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Eugene Czolij: 2022’s daunting year-end questions

December 14, 2022 4:48 PM 3 min read
A man walks past the NATO logo during the meeting of the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest, Romania, on Nov. 30, 2022. (Getty Images)
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Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in our op-ed section are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of the Kyiv Independent.

NATO member countries and Israel have the weapons to enable Ukraine to impose a no-fly zone and stop a genocide, which would create a substantially better and safer world.

So why have they still not delivered those weapons to Ukraine?

Why is Germany willing to send its Patriot missile defense system to Poland but not to Ukraine, even though Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak asked that it be sent to Ukraine to ensure that both Poland and Ukraine are protected?

Why is the Pentagon still not sending its Patriot missile defense systems to Ukraine, even though U.S. President Joe Biden stated eight months ago, on April 12, 2022, that Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine?

Why is Israel not delivering its Iron Dome missile defense system to Ukraine, even though its enemy, Iran, is supplying Russia with attack drones and benefiting from real battlefield testing of this hardware in Ukraine that could then be used against Israel?

Why are NATO member countries willing to allocate billions of dollars to address the consequences of Russia’s destruction of Ukraine’s cities and towns, instead of dealing with the core problem and helping Ukraine prevent such devastation with a no-fly zone at a substantially lower cost?

Why are Western leaders only reacting to Putin’s next dangerous move instead of driving the agenda to ensure that the basic rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the UN Charter are respected for the general benefit of all?

Some still provide the same lame response that NATO does not want to be drawn into Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, as if openly supplying some types of lethal weapons, including American HIMARS and the German IRIS-T air defense system to Ukraine, as well as sanctioning Russia and freezing its assets worldwide, magically keeps NATO from getting involved in this war while supplying the most-needed weapons that would ensure that Ukraine could impose a no-fly zone and stop a genocide would get NATO involved.

This simply defies Cartesian logic.

Others continue to naively believe that one can somehow negotiate a peace settlement with a terrorist state that does not want it, even though the German President, the architect of the “Steinmeier Formula” for peace with Russia, had to concede on Oct. 28, 2022, after his trip to Ukraine, that Russia’s full-blown war against Ukraine “marked the definitive, bitter failure of years of political efforts.”

Steinmeier emphasized that a sham peace settlement with Putin  “would mean a rule of terror for many people in Ukraine (and) would leave them at the mercy of their Russian occupiers’ arbitrary violence,” also adding: “(w)orse yet — a sham peace … would only increase Putin’s hunger. Moldova and Georgia, as well as our Nato partners in the Baltic, live in fear . . . An unjust peace is no peace — it carries the seed of new wars within it.”

There remains Russia’s on-off threat to use nuclear weapons, which is naturally disquieting; however, NATO member countries have only one viable option to mitigate Russia’s nuclear threat – namely, to warn the Kremlin in no uncertain terms that the consequences would be devastating for Russia and spell the end of the Russian military.

Any other reaction would be perceived by the Kremlin as a sign of weakness and incite it to fully weaponize its nuclear arsenal to blackmail NATO member countries on several key strategic issues, as the Kremlin did on Dec. 17, 2021, when it published its unacceptable draft U.S.-Russia and NATO-Russia agreements on security guarantees.

Most military experts now agree that Ukraine will win this war. This is obviously in the best interests of NATO member countries as it will enhance security, stability, and prosperity in the world.

It is therefore incumbent on NATO member countries to stop their inexplicable and unjustifiable wavering and supply Ukraine with the most effective weapons to help accelerate its victory and minimize the avoidable human losses and further devastation of property.

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