FT: Arm Ukraine and Russia will be forced to review its war aims

2022-12-18 | Expert publications, Weapon delivery

By Prof. Olexiy Haran and Petro Burkovskyi.

As Ukrainian scholars, who stayed in the country to continue research, including on the topic of social resilience and public opinion amid war, we appreciate the support and the opinions of those western observers who look for possible ways to end the conflict.
But we believe in his latest piece “Ukraine and the shadow of Korea” (Opinion, December 13) Gideon Rachman has missed several important points.
The analogy of a “Korean-style ceasefire” is confusing in itself. We have no doubt that Rachman is an opponent to Putin’s policies. However, in the case of the Korean war, a ceasefire was achieved between communist and nationalist Koreans. Both sides recognised that they are one nation divided by war and ideological differences.
Remember Putin’s core idea to justify the invasion of Ukraine is that Russians and Ukrainians are “one nation”. From this point of view, it is very easy for Russians to use this article as “evidence” of the west’s intentions to “divide the Russian nation”.
Unlike communist North Korea and the People’s Republic of China in the early 1950s — non-nuclear states recovering after decades of Japanese invasion — Russia does not face a formidable military rival with a nuclear arsenal.
The Ukrainian armed forces on the other hand has performed far better than expected.
However, as Rachman points out, the brutal Russian tactic of deliberate targeting of Ukrainian infrastructure can continue only if the west, namely the US, rejects Ukrainian calls to supply Patriot air defence systems, F-16 fighter jets and hinders European countries like Germany and Poland in supplying tanks and Soviet-type warplanes to Ukraine.
Since Ukrainians do not have means to punish Russians for such tactics and enforce a ceasefire, then Russians do not have good reasons to review their goals and accept a ceasefire as a better alternative to war.
Moreover, if Ukraine does not join Nato with its nuclear umbrella, like Finland and Sweden, then there is no serious threshold for Russians to give up the idea of a new invasion after learning lessons from the disastrous 2022 campaign.

Originally published on the Financial Times.
Authors: Professor Olexiy Haran (Kyiv Mohyla University, Kyiv, Ukraine) and Petro Burkovskyi (Executive Director, Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Kyiv).