A Ukrainian serviceman on the front line in the Kyiv region, Ukraine Image Credit: Reuters

As the war in Ukraine crossed its 100-day mark, it is becoming harder by the day to be optimistic. The Russian offensive continues unabated in the east of Ukraine with a clear objective of gaining total control of those areas with Russian speaking majority.

There was a brief optimism that talks might resume soon after the weekend’s statement by French President Emmanuel Macron of his intention to resume mediation, urging the West to stop “humiliating Russia”. But his offer was snubbed two hours later by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba who slammed Macron’s position. “Russia humiliates itself. We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place. This will bring peace and save lives.”

The optimism faded quickly leading Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov to predict that the war would last for another six months. “My optimistic projection is that it may end by the end of the year.” Not very optimistic at all. Another six months of war in the heart of Europe cannot be tolerated by a world order that has seemingly collapsed politically and economically.

Biggest humanitarian crisis

The meteoric rise in oil prices, the severe shortage in food supply, particularly wheat, and the world’s inability to get the two sides to talk have already led to the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II and an economic recession in most of the major economies — just few months after the world thought the global economy was solidly on a recovery path following the decline of the Covid-19 pandemic which devastated the economy since early 2020.

The Russians have added to the grim prospect as their strategic bombers “launched missiles at Kyiv” from the Caspian Sea early Sunday and two of the Ukrainian capital’s eastern districts “rocked by explosions in an attack that targeted railway infrastructure in Kyiv,” as per claims by the city’s mayor.

The purported attack, the most serious on the Ukrainian capital in weeks, came after a stark warning by Russian President Vladimir Putin against the United States’ shipment of long-range missiles to Ukraine last week. Putin said Russia “will draw appropriate conclusions from this and use our own weapons, of which we have enough, in order to strike at those facilities we are not targeting yet.”

The American move led many Western analysts to say that President Joe Biden has in fact condemned Ukraine to a prolonged war by continuing to supply offensive arms. However, Russia continues to press in the east, thus gaining control of at least 20 per cent of Ukraine’s territory, according to officials in Kyiv.

After 100 days of war, and almost 14 million of refugees and displaced, it is hard to see an imminent end to the conflict. We can only hope that the two sides, and of course the US, listen to reasonable voices worldwide and put an end to an absurd war that has all the signs of turning into another world war.