The Human Element in the Russo-Ukrainian War
By Edgar Louis de Gracia
Disclaimer: The writer’s opinions and views do not necessarily reflect that of the whole organization.
It was February 24, 2022. Russia invaded Ukraine under the guise of “de-nazifying” and “de-militarizing” the country. As awful as the war is and as much as it has sparked heated debates over Sovereignty, the truth is that it was not surprising. Ukraine had been a geopolitical issue between the US and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) against Russia for a while. Putin felt neither safe nor comfortable with the idea of having US and NATO military bases right next to Russia’s borders, which meant he was inevitably going to take the matter into his own hands by striking first before anybody could react.
But as with all wars, the squabbles of world leaders are not the real issue in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. Rather, it is the humanitarian crisis that ensued in Ukraine, one that has been deeply abhorrent. Over the past few weeks, we have seen the bombing of civilians, humanitarian borders, as well as other war crimes committed.
as with all wars, the squabbles of world leaders are not the real issue
Regardless of whether or not we are directly affected by the war, it is our mission as humanists to help refugees from Ukraine – be it through money, food, water, or anything else. The refugee crisis has also shown the double standard and racism present in some countries. Ukrainians whose skins weren’t a shade of white have had a harder time looking for sanctuary. While this can be attributed to political matters, it is also something humanists need to call out. We need to show that no matter your shade of color, you’ll always be human.
Like all sane human beings, I deeply condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine but I need to be objective also and provide facts.
The war in Ukraine cannot be simply attributed to Putin wanting to expand Russian territory as he and many Russians have no reason to invade Ukraine; they are distant cousins. One reason he had to invade, however, was to stop NATO expansion, which he has clearly said multiple times over the years. He kept reminding NATO that if they do keep expanding, military conflict with Russia will be inevitable.
NATO was created by the US, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide security against the Soviet Union, which collapsed on December 26, 1991. NATO’s original purpose was served yet they continued to expand despite Russia’s warnings.
Throughout all of this, it is important to note that not all Russians support the war nor Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. But they had no choice as Putin and other Russian elites continue to make the decisions rather than the people. Blind hate against Russians should be condemned: Putin does not represent the Russian population.
“The Supreme Art of War is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
– Sun Tzu