23 April 2022 ~ 1 Comentario

Who is Winning the War in Ukraine?

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

The quick answer is Ukraine, as Faared Zacaria and Thomas Friedman cleverly said, each on their own. But it’s winning at the cost of the demolition of a few cities, which makes reconciliation between the two countries impossible until several generations have passed.

There are at least five reasons to suppose that Ukraine is “winning.”

First, the Russian narrative has failed miserably. Alleging that it was a matter of de-nazifying the “small” neighboring country comes up against the fact that Volodymyr Zelensky, elected president of Ukraine by an overwhelming majority, is Jewish. One of his grandparents was burned alive with his village by the SS during World War II.

There is, indeed, a military unit in Donbas that sympathizes with ultranationalism, and that unit has symbols that resemble those displayed by the Nazis, but this fact does not deny the hundreds of units of the army forged to defend democracy. As an old journalist claimed, the French Resistance during World War II included people of all ideological stripes. There would be time to resolve these differences through democratic procedures. The first thing was to defeat the Nazis. Today, the first thing is to defeat the Russians.

Second, the Russian people doesn’t know what exactly the invading army is defending. Until now, given Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial control of the media, “denazification” has worked, but that argument is beginning to crack with the reaction of the Russian troops themselves. They were going to achieve glory, but instead they have been met with the harsh and lofty patriotism of people who love freedom.

 Third, poorly fed and poorly equipped Russian recruits notice helicopters and tanks (especially those designated with the letter T) and SIL transports stall, sometimes from lack of fuel or because of the spring mud. They are targeted by projectiles fired from the shoulder by “javelins” and NLAWs supplied by the Americans, British, and Israelis, as well as kamikaze drones that spot a tank or a transport from miles away, and rush at it. They usually carry two explosive warheads; one destroys the turret, the other penetrates the armor and kills the crew. A few days ago, when I examined the sinister accounting, they had 460 tanks and more than 2,000 transports damaged by the Ukrainian shots. Surely today there are many more.

Fourth. There is a general, former head of intelligence, arrested for lying to Vladimir Putin himself. His name is Sergey Beseda, and he went from house arrest to Lefortovo prison, built at the end of the 19th century by the tsars. The NKVD and KGB tortured and killed many detainees in that prison. Logically, Beseda is accused of having kept money from the intelligence sector, something that can never be known with certainty. In short, they are direct consequences of the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine, in which Ukraine has an undefeatable morale of victory, similar to the one exhibited by the Soviets during the Nazi siege of Stalingrad, a city thoroughly flattened by the Germans. While Russia fights for no one knows what, the Ukrainians fight for patriotism and are ready to die for their cause.

(I remember a friend, an officer in the US Army, telling me that he had realized the futility of fighting the Vietcong after the so-called Tet offensive of 1968: the Vietcong soldiers fought with two ropes tied to their feet, so it was easy to hide the corpses. “When the enemy takes death for granted, there’s nothing to do,” he said. He was right).

 Fifth. NATO, supposedly badly wounded during Donald Trump’s presidency, has rebuilt itself under the Joe Biden’s government. It was not a “genius” to invade Ukraine, as Trump said (he later rectified), but a true “genocide,” as Biden called it and, as serious as that, a total foolishness.

On the other hand, the entry of Sweden and Finland into the defensive pact is still pending. That means that Europe, Canada and the US consider Putin’s orders to threaten the two nations with nuclear retaliation a bluff. It is one thing to subjugate the Chechens and the Abkhazians, and quite another to retaliate against a free European country that intends to join NATO.

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