When Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the best forecasts of western media and experts alleged that Kyiv would stand until seized by the Russian army for 96 hours. However, Kyiv did not fall to the occupants, and neither did most other major Ukrainian cities. Just like the Ukrainian people, the western powers unified in the face of a threat, that many couldn’t imagine occurring in the 21st century. Several packages of sanctions against the aggressor along with military and financial assistance for Ukraine facilitated the latter in defending its territories. However, more than forty days of hostilities have passed, and it is quite clear now that the war is not going to end in the nearest perspective. The support that Ukraine has been provided with, as valuable as it is, has not proved sufficient to shift the balance on the battlefield or affect the Russian establishment and induce it to compromise. The civilized world needs to understand that the soonest achievement of peace is of utmost importance.
- The longer the war continues, the more people will fall its victims.
Earlier this week, after the Russian army retreated from territories around Kyiv, the whole world was appalled by the images of the atrocities committed by the Russian soldiers in the town of Bucha. If the war continues, these terrifying incidents are likely to occur in other Ukrainian regions as well.
- Sooner settlement would imply less destruction.
The Ukrainian infrastructure has been damaged immensely during the war, and some cities have been completely devastated by the Russian missiles, bombs, and rocket artillery. The expenses required for the reconstruction after all these destructions are growing every day as the hostilities go on.
- Protracting the war entails increased military spending.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces have proved that they are capable of efficient application of the weapons and equipment provided by the western states against the overnumbering Russian forces. The better the Ukrainian army is equipped, the closer Ukraine is to ending the war. Stretching the procurements in time does not allow them to accumulate a sufficient amount and hinders their efficiency.
- Russians have an opportunity to get used to living under the sanctions.
The western powers have almost exhausted the set of measures they could take without prominent effects on their own welfare. However, the longer the war lasts, the more time Russia has to adapt to the new conditions it lives in, and the less effect those measures will have, hence increasing the price for the West. In order to make a difference, sanctions need to be substantial enough to provide immediate consequences for both Russian society and the establishment.
- The public is getting tired of the Ukrainian topic.
The support for Ukrainians which has been expressed by the public opened many opportunities for the western governments, which could earn quite a few reputation bonuses by providing assistance to Ukraine. Shifting the focus of public attention, which is inevitable when a topic is dominating the information space for such a long time, against the backdrop of unsolved pertinent issues, will frustrate those efforts.
Therefore, the West needs to foster the soonest settlement of the war by enhancing its support for Ukraine primarily by:
- Providing sufficient weapons and equipment as well as funds for the Ukrainian Armed Forces;
- Exerting more pressure on the Russian economy and thus not simply deterring but stopping its military machine;
- Assisting the Ukrainian establishment both politically and financially in its struggle to meet the war-related needs of the state.