How It Ends in Ukraine

James Van Zorge
James Van Zorge, is a Business consultant in Indonesia that has worked for the Harvard Institute for International Development, Food and Agriculture Organization, McKinsey & Co., and A.T.Kearney’s Global Business Policy Institute. He completed his BA in International Relations, summacum laude, at the State University of New York at Albany, and he holds a Masters of Public Policy, International Economics, from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Jakarta, IO – As the Russo-Ukrainian war enters its second month of hostilities, there is little hope for peace in the immediate future. It is certain there will be many more Russian and Ukranian casualties as the West pours more military aid into the hands of the Ukranian armed forces and imposes increasingly stiffer economic sanctions on Russia. Indiscriminate shellings and aerial bombings of both military and civilian infrastructure will persist, as well, and as Russia starts its push into eastern Ukraine with as much force it can muster, cratered landscapes littered with corpses will continue to define a war that has sadly shattered the long peace in Europe following the second world war. 

The world has been shocked from the harrowing atrocities by Russian forces committed against civilian populations in places such as Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv regions involving summary executions and rape. Mass graves in Bucha, located in the outskirts of Kyiv, stories of women and children being terrorized and in some cases murdered by Russian soldiers have been extensively documented and have already prompted calls for investigations on war crimes. 

Yet don’t expect any feelings of remorse from Putin and his generals to demand Russian soldiers to behave any differently. Putin recently lauded members of the military unit that is alleged to have murdered innocent civilians in Bucha, and for those who went through the horrors of indiscriminate attacks in the past, for example in the Chechen capital of Grozny in 1999 and 2000 and again in 2016 in Aleppo, Syria, it is an all-too-familiar story of a military that has scant regard for human life. 

Read: The last act of President Putin?

As more death and destruction continue, so will economic sanctions imposed on Russia in the hopes it will modify Russia›s behavior and bring a faster end to the war. 

The West’s coming together with a unified stance on the need for harsh economic sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine undoubtedly came as a surprise to Putin. After all, in spite of his invasions of Georgia in 2008, the Crimea and Donbas region in eastern Ukraine in 2014, the West’s response was akin to a slap on the wrist.