Europe’s Embedded Strategy over Ukraine war


After the end of two devastating world wars America along with its allies established global legal order with the sole purpose to maintain peace and security. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has undermined the foundations of that post-world war 2 legal framework that prohibits the use of force against territorial integrity and political independence of states. Putin’s war of choice triggered a wave of anger across Europe and world at large. Global leaders denounced Russian aggression and vowed to respond to this act of war with determination, composure, and unity. European leaders promised to retaliate with an unprecedented level of sanctions and embedded strategy based on diplomatic and security elements.

Russia under President Putin considers the expansion of NATO as a direct threat to its territorial integrity and sovereignty. They accused NATO of threatening their future and launching active military build-up on territories adjacent to Russia. To cope up with this they coined their military adventure as “special military operation” aimed to ensure Ukraine’s neutral status by ending its desire to formally join western defensive alliance NATO. Russia now actively pursuing its goal to seizing eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and creating a land corridor along the south coast from Crimea to the Russian border. In recent weeks conflict has favored Russia because of its huge edge in term of conventional firepower especially in artillery, but still they are far away from achieving their objective due to tactical maneuvers by the Ukrainian military and undeniably brave resistance from the people of Ukraine.

The Russian military operation against Ukraine prompted a strong unified response from the European leadership in the form of targeted sanctions to weaken Russia’s economic base and by blocking their access to key markets & technologies. Ukrainian leadership demanded that sanctions need to go further to stop Russia’s aggression through an oil embargo, freezing Russian assets in the EU, and blocking the access of Russian banks to the European financial market. In short it is a bank against tanks strategy. The leadership in Ukraine stressed upon the need that the Russian assets which are scattered in different jurisdictions must be found, it has to be seized or frozen and then they should be allocated to a special fund that would be used to help all those affected by the war. The Russian actions triggered different stages of humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and situation is worse and volatile the closer you go to Russia. War has claimed thousands of lives on both sides. These innocent people are the real victims; they bear the brunt of ugly geo-political ambitions of the great powers.

The war in Ukraine revealed that it is subset of broader regional geo-political agenda based on deep-rooted ideological bias. Putin’s war and western response to safeguard democratic values has entirely changed the geopolitical outlook of the European affairs. The Ukraine war is both a failure of diplomacy and collapse of the European security architecture. Europe believe that if Putin manages to redraw borders then it is an invitation for others to do it as well and that is a threat to rules based order, EU, transatlantic allies, and democracy. They reiterated their resolve that they won’t allow Russia a return to a world order in which strength dictates. They vowed to turn Putin’s aggression a strategic failure by scaling up their efforts through different means. They took many unprecedented decisions to quell the Russian ability to take higher risks and to limit the scope of war.

Europe has proven to be extremely united over their stance that Ukraine is fighting for all and they must win this war. To support Ukraine Europe took a principled decision along with the US to provide heavy weapons. US have passed a $40 billion dollar bill for military aid and support for humanitarian causes. Other than that, Germany for the first time ever is supplying arms to a war zone including heavy weapons to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses. EU also proposed a 10 billion euros macro-financial assistance and it is important to mention here that it is the largest package of macro-financial assistance ever conceived by the EU for a third country. EU also focused on the reconstruction of the Ukraine through massive investment combined with ambitious reforms to modernize administrative capacity, to establish rule of law, the independence of judiciary, to fight corruption, and last but not least to build a fair sustainable and strong competitive economy.

The Russian aggression has rekindled the transatlantic relationship. The brain dead NATO has been revived, revitalized, and resurrected in a way that could have been unimaginable.  Europeans reposed their confidence that NATO is the most successful alliance in the world and the bedrock of transatlantic stability. NATO at present is trying to achieve two fundamental tasks in response to Russia’s aggression to provide maximum support to Ukraine and preventing the war from escalation. For the first time they deployed combat early battle groups in the Eastern part to increase the readiness of forces and established new defense domains including cyber and space. Among these important developments, the most unique one was the Finland and Sweden’s decision to apply for NATO membership. This was the direct result of Putin’s actions and has further strengthened the close bond between NATO and the EU.

The war in Ukraine exacerbated current political fault-lines and has created enormous political, economic, and strategic challenges for developing countries including Pakistan. Since the start of war, Pakistan has maintained non-partisan or policy of neutrality. Pakistan maintained firm line that it does not want to subscribe to camp politics and be sucked into any great power rivalry. Pakistani leadership both political and military voiced their thoughts that war and conflict can never be in anyone’s favor based on their experiences in Afghan war. The impact of war is devastating, long-lasting, and ramifications go into decades even the conflict has ended. Pakistan has conveyed their concerns over humanitarian crisis, casualties on both sides, future of negotiations and dialogue, outflows of refugees, and internal displacement of people in Ukraine. Pakistan strongly believes that conflict can be resolved through dialogue, diplomacy, and peaceful political settlement.

The developing countries suffered a massive blow due to increased prices of energy, food, and production. The prices of commodity are certainly reaching beyond the affordability of a common man. The prolonged conflict in Ukraine means uncomfortable consequences for whole world. The Russian and Ukrainian side should look towards avenues of peace to end the war and sufferings of poor sections of society globally.

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