesirable interference in many-sided internal affairs and foreign relations of Ukraine, is to successfully close this option of friendly, mutually beneficial relations between Ukraine and Russia, thereby condemning the people of Ukraine to bearing all the distress that comes from needlessly fighting a much more powerful neighbor when peaceful options are clearly available. The USA policy has involved extending arms and other support to anti-Russian militant groups within Ukraine, illegal interference in elections and governance to ensure the election of anti-Russian rulers and to make it difficult for regimes seeking friendly relations with Russia to function effectively. This is also a kind of invasion which started much earlier and in fact created the conditions and provocations in which the ongoing Russian invasion became more and more likely.

Both these invasions have been very harmful for Ukraine and also for the entire world as well. Both should end very soon.

The Russian invasion has obviously caused a lot to distress to the people of Ukraine. What is more, there is the risk of escalation and of intended or accidental use of weapons of mass destruction, leading to harm too terrible to contemplate.
The USA invasion, as defined here, has not only already caused a lot of distress to the people of Ukraine, in addition it carries in it the seeds of very prolonged distress and destruction to Ukraine as the country is pushed into a situation of fighting a proxy war for the USA. One does not know how long this proxy war will continue and how long its destruction and distress will continue.

Hence the United Nations as well as all non-aligned nations should call for and work for ending both invasions, and this can certainly have an impact with the ordinary people of Ukraine also supporting this call. Ending both invasions will bring immediate relief as well as longer-term peace to the people of Ukraine. It will enable Ukraine to choose a peaceful future based on neutrality in the context of big-power rivalry, providing those conditions of peace and stability which are essential for much needed reconstruction and rehabilitation.

(The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include A Day in 2071, Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and Earth without Borders. )

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