Daily Editorial Analysis for 19th May 2021

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The czar of brinkmanship must seek peace

Why in News

  • The recent stand-off between Russia and Ukraine has again captured the international attention.
  • This geopolitical situation appears to be complex due to the indirect involvement of its multiple stakeholders, including the United States, Turkey and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Issues arises between Russia and Ukraine

  • Increased tensions between Ukraine and Russia can be seen as a continuation of the unresolved conflict of 2014 and the ‘illegal annexation of Crimea’ has become a buzzword in international politics,
  • This also painted Russia as a constant aggressor and a hostile power.
  • The country has been criticised for its involvement in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, where Russian backed separatists have been fighting with Ukrainian troops.
  • From April 2021, Moscow has deployed thousands of troops as well as tanks and artillery near Ukraine’s eastern border and mobilized troops in the annexed Black Sea region of Crimea.

NATO, U.S. response

  • According to the NATO chief, ‘Russia’s considerable military build-up is unjustified, unexplained, and deeply concerning.’
  • NATO would continue to provide significant political and practical support to Ukraine.
  • Till now, Ukraine has not yet obtained membership of NATO then how far the NATO alliance can go in its support, given that
  • In June 2020, NATO recognized Ukraine as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, along with Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan, and Sweden. This partnership aims to maintain and deepen cooperation between countries that have made significant contributions to the NATO led missions and operations.
  • The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also used the current tension as an opportunity to push for NATO membership, arguing that ‘this is the only way to end the war in Donbas’.
  • The U.S., under the new administration, has taken a more resolute stance towards this conflict and ready to ready to support Ukraine militarily, if the need arises without provoking Russia.
  • The recent visit of the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, to Kiev indicates the U.S.’s foreign policy priorities. supporting the ‘independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine’.

Support from Turkey

  • Recent visit of Ukrarian President to Turkey underlined Turkish support i.e., standing by Ukraine amidst the current tensions with Russia.
  • Visit was a diplomatic success for Ukraine as it had obtained the necessary guarantees from Turkey should tensions with Russia escalate.
  • It is worth recalling that Turkey has not acted in synchrony with Russia during several conflicts, e.g., in Syria, Libya, and, most recently, in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russia’s moves

  • The cornerstone of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is insufficient communication, especially on the Russian part.
  • It is very difficult, if not impossible, to speculate on the overarching rationale behind Russia’s tactical decisions towards Ukraine.
  • A deficit of explicit messages from Russian side creates room for misunderstanding and misinterpretations and exaggerations on the part of Ukraine and its western supporters, which is evident Russian recent ‘military build-up’ in western Russia.
  • According to the Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, it was just a ‘three-week drill’ meant to test combat readiness to respond to NATO’s threats.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has been known for his geopolitical adventures, especially in West Asia.
  • The authorities in Russia possesses enough diplomatic (and pragmatic) skills not to indulge in yet another geopolitical endeavor, that might entail serious repercussions from the international community.
  • The current ‘military build-up’ can be viewed as another round of muscle flexing and an attempt to perpetuate the narrative of a powerful and capable Russia.

For a peaceful resolution

  • All the stakeholders in the ongoing crisis should focus on establishing a constructive dialogue among themselves using clear and unambiguous language.
  • The only way forward is to seek a peaceful resolution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Both countries do need support from the global community, but not in a military form.


  • There is a need for a platform that will facilitate negotiation, mutual consensus and possible compromises, as well as engagement with mediators.
  • The long-term solution should be sought out in order to break the vicious cycle of animosity and misunderstanding.

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