- She termed the war as an unprovoked Russian aggression on Ukraine, with terrible human and economic costs
- This war of aggression has repercussions well beyond Europe.
- Neither Ukraine nor Russia are ready to stop fighting, despite the losses they have sustained
Mbabane-The European Ambassador to Eswatini Dessislava Choumelova has levelled a scathing criticism towards the Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine. Choumelova was speaking during the launch of E90 million food security project at the Mountain Inn.
She termed the war as an unprovoked Russian aggression on Ukraine, with terrible human and economic costs. The Ambassador indicated that “peace and stability, the nascent economic recovery post-Covid are jeopardised by the imperialistic ambition of Russia.”
According to information sourced from Wikipedia, from early 2021 into the first month of 2022, Russia built up a massive military presence surrounding Ukraine, including from within neighbouring Belarus. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) accused Russia of readying for an invasion of the Ukrainian mainland, which the Russian government denied. As tensions rose over the build up, Russian president Vladimir Putin criticized the enlargement of NATO and demanded that Ukraine be barred from ever joining the military alliance. He also expressed Russian irredentist views and questioned Ukraine’s right to exist, falsely stating that the Ukrainian state was established by Vladimir Lenin under the Soviet Union.
On 21 February 2022, openly sent Russian troops into Ukraine’s separatist-controlled territories. Three days later, Putin appeared on a televised broadcast and announced the beginning of a “special military operation” in Ukraine, signalling the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of the Ukrainian mainland. As the Russian military moved into eastern and southern Ukraine, and also into northern Ukraine from Belarus, the 2022 Russian invasion was heavily condemned by much of the international community, with many countries and organizations accusing Russia of having grossly violated both Ukrainian sovereignty and international law. International sanctions against Russia, which have been imposed in some form by various countries since 2014, were ramped up after February 2022. Additionally, due to its active role in support of Russia’s invasion, Belarus has also faced international boycotts and sanctions.
Ambassador Choumelova went on to say “this war of aggression has repercussions well beyond Europe. Costs of farming inputs, fuel and commodities have skyrocketed. Yet, even as we prepare for a heavy winter and continue to extend massive support to our new candidate country Ukraine, we have not forgotten our partners in Africa. Including Eswatini. Solidarity has always been a founding value of the European Union and we stand by it – in both good times and hard times.”
Meanwhile, the war which had been envisioned to last no more than a month by the Russian authorities has now dragged on for eight months. Causalities on both sides have mounted, according to the New York Times the United Nations reported that it had confirmed the deaths of 5,587 civilians, including 149 girls, 175 boys and 38 children whose sex is unknown. At least 7,890 civilians were confirmed to be injured.
But those are only the confirmed civilian casualties. The true numbers, U.N. officials concede, are without doubt far higher. The actual toll is probably tens of thousands of civilians. That is the estimate Ukrainian officials have arrived at after months of recovering bodies.
In Bucha, near the capital, residents are still burying the roughly 400 civilians killed during a month of Russian occupation. At least 1,500 civilians were killed in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, during Russia’s failed attack, according to Ihor Klymenko, Ukraine’s chief of police. And in Mariupol, the southern city pulverized by months of Russian siege, Ukrainian officials believe that at least 22,000 people were killed. They cite witness accounts, satellite imagery of mass graves and footage showing bodies in the streets.
Russia and Ukraine have kept their military casualties a closely guarded secret, though Western analysts believe both have sustained heavy losses. General. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the top commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, said that about 9,000 Ukrainians had been killed at the front. Speaking at a conference for veterans, he did not say whether that included all the branches of Ukraine’s military.
Russia last gave an official military toll in March, when it said that 1,351 of its troops had been killed. At the time, American officials estimated the figure to be around 5,000.
Four months later, the British military estimated that 25,000 Russians had been killed and tens of thousands more wounded. And in September, Pentagon officials estimated that 70,000 to 80,000 Russians had been killed or wounded; they put the number of deaths at 20,000. U.S. officials said their estimates were based on satellite imagery, communication intercepts, social media and on-the-ground media reports.
Before the full-scale invasion, the Russian military had about 900,000 active-duty troops. British officials estimated that the initial invasion force had about 300,000 troops, including support units. U.S. defence officials say Russia has committed nearly 85 percent of its fielded army to the war.
Neither Ukraine nor Russia are ready to stop fighting, despite the losses they have sustained. Ukraine wants its occupied territories back, and Russia wants to keep inflicting pain not just on its opponent but, by proxy, the west also. The Kremlin believes winter will play to its advantage.