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War unto what end?

P. A. Chacko P. A. Chacko
13 Mar 2023
The UN’s passing a non-binding resolution calling for Russia to end hostilities and withdraw from Ukraine appears to be water on a duck’s back.

A year into Ukraine war, people with human feelings ask: War unto what end?

The UN’s passing a non-binding resolution calling for Russia to end hostilities and withdraw from Ukraine appears to be water on a duck’s back. Given Putin’s intent, the Russian invasion of Ukraine will escalate as he has reportedly declared that the delayed Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile will be deployed this year.

The RS-28 Sarmat, known as Satan II, is reportedly a Russian liquid fuelled super heavy missile. It is capable of carrying about10 tonnes of payload for 10 to 15 warheads, 24 hypersonic glide vehicles and counter measures against anti-ballistic missile systems. In other words, Putin is saying, don’t joke with me, nor take me as a joker.

Mass graves and torture chambers, pulverized homes and mansions, smoldering heaps of hospitals and worshipping places, streets littered with dead bodies, homeless refugees and heartless deeds of the power hungry are there for everyone to see as the end product of the infamous Ukraine war.  But these things don’t seem to be enough for Putin.

According to BBC reports, the year-long war has resulted in the death of 8,000 Ukraine civilians, 13,000 wounded, more than eighty lakh homeless persons, death of one lakh Ukraine soldiers and two lakh Russian soldiers, and one-and-a-half crore men, women and children thrown out homeless and stateless. The world says enough is enough!

The Ukraine War started on February 24, 2022 with the Russian President calling it a “special military operation”. 

The UN resolution calling for a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace” was backed by 141 countries, while 32 countries, including India, abstained from voting, and seven countries, including Russia, voted against. 

The Russian invasion was described by the UN Secretary General António Guterres as an ‘affront to our collective conscience.’ Ukraine’s staunch defense has been for its sovereignty and territorial integrity.  

This war has been termed ‘the largest, most protracted military offensive in the continent since World War II.’ Between these two warring nations, it is the innocent civilians and the civilian institutions that have paid the highest price. 

Understanding such horror and agony, Pope Francis expressed his anguish and sorrow and has been sending out tireless appeals for peace. "I would like to appeal to those who have political responsibility, so that they may make a serious examination of conscience before God, who is the God of peace and not of war."

The Pope says, ‘War is madness!’ Hence, his urgent appeal is: ‘Stop, please! Look at this cruelty. It is inhuman and sacrilegious cruelty!"

Denouncing Russia’s year-long offensive against Ukraine, the Pope highlights the deaths caused “not only from gunfire and acts of violence but also from hunger and freezing cold.” 

Any war is tragic and it sows destruction and death. But, when it is perpetrated by power packed despotism and hydra-headed arrogance, the consequences can be more spine-chilling and horrendous. The world witnessed it with horror when Hitler’s nationalistic pride took him to heights of madness by exterminating the Jews in gas chambers and through other weird means.  

When such evil forces reincarnate in today’s world where despots ride high and authoritarian governments use their power arsenal to do ethnic or communal cleansing, men and women of conscience need to stand up to denounce them. If the world stands in need of peace today, a firm denunciation has to come to the centre stage.

It was to this purpose the world bodies stood shoulder to shoulder and presented to the nations a monumental document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. They had in mind the horrors of two World Wars and the devilish rise of Nazi rule under Hitler. The world leaders denounced the past and announced measures to ensure peace and security in the world in future by respecting the human person and his/her rights which are fundamental to a decent human existence. The nations were to put them into practice by inserting them into their legal system. 

However, in spite of such efforts, human rights abuses have been the rule rather than an exception. That is where we see arrogant and megalomaniac political leaders not only fiddle while their nations burn with escalation of human rights abuses, but also invade other nations to pander to their selfish motives. Even in such cases, the United Nation Organization can pass only resolutions without any binding force. With the super powers wielding control over the Security Council using their veto power, the UN appears to be a prisoner in its own premises. And, succumbing to madness, if a despot were to press the nuclear button, not only the UN but the whole world could be reduced to ashes. Should such eventuality happen? No, never!

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