It is 44 days since the horrific conflict currently enveloping Ukraine started. Unfortunately, we are no closer to seeing an end to this war, which has rocked the European continent and rattled global energy and food markets.
The situation currently is very grim, and the gulf between the warring parties couldn’t be wider. Ukraine is desperately seeking ‘weapons, weapons, weapons’, as its foreign minister put it. Meanwhile, Russia has said that Washington’s decision to keep supplying Ukraine with weapons and military assistance may spoil chances of peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv.
After withdrawing from regions surrounding the capital Kyiv, Russia now seems to be focusing on the Donbas, a mostly Russian-speaking region in eastern Ukraine. And Ukraine has urged civilians to evacuate to safer regions before it is too late, while adding that its army is ready to fight Russia in this region.
Increasingly, both sides seem to be digging in for a long battle. However, that position is detrimental not only to Ukraine and Russia, but also for the stability of the prevailing world order.
On the positive side, peace talks are still continuing, despite there being very little to show for it.
The stance the country, backed by the West, seems to be adopting is to increase both diplomatic and military efforts.
Moscow has said it withdrew from Kyiv region as a ‘gesture of goodwill’, while the West said it was due to stiff Ukrainian military resistance. Be that as it may, the two Russian conditions for peace still stand: Legal guarantees that Ukraine will never be allowed to join Nato, and the demand that Ukraine recognise the independence of two pro-Russian regions in the east — Donetsk and Lugansk. Russia also wants Ukraine to recognise Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, as Russian territory.
However, while Ukraine has shown a lot of flexibility on the first demand, it has been clear that it will fight for every inch of its territory.
The current stalemate bodes ill for efforts at peace. But, there is no choice, especially for Ukraine, than having peace. The longer this conflict goes on, the bigger the danger of miscalculations that could trigger wider conflict. And that would upend the international order completely.