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Are Ukrainians preparing for war?

Lenin Boscaney
7 min read
Are Ukrainians preparing for war? – News – WebMediums
Ukrainian army prepares for war near Chernobyl

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine dates back several decades; certainly since Ukraine's separation from the Russians thanks to the December 1991 referendum.

There is also another crucial moment in this history, and that is when, then, Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine), on June 8, 2017, approved a law that focused on joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a priority in the foreign policies.

All this has generated several conflicts between Russia and Eastern Europe, since the Asian-European country sees NATO incursions as a threat to national security. Therefore, at the moment the conflict has become more acute because the member countries do not give in to Putin's demands.

a different war

Are Ukrainians preparing for war? – News – WebMediums
Ukrainian women prepare to defend their nation

Just as the "Cold War" was called the conflict between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), which more than a traditional war with armies and weapons, in this case it was an arms competition to show who had more technological and military power as a world power.

In this current situation between Russia and Ukraine there is talk of a different war conflict. The concept of "hybrid warfare" has come to the fore, a term that dates back to the year 2000. In this regard, Antonio Alonso Marcos, professor of International Relations at the University of San Pablo CEU explains:

"A country can use means that undermine the security and stability of another country. And they are not military means, but, for example, cyberattacks or the launch of a massive wave of tweets that go against the position of a certain government... That's called hybrid warfare."

For Alonso Marcos, new technologies are the means used to "sow" confusion, chaos and destabilization.

Fundamental factors are propaganda and provocation, although other mechanisms such as insurgency, migration, the use of "fake news" and disinformation can also be added.

An example of all this is the cyberattack that occurred in mid-January of this year in Ukraine, where the authorities reported that the objective "was not only to intimidate society, but also to destabilize the situation with false information about the vulnerability of the computer infrastructure of the Condition".

In addition, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has assured that his country is suffering from a true hybrid war, alleging the aforementioned factors, as well as reporting that in recent days there have been many false bomb threats and for this reason they have been closed. many schools.

However, the government of Vladimir Putin has denied the use of these means to destabilize the country, as well as a possible invasion of Ukrainian territory.

The truth is that satellite photographs show Russian military camps on the border with Ukraine where the presence of troops has increased in recent days.

An unusual strategy

Are Ukrainians preparing for war? – News – WebMediums
President Vladimir Putin denies war intentions against Ukraine

While Putin denies any war attempt by Russia, the Zelensky government has deployed its military troops to practice and prepare to defend the nation in Chernobyl.

It should be noted that starting in 1986, when the biggest nuclear disaster in human history took place in Chernobyl, the city was evicted and no one has lived in the city since then. The disaster occurred when the Vladimir Lenin nuclear power plant exploded killing 31 people instantly.

Not only was the city evacuated, but surrounding countries were warned of the danger, as radioactive fallout spread across Europe, exposing millions to high levels of radiation; and for these reasons it is estimated that around 200,000 people have died due to long-term health problems.

Since the practices of the Ukrainian army in Chernobyl, Denys Monastyrsky, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, confessed in statements to journalists present at the scene that all this was to demonstrate the improved urban combat tactics since the Russians annexed Crimea to their territory in the 2014.

Apparently the propaganda strategy is a mechanism used by both nations to intimidate the other. However, uncertainty is a reality for the inhabitants of Ukraine in the face of the constant advance of the Russian military to the border between the two countries.

Media escalation before possible war

Given the events mentioned above, the declarations of leaders, military and civilians have not been long in coming. On the one hand, the Russian government denies any link to propaganda events and mechanisms that accuse it of using a hybrid war against Ukraine.

For its part, a few months ago the United States government described a Russian invasion of Ukraine as "imminent" when it saw the deployment of Russian troops on the border between the two countries. However, representatives of some European Union nations and Ukraine described the US remarks as "alarmist."

"Do not trust the apocalyptic forecasts," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba urged on his Twitter account on Sunday.

"We know very well what the degree of the threats is and, without a doubt, we must avoid alarmist reactions," the head of EU foreign policy, Josep Borrell, announced at the end of January.

However, this Monday in Washington, Borrell together with Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, coincided with the first statements from the White House:

"Without a doubt we are living, in my opinion, the most dangerous moment for security in Europe after the end of the Cold War. 140,000 soldiers posted on the border, they are not here for tea!"

"This is not alarmism. These are simply the facts," Blinken said on Monday. In the same way, the Joe Biden government has already reported that Moscow has already mobilized 110,000 troops to the border, almost 70% of the 150,000 troops needed for a large-scale invasion, which could be launched in mid-February.

For her part, Alexandra Stupak, an officer of the Ukrainian Border Guard, said that "we are ready to protect our Ukraine, but we do not want a conflict situation."

Along the same lines, Oleksandr Hrigorevskiy, a captain in the Ukrainian navy, said: "I don't expect a war at sea with the Russians." However, for some civilians the possible war is not a reality.

A Ukrainian resident who did not want to be identified confessed that "they have been saying 'war is coming' for five years. Only a fool would start a war. There would be no winners."

In the same way, Masha, a 64-year-old lady, denied the possibility of a war. "It's not going to happen, is Putin going to war with civilians? He won't do that. Never in his life. It's all lies, politics. We don't even think about it."

It is expected that a possible invasion by Russia could take place in mid-February and meanwhile the opinions about the conflict are very varied, but returning to the statements of the academic Antonio Alonso Marcos:

" Traditional wars, with a uniformed army entering the territory of another state, as was done in Iraq or Afghanistan, hardly happen anymore. Now, wars are more asymmetric, with other actors involved. Their predominant characteristic is that they do not with traditional methods, then it also has to do with the political will to identify it that way".

The world is waiting for what will happen in the coming days, in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic and in the face of all this media escalation. Meanwhile the Russians and Ukrainians are a few kilometers away from seeing each other.