Ukraine War, September 9, 2022: Fighting until the last Ukrainian soldier; Ukrainians make incredible sacrifices, while the West won’t even impose secondary sanctions

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Dispatches

1) John Hudson, “Wounded Ukrainian soldiers reveal steep toll of Kherson offensive, Washington Post, September 7, 2022 (2:00 a.m. EDT);

2) “Primary And Secondary Sanctions Explained,” Sanctions.IO, June 28, 2022.

Analysis

Since the beginning of the Russian war against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the U.S. and EU and NATO member countries have come to the assistance of Ukraine with economic and military aid, and the firm resolution not to get involved in any direct military confrontation with Russian forces.

In the early stages of the war, the U.S. and NATO countries avoided providing “heavy weapons” or weapons tgat could be used to attack targets within Russia proper, out of fear pf provoking Vladimir Putin by crossing one of his arbitrary “red lines”. Under international law, Ukraine has every right to attack targets in Russia from which “armed attacks” on its territory are emanating, such as military bases from which missiles are being launched at its cities.

The U.S. and NATO countries, however, will not furnish weapons with such “offensive” capabilities, such as fighter aircraft. Or they furnish such weapons with restrictions and physical limitations.

For example, in providing the highly effective HIMARS artillery which has a range of 300 kilometers or 180 miles, the U.S. has insisted on commitments that they won’t be used to attack targets in Russia proper, and reflecting the “belt and suspenders” approach of White House lawyers, have further limited their use by only furnishing ammunition with a range of 80 kilometers or 50 miles.

In short, the U.S. makes the Ukraine promise not to use the HIMARS against targets in Russia proper, and makes sure