Predictions for the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict 2022

Nika Anderson, Editor-in-Chief

January 2022 started off with Russia amassing an upwards of 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border, which US intelligence officials brand as a sign of incursion. Russia feels the need to invade Ukraine to stop it from joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Putin is fixated on the idea of reestablishing the USSR so he could use post-Soviet nations as buffers from the West. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov demanded NATO not accept Ukraine into its ranks, but NATO secretary Jens Stoltenberg affirmed that Russia does not decide who joins their alliance. 

Yes, tensions are heightening, but it must be kept in mind that the war in Ukraine is currently ongoing. Putin is not getting his way in diplomatic summits and this threat of incursion is his manipulation tactic. It is not the 2014 scenario, when Ukraine’s army was disorganized and unprepared for this occupation. Right now, Ukraine is equipped with modern drone technology, javelins, and has military support from various civilized nations. Recently, Spain sent warships to support Ukraine in the Black Sea. Military alliances ensure that Ukraine is equipped and trained, so that American troops would never have to go to war directly with Russia. An invasion would be unfavorable to Russia because they do not need a second Afghanistan. Likewise, if Russia could not quell its Chechnya crisis and had to install Ramzan Kadyrov to preside over that region, it proves how disorganized the country really is. The Russian army does not harbor hatred towards Ukraine and the general population of Russia would condemn it. Putin’s oligarchs do not need this war. Nobody in Russia does. 

At most, Russia can continue raiding villages and settlements on a much smaller scale. Anything more, and it would be an official declaration of war. If that was the case, UN peacekeeping troops could possibly intervene and the West would be prepared to respond. America’s troops would not even have to step foot in Ukraine; the US would simply paralyze the Russian economy from home. Many Russian oligarchs would have their assets frozen abroad and Russia would be disconnected from SWIFT. Right now, the ruble is falling, and a war would damage the Russian economy even more. The US would impose Iran-style trade embargoes on Russia, stop the supply of electronic goods to Russia, and would stop importing Russian crude. 

A worrying nuance involving Germany must be taken into account when making predictions about Ukraine. Germany, which is a NATO member, refuses to export arms to Ukraine and even obstructs other countries from providing military aid to Ukraine. Recently, Germany blocked England from entering its airway to deliver anti-tank weaponry to Ukraine and Germany also refused Estonia to supply howitzer tanks to Kyiv. Berlin has also been blocking NATO from supplying shipments of weapons from other NATO countries as well. Germany’s Russophilic reasoning behind their refusal is that they fear Ukraine will use these weapons to instigate a provocation. However, this feigned pacifist strategy is to assuage Putin, for whom they helped build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The pragmatism of the Bundestag’s inaction is dangerous and can lead to Putin encroaching on former East Germany if he so pleases. Germany’s futile negotiations with Moscow could earn them another Berlin Wall. If Germany wants peace, they must prepare for war. 

It is also noteworthy to add that Western media exacerbates fears of a “pending World War III” in order to gain readership. News sources make Russian politicians such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky and propagandist Vladimir Solovyov sound threatening to those outside post-Soviet countries. When Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader Zhirinovsky demanded Kyiv to be bombed, Eastern Europe dismissed him as a laughingstock because LDPR has nearly no seats in Russian Parliament. A disheveled man that started a fistfight in the Russian State Duma should not be able to intimidate the West. Zhirinovsky’s statements carry no political gravity and he has absolutely no influence on the world stage. Solovyov gets paid to make the US nervous with his drivel. Russia is achieving its goal when Americans are unnerved by their state-sponsored brainwashing tactics. Russia is only doing what it is good at: empty threats. The bottom line is – the dog’s bark is worse than its bite.