The Russian invasion into eastern Ukraine began over six years ago and shelling and skirmishes continue regularly to this day costing lives among other serious consequences. This, of course, is in addition to Putin’s earlier outrageous invasion and occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
In eastern Ukraine Russia created, stimulated, and supported with supplies, arms, and command leadership the so-called “separatist” forces to make war against Ukraine. And that war continues despite very little media interest.
Russia’s war has led to about 420,000 citizens of Ukraine participating in this war to defend their country. The death toll just in the territories controlled by Ukraine has been 14,000 people with an estimated 10,000 civilian casualties, 24,000 injured, and more than 1.5 million internally displaced people.
Oh, there have been periodic so-called “ceasefire agreements” but, like any other agreement involving Russia, they have proved to be relatively meaningless. At the time of this writing (October 26) the latest “ceasefire” was violated yesterday by Russian armed groups with a tripod-mounted man-portable antitank gun. Thankfully, no casualties were reported but not because the enemy was trying not to hit anyone.
The Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE) agreed on July 22 to a full and comprehensive ceasefire along the 280-mile front “contact” line to start on July 27. And yet, on that first day Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted three attacks on Ukrainian forces if nothing more, continuing to prove what so many policy makers wish to ignore – agreements with the Kremlin are meaningless.
From the time of the Russian invasion of Crimea the United States and the west have imposed sanctions and these efforts have continued through the Trump Administration but it can and should be argued more are justified and required.
After refusing to provide lethal weaponry to Ukraine finally in 2018 the sale of javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine was approved and more lethal support has been forthcoming. As have joint military exercises.
And, on the humanitarian front individual countries have provided aid. The United Nations has raised more than $500 million over the last six years specifically to assist victims of the Russian war in Ukraine. But none of this, and all of it together is not enough. The price Mr. Putin and Russia are paying is not enough. They continue their occupation and armed aggression.
The cost to the Kremlin must increase. The consequences of their malevolent actions must be made to be too much to bear.