After Ukraine, it will be Georgia, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland. Unless Putin’s war is stopped in Ukraine, the juggernaut will just continue. Although the Russian Federation is already the largest country in the world Putin’s appetite is insatiable and his mind is obsessed with a warped nostalgia to be “Back in the USSR”.
Closing the sky over Ukraine is a crucial way to de-escalate the war and save lives in Ukraine. Having suffered the collapse of their offensive ambitions, Russia has switched tactics to a “war of total annihilation.” At the moment, the Kremlin’s objective is not only at war with Ukraine, but also intent on destroying it. The main targets are civilian infrastructure, residential buildings. Russia is massacring peaceful Ukrainians. Only a cardinal response from the world to the current situation can halt Russia’s crimes in Ukraine.
The Kremlin can wage a “war of attrition” which will strike a blow to world food supply. Within 3-4 months, the world will start to experience a food crisis. Ukraine and Russia are two of the largest exporters of food and cereal crops in the world. Disruption of production will have a knock-on effect on the production of meat and dairy foodstuffs. A global food crisis on top of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is the last thing the world needs, and it should be prevented at all costs.
Russia has threatened the West with direct military confrontation if the sky over Ukraine is closed. But threats are the Kremlin’s staple messages, which they are free to use. Should we believe them? Like a deadly game of poker, you need to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and when to call a bluff. But Ukraine may not be able to fight off multiple enemy attacks singlehanded for ever. The Kremlin has now adopted a policy of “scorched earth”, and if it is not stopped there will simply be nothing left of Ukrainian cities, and the scale of destruction for civilisation will be the worst since 1945. This policy of total destruction has been approved by Putin. If the world succumbs to his threats, Europe will soon face multiple challenges and threats.
Russia hopes to defeat Ukraine and bring it to the negotiating table under the Kremlin’s conditions. Putin hopes that such a development will see at least part of the sanctions lifted from Russia. But it is clear that the Ukrainian army will defend its country to the last soldier standing, so the conflict is becoming more and more violent. Putin cannot wage war with the whole world, but he is trying to intimidate the whole world in a desperate attempt to force us to withdraw support for Ukraine.
Putin has already openly voicing his geopolitical ambitions and a warped nostalgia for a return to the borders of the former USSR, one of the most hated empires in history. Putin consistently tries to implement what he has said. After his statement that “Ukraine is part of Russia”, an armed invasion followed, which led to a war with thousands of victims. Putin has voiced his territorial claims to the Baltic countries, Poland and other independent states. Having witnessed his aggression in Ukraine, it would be imprudent in the extreme not to take action to defend against this threat. If Putin is not stopped in Ukraine, he will go further to the West.
Closing the sky in Ukraine should be accompanied by additional sanctions. Yes, this is sensitive and not without risk, but it is to prevent the war and even greater losses from spreading. Russia must feel the combination of economic sanctions, political isolation and military deterrence. Putin will not go to war with the whole world. His threats are a bluff, a cry of desperation in an attempt to seize back the initiative and pull himself out of the dark pit which he has dug himself into.