When the war in Ukraine began, few could have predicted the magnitude this conflict would take. However, recent developments give cause for extreme pessimism. Far from being resolved, the situation is getting worse by the day and the worst seems to be yet to come.
According to Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day speech last Monday, Russia will stop at nothing to “protect” its interests. Are we prepared to maintain our commitment to them in the years to come as casualties mount?
A twisted view
Twisting the facts to his advantage, the Russian President did not hesitate to give the West and NATO a thousand and one bellicose intentions in his May 9 speech. He stressed the need to defend the “motherland” and laid out a series of misguided conjectures ranging from the nuclear weapon the Ukrainian government is said to be in the process of acquiring to a NATO plan against Russia.
Although Putin often resorted to a certain “victimization” in his speeches in order to appeal to the patriotism of the Russian people and thereby justify his policies, even the most drastic ones, this time the consequences of precisely this type of rhetoric are more than catastrophic for them Ukrainian population already numbering thousands dead and almost 6 million refugees.
Figures that will only get worse as the vision of the world presented by Vladimir Putin in his speech seems incompatible with a de-escalation of tensions.
Towards Martial Law?
Barely 24 hours after the Victory Day celebrations, American intelligence revealed several armed incidents in Transnistria, a region of Moldova. These incidents would point to a widening conflict with Russia. While the war in Ukraine already seems to have drained the Kremlin’s resources, what means will Moscow use to maintain another military front? Will Martial Law Be Debated As Some Pundits Predict? If that were the case, it would force the Kremlin to acknowledge that it is officially at war.
Even if the war is obvious to us, it should not be forgotten that Russia has claimed from the beginning that this is more of a “special operation” to “denazify” Ukraine. This linguistic adjustment appears minor, but would actually be very significant, as it represents a major shift in perspective, accompanied by a significant increase in the resources available to the state to support this war for several months.
Are we really ready for such a war?
The Kremlin, American intelligence agencies and the US House of Representatives, which approved an additional 40 billion in aid to Ukraine on May 10, appear poised for a worsening of the conflict. But what about us? Are Western peoples ready to pay attention to this conflict and to support their governments’ decisions to come to this country’s aid for a few more months?
While the war in Ukraine is still getting fairly extensive media coverage, the anticipated short-lived conflict will require much more than a temporary Facebook profile picture change. The media must therefore maintain its mission to inform and report on the horrors of this war so that we can maintain support that meets the needs of the victim population. Because disinterest almost always leads to disengagement.
Sarah Germain, Associate researcher at the Canadian Observatory on Humanitarian Crises and Action, responsible for communication and social networks at the Institute of International Studies of Montreal and master’s student at UQA