Editor’s Memo: Russia-Ukraine war must end

A year ago next week the Russia-Ukraine war will mark its first anniversary and everyone wishes it would also be the beginning of rapprochement. But as it looks right now the conflict is driving the world towards nuclear conflict. Some news websites have reported that Russia is sending nuclear warheads to strategic sites around the world.

It can also be surmised that Western countries, particularly the US, is preparing its own nuclear arsenal for battle readiness. Obviously it can’t fold its arms while its archenemy is agitating for war. No one wants nuclear war because nobody wins it.

Everyone agrees this war has affected all the countries of the world without exception. Poor countries like Zimbabwe are the worst hit. Zimbabwe in particular is suffering under the yoke of inflation which is the highest in the world. This may not be directly the result of the war, but the conflict has worsened the situation.

Zimbabwe depended on both Russia and Ukraine for many things such as fertilisers, wheat and fuel. The country now has the highest food inflation in the world and this can be attributed to the Eurasian conflict.

Africa generally remained neutral in the conflict but for the Americans, “the friend of my enemy is my enemy”, hence it is passing a law that seeks to punish countries which have not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or are deemed to be aiding it.

Africa has been drawn into the war as it has become the battleground of the geopolitical conflict between East and West. If Africa’s neutrality had been respected around the world, then the resolution of the conflict might have come from the continent. But Africa is seen by the superpowers as an irrelevant distant cousin.

Russia will not lose this war but the West will not allow it to win. That means Russia will grind on and the West will seek to counter it pound for pound ad infinitum.

There is no question of Russia going back to the situation that obtained on February 23 2022 —  this is what the West wants —  because that would be seen as surrender.

That will also mean that those states that had held referendums to secede from Ukraine would have to revert to the pre-war status. That would be too humiliating for Russia.

But the greatest losers of this war are the Ukrainian people. They do not have a country to talk about; it has been razed and only rubble remains. Millions of them are now exiled and may never return to their country. Soon the figures of the dead will begin to emerge.

Many news agencies are beginning to see Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s dark side. They say he has become a full-fledged dictator who brooks no criticism.

He has banned opposition political parties and closed media space. That means, despite appearing on top of the situation, the reality in his backyard is not good. Ukrainians are obviously fed up with the war and a popular uprising against Zelenskyy or even a military coup cannot be dismissed. That would bring a quick end to the war but not necessarily bring peace.

Reports this week suggest that support for the war in the US is waning; more and more people are against their country’s continuing support for the war.

 US President Joe Biden might also be weighing how the war will affect his re-election bid which he will announce soon. Many Western countries are also wary of continued support for Zelenskyy; they are imagining what their relations with a powerful country such as Russia will be postwar.

As the war grinds on the world should by any means avoid nuclear conflict.

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