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Reflecting on Two Years of Tragedy and Turmoil

An Analysis of the Ukraine-Russia Conflict
reflecting on two years of tragedy and turmoil

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has entered its third year today, marked by persistent violence, humanitarian crises, and geopolitical tensions. Just scratching the surface of the two-year conflict, which no one thought would linger so long, continues to bring fear of more aggression as Russia, in its speed, is taking over military control, building up more force’s strength on the fringes of Ukraine. On February 16, 2024, Russia captured the town of Avdiivka, its most significant territorial gain.


While perceiving the multifaceted dimensions of the conflict that include military dynamics, dividing the world through diplomatic prospects, humanitarian exploitations and the broader implications for regional stability and economic consequences. Many conflict observers do not even rule out calling this European, war or the beginning of the next global war.


Military Dynamics and Stalemate:

On the second anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the United States implemented sweeping sanctions against Russia, singling out over 500 individuals and entities in response to the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.


President Joe Biden affirmed that Putin “will pay an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home.” These sanctions specifically targeted Russia’s Mir Payment System, financial institutions, and its military-industrial base. Additionally, the Biden administration aims to maintain support for Ukraine as the nation grapples with critical shortages of ammunition. Despite two years of conflict, a frustrating stalemate characterizes the military dynamics between Ukraine and Russia. Neither side appears to be gaining ground, with both grappling with significant losses and casualties. Russia’s incremental territorial advances come at a steep cost in casualties and equipment, while Ukrainian forces find themselves on the defensive after a 2023 counteroffensive.


Challenges in troop mobilization persist, particularly for Ukraine given its smaller population compared to Russia. Weaponry remains central to the conflict, with Russia diversifying its arsenal while Ukraine relies heavily on foreign aid, notably from the United States and European Countries.


Role of Private Armies and Third Parties in the Conflict


The involvement of banned private military organizations has emerged as a significant concern, drawing individuals from diverse nations including Nepal. Just recently, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a cautionary advisory to Indian citizens amidst reports of recruitment by a private military entity in support of the Russian army.

Randhir Jaiswal, the spokesperson, emphasized the need for prudence and advocated for dialogue with Russian authorities. The case of Mohammad Sufiyan, a resident of Hyderabad, highlights the gravity of the situation as his family seeks government intervention to secure his release. Asaduddin Owaisi, Member of Parliament for AIMIM, has called for proactive engagement to facilitate the rescue of individuals like Sufiyan. Imran, Sufiyan’s brother, has provided detailed accounts of recruitment by the Baba Blocks Company, revealing initial deception in the recruitment process. He urges governmental assistance and demands accountability for the deceitful practices of recruiting agents. There is an urgent plea for swift action to ensure the safety of trapped Indian nationals, underscoring the necessity of a diplomatic resolution to this crisis.

Earlier, another leader of the private army Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, leader of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, perished in a plane crash near Moscow in August 2023 along with nine others. Russian President Vladimir V. Putin expressed condolences, though U.S. officials suggested foul play, hinting at a possible explosion. Wagner, despite being an illegal private military entity in Russia, had longstanding ties to Russian military and intelligence, affirmed by Putin himself in 2023. Earlier Prigozhin and his men had declared mutiny against Russian troops and were much in the news. The use of mercenaries is completely banned in international law and thus was much in debate as well as in use.

Humanitarian Efforts and Challenges:

Around 30,000 are missing in Ukraine since the conflict began two years ago, Ukraine’s National Police reported. The ICRC says since February 2022 its team has been contacted more than 100,000 times by families searching for their loved ones.

Denise Brown, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine, provides crucial insights into the ongoing humanitarian efforts amidst persistent threats to staff and civilians. She underscores the daily occurrences of attacks across various regions, highlighting the pervasive fear instilled by the uncertainty of each day. Immediate responses involve collaborative efforts between government and humanitarian entities to provide psychosocial support, repair infrastructure, and distribute essential supplies.

In January 2024, Edem Wosornu, Director of Operations and Advocacy at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), revealed a dire situation in Ukraine. A staggering 14.6 million Ukrainians, representing approximately 40% of the population, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Within this population, four million are internally displaced, with nearly one million being children, still seeking refuge within their own country. Globally, over 6.3 million Ukrainians remain displaced.

