Russia’s War On Ukraine: Implications For Europe & Asia

How to protect democratic values: The Ananta Aspen Centre held the joint event with the Aspen Institute Kyiv

Aspen Institute Kyiv held the thirteenth #UkrainianDialogue: international discussion with Ananta Aspen Centre. The main themes of the discussion were Ukraine’s desire for peace within its state borders and evolution of geopolitics caused by Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

In the opening remarks Yuliya Tychkivska, Aspen Institute Kyiv Executive Director mentioned that after more than 9 months since Russian troops invaded Ukraine, attacking Ukrainian cities with artillery, rockets, bombs and firearms, Ukrainians and the world still can not fully grasp the reason for this war:

— Ukraine and Ukrainians always looked for peace with the neighbors, were committed to international border treaties and respected international laws. So, it looks like the Kremlin intends a total extinction of Ukraine and everything that is Ukrainian. Imperialistic ambitions of Russia have consequences all over the world.

The entire global legal architecture is being tested by Russia’s war and attempt to genocide Ukrainian people

Natalie Jaresko, Chairperson of the Aspen Institute Kyiv Supervisory Board and Minister of Finance of Ukraine (2014 — 2016) stressed that the single outcome that Ukrainians seek was peace. She added that the entire global legal architecture is being tested by Russia’s war and attempt to genocide Ukrainian people:

— Russia tests the entire global legal architecture starting with the UN charterand the inviolability of borders and extending to the illegal cluster bombs, mines and another ammunition targeting civilians and civil infrastructure, to the Geneve convention and treatment of our preasoners of war, to the nonproliferation agrrements, Budapest memorandum, to Russias documented illegal torture, rape, deportation of Ukrainins that clearly violattes the anti-genocide convention.

The real reason of Russia-Ukraine war is that Russia regime does not see Ukrainians as a nation

Pavlo Klimkin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (2014 — 2019) is sure that the pretext for this invasion with all speculations about NATO expansion, so-called threats for Russian security is all rubbish:

— The real reason is that the Russian regime actually does not see us as a nation, as a country and fundamentally rejects our statehood, history, and believes it’s all artificial. And it’s a very dangerous precedent of not only creating artificial historic reality but acting on it. Putin has opened a sort of Pandora box and it should be absolutely clear for everybody.

Consequences of the war in the middle of Europe have been felt across the world

According to Ashok Malik, Partner and Chair of the India Practice, Asia Group the consequences of the war in the middle of Europe have been felt across the world: in Asia, in Africa, South America:

— Ukraine was a big exporter of agricultural products and commodities from wheat and sunflower oil. For instance India is a big importer of sunflower oil. Consequences are also felt in the case of fertilizers and energy. These commodities have been in short supplies all over the world as a consequence of this war as a consequence of what mr. Putin started on 24th of February.

Ashok Malik also added that the 24th of February is the sort of date that European children and children all over the world will study in history books. It’s a day which has left to a process when Ukrainian identity and sovereignty have been muchly stronger defined.

India may well find that as much as being polite to the multipolar world the Russian pole is going to be severely diminished

Kenneth I Juster, United States Ambassador to India (2017 — 2021) explained that India sees a multipolar world and for it Russia is an important polar of this world. India would like to see it preserved to whatever degree it’s possible. India also doesn’t want to push Russia even tighter to China because of its own concerns with this country. In this case India has really tried to walk a tape road on this issue by consistently abstaining on provisions and resolutions of the UN but at the same time coming out with strong statements the importance of territorial integrity, sovereignty and a peaceful resolution of the stews.

Mr. Juster added that the next several months and near will be very critical in terms of weather and how easy it will be for India and other countries to maintain this delicate balance. For him it seems clear that Russia is going to continue on a path that it has going forward on with may have be a war crimes and certain atrocities, and efforts to devastate civilian population of Ukraine.

— India may well find that as much as being polite to the multipolar world the Russian pole is going to be severely diminished. And Russia will be a pariah for many years to come. And Russia may not even be able to provide India with further sophisticated weaponry and much less spare parts and auxiliary equipment. It’s gonna be interesting to see as this unfolls whether countries such as India will be able to maintain that tape road and it will become increasingly tricky or will gradually be forced or decide it’s in their interest even if they apparently maintain to be in neutrality to have to separate themselves from Russia giving the ongoing events.

A key question which India will watch is to see how dependent Russia now becomes on China.

Pramit Pal Chaudhari, Senior associate of Rhodium Group spoke about the evolution of geopolitics. He stressed that a key question which India will watch is to see how dependent Russia now becomes on China.

— Until then Russia has been neutral when India and China go head to head. For us that’s the question where Russia goes to or where Russia and China go together and we will see basically how this plays out. If that does take place if in some geopolitical way the dragon-bear combination does come together then you will see a genual evolution of geopolitics. In effect what you have is a division in which the quad Europe and America will be on one side and Russia and China with some other smaller allies like Pakistan and North Korea will be on the other. The question is when and how this happens or if it happens at all is going to be a fundamental question on global geopolitics.

Nuclear deterrence is back in fashion

Indrani Bagchi, Ananta Aspen Centre CEO, talked about nuclear threats that came to look again. She mentioned that Russia’s nuclear threats in Ukraine, it’s attacks on the nuclear power reactors have thrown back the kind of feeling that war was behind. Ms. Bagchi stressed that India is no stranger to nuclear threats. She told that her country literally has a stream of nuclear weapon states on it’s borders. It has been many years that India has faced nuclear threats from Pakistan.

— When we saw or read the debates around Russia threatening using some tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, those threats became very real where Indians were concerned. Because of Pakistan’s development of tactical nuclear weapons India has had to change its own nuclear posture. Ukraine is in a more difficult position because it was part of an international agreement not to have nuclear weapons on your soil after the dissolution of the USSR. Nuclear deterrence is back in fashion. The war has led us to take a relook again on our nuclear deterrence policy. Nonproliferation in many ways is back. The concerns of nonproliferation are back.

Ms. Bagchi added that after Putin’s first threats that he issued on the nuclear question the Indians’ response was sharp.

The main objective of the #UkrainianDialogue project is to create a dialogue platform between Ukrainian leaders and international representatives for sharing truthful information about the Russian-Ukrainian war, and discussing how to support Ukraine for the victory.

Aspen Institute Kyiv is grateful to Ananta Aspen Centre for their support and the opportunity to have a dialogue with their Community.

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