War in Ukraine: is Cold War between East and West really over?

Oluwatoni Olujinmi

The war Russia-Ukraine is the largest deployment of military forces in Europe since the end of WWII. Despite choruses of protest in the international community, Russia launched a vast attack on Ukraine on the night of 23-24 February 2022.

The aggression was condemned by the West, primarily by US President Joe Biden. But what are the differences in Russian and American interests in the conflict, and how much other nations are involved?

How the war in Ukraine started

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 began on the morning of February 24, when Putin announced a “special military operation” to “demilitarize” Ukraine. Minutes later, missiles and airstrikes hit Ukraine, including Kyiv, followed by a massive ground invasion on multiple fronts.

At the end of September, Russia annexed four Ukrainian regions that it had partially conquered during the invasion. This annexation was widely ignored and condemned by the world’s governments.

The invasion was widely condemned around the world as an act of aggression. A UN resolution demanded that Russian forces withdraw completely. Many countries imposed new sanctions, affecting the Russian and global economies, and provided humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.

Russia-Ukraine war: peace shattered after 70 years and new geopolitical arrangements

Russia has managed to bring war to Europe again. The geopolitical arrangements we knew until that famous 24 February are already changing direction. Trade contacts for exports and imports of raw materials are also changing.

Europe’s historical closeness to Russia has now crumbled after this conflict. Since that fateful 24 February, Europe has been forced to look overseas, to the United States, after years of tiring relations.

Countries around the world have been forced to side with one or the other faction, namely the Russian or the American one.

What is China’s role in the war in Ukraine?

China has never taken sides economically. It only preferred to condemn the conflict, without offering either military support or introducing economic sanctions.

As Gabriele Natalizia, professor of international relations at the Sapienza University of Rom explained:

“China has always had an ambiguous position. While the Russians and Chinese have an economic partnership, it is true that Beijing has denied the military aid requested by Moscow. The Russians and the Chinese historically either have no relationship or they go to war with each other.”

Is Cold War really over? The West vs the East

Now Ukraine is beginning to consider neutrality, a goal Putin has had since the beginning of the conflict. Again according to Professor Natalizia, the reason for the start of the conflict was never the Donbass, but to be able to impose neutrality by force and take back Crimea, already conquered entirely by the Russians, and take Mariupol to use it as a bargaining chip in the negotiations.

In any case, it is probable that China has no intention of exposing itself more. The fear for the West is that if China and India were to mend fences, as is likely to happen, a new super alliance would be created. Ready to wink at Russia, given that 50% of Indian armaments come from Moscow, just as both import energy from this country.

Inevitable at that point would be the creation of a new super alliance between Russia, India and China. This would split the world in two, as happened 70 years ago during the Cold War.

In spite of this fanciful theory, we know very well that China also maintains very good trade relations with the US and Europe, so even this prospect would be unprofitable for the Chinese.

Not taking sides, therefore, is the most logical and right choice to make, especially when millions and millions of dollars are at stake.

How will the world be transformed after the conflict in Ukraine?

Everything will depend on diplomacy. We must aim to maintain good relations, even with the nations we have condemned.

If diplomacy fails, we will soon find ourselves in a new storm, in a new cold war between the West and Russia, and the loser will be all of us. The loser will certainly be the peace that we have so painstakingly maintained for the past seventy years.

Read also: Does Russia’s retreat from Kherson open a new phase in the war?

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