The toll on Ukraine’s cultural heritage has been profound, with approximately 4,779 cultural and tourist sites damaged, including significant heritage buildings and artworks. According to UNESCO, the resulting damages amount to an estimated US $3.5 billion. The projected reconstruction costs for cultural heritage alone are estimated at nearly US $9 billion over the next decade.

Infrastructure has also suffered extensive destruction. A study conducted in February 2024 indicates that reconstruction and recovery efforts will require US $486 billion over the next decade, marking a significant increase from the previous estimate of $411 billion. Housing needs are paramount, with an estimated cost of US $80 billion, followed by requirements in transport, commerce, industry, agriculture, energy, social protection, livelihoods, and explosive hazard management.

However, the prevailing sentiment accompanying these attacks is one of profound loss, further compounded when critical services like schools and health clinics are affected.

Diplomatic Prospects and Challenges: The prospect of negotiations to end the conflict remains dim, with the Kremlin’s uncompromising stance demanding terms incompatible with Ukrainian sovereignty.

Despite diplomatic efforts, including the Minsk agreements, lasting peace has remained elusive. The international community’s role in mediating the conflict and providing humanitarian assistance remains crucial. However, geopolitical tensions and diverging interests among global powers complicate diplomatic initiatives.

As the conflict persists, observers suggest that diplomatic channels must remain open to explore avenues for de-escalation and eventual resolution. Prime Minister Modi has time and again said that war in this century is not a solution but needs dialogue. India continues to buy raw petroleum from Russia despite sanctions and criticism by the Western world that sometimes irritates the West but India of late has been quite direct in defining India - Russia strategic relations.

Equally Russia -China trade has rocketed up and the relationship has further strengthened. China is taking advantage of the situation and solidifying its positioning and economy in the current conflict.

Public Opinion and Sociopolitical Dynamics: Public opinion within Russia and Ukraine plays a significant role in shaping the trajectory of the conflict. While support for the war may have initially been high, there are signs of waning enthusiasm, not only in Russia and Ukraine but fatigue is seen in the enthusiastic European countries as citizens continue to suffer.

The imposition of sanctions, economic hardships, and mounting casualties have led to growing discontent among the populace. The increase in the cost of living because of the Russia -Ukraine conflict is affecting nearly every developed country where the cost of energy has rocketed up leading to costly living for the common masses. One can also find the enduring spirit of resilience and defiance against each other that we saw aggression at the beginning of the conflict amongst the citizens of Ukraine and Russia.

Geopolitical Implications and Regional Stability: The Ukraine-Russia conflict has broader implications for regional stability and global security. The persistence of hostilities risks further destabilizing Eastern Europe and exacerbating tensions between Russia and NATO. The annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine have raised concerns about the erosion of international norms and principles of territorial integrity.

Moreover, the conflict has strained relations between Russia and the West, leading to a new Cold War dynamic characterized by geopolitical rivalries and proxy conflicts. At several multilateral official gatherings, the vote remained divided and many times several countries abstained. China continues to openly support Russia while the US and the West continue to support Ukraine. Meanwhile, India took a balanced position when the war started. India in several important security council meetings abstained. India did not go by the sanctions imposed by the West and continued buying Russian oil that in its finished form indirectly enters European countries.


As the Ukraine-Russia conflict persists into its third year, its multifaceted nature demands a comprehensive approach that addresses humanitarian, military, diplomatic, and sociopolitical aspects. The imperative for ongoing international support sustained diplomatic engagement, and efforts to tackle underlying grievances cannot be overstated. A durable resolution to the conflict hinges on sincere commitment from all involved parties to prioritize peace, stability, and the well-being of affected populations. However, achieving this requires more than rhetoric; it necessitates concrete action and a results-oriented approach.

In light of this, the initiation of serious negotiations facilitated by a trusted third party, other than the UN, is essential. Such a mediator accepted and respected by both conflicting parties, could catalyse progress towards a viable solution. With global economic growth at stake, as demonstrated by its vulnerability to further misadventures, urgent and earnest negotiations are imperative to mitigate potential repercussions and foster a path towards sustainable peace and prosperity.

The author is National Editor Greater Kashmir