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Eugene Czolij: Russia’s 'Z' stands for zero

September 8, 2022 10:34 pmby Eugene Czolij
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Eugene Czolij: Russia’s 'Z' stands for zero

The opinions expressed in the op-ed section are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions of the Kyiv Independent.

There was some speculation as to what the letter “Z” meant for the Kremlin, and why it became the symbol of Russia’s genocidal war against Ukraine.

Now, this “Z” clearly stands for the zero gained by Russia from its war against Ukraine.

Prior to Russia’s full-scale military attack against Ukraine, the Kremlin’s disinformation propaganda forecasted that Ukraine would not be able to withstand Russia’s all-out war and would be defeated within a few days. 

However, Russia’s initial strategic plans to quickly take over Kyiv, depose Ukraine’s democratically elected governing authorities and conquer the whole of Ukraine became a colossal fiasco, and Russia’s military troops have either walked away from the Kyiv region empty-handed or met their final destiny there.

As a face-saver, the Kremlin then propagated that Russian troops would take over the whole of the Donbas region by 9 May, which has also not happened.

Instead, Ukraine has already liberated a portion of the Russian-occupied territories and is on its way to recapturing Kherson in the south of Ukraine, which will be a major blow to the morale of Russian troops.

Perhaps most damning for the Kremlin is that the myth that it perpetrated for so long – namely, that Russia is a superpower – which led many Western leaders and so-called experts to promote an appeasement policy with the Kremlin, was literally shattered by the current David vs Goliath war in Ukraine.

The results achieved by Ukraine’s army have even shifted US policy to openly supply Ukraine with more tactical weapons that has already been adversely felt by the Russian military.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces, with the full support of the Ukrainian people, have demonstrated over the last six months that Ukraine will ultimately win the all-out war launched by Russia on 24 February 2022 and bring peace back to Europe. 

 The autumn months will be decisive in determining at what cost this victory will come. Not only for Ukraine, but also for the West. The more Western countries waver, the higher the human and financial cost will be for everyone, as the Kremlin has weaponized gas, nuclear power stations, food, refugees and information.

To minimize further suffering and destruction, Western countries must now: (a) provide Ukraine with the necessary financial assistance and weapons to enable Ukraine to impose a no-fly zone and push the Russian army back to the Ukraine-Russia border; and (b) strengthen sanctions against Russia so that Western money does not continue to finance Russia’s genocidal war against Ukraine. 

At this point, it is predominantly a question of the political will of Western leaders that will determine how quickly and at what cost Ukraine will win the war launched by Russia, and thereby ensure peace, stability and security in Europe with its resulting positive global impact.

The realization by all that Russia’s “Z” really stands for the zero gained by Russia from its unprovoked war against Ukraine should lead to meaningful support of Ukraine by the West during these critical autumn months.

Eugene Czolij
Author:  Eugene Czolij

Eugene Czolij is president of the Ukraine-2050 nongovernmental organization and served as president of the Ukrainian World Congress from 2008-2018. Ukraine-2050 was established to help implement within one generation – by 2050 – strategies for the sustainable development of Ukraine as a fully independent, territorially integral, democratic, reformed and economically competitive European state.

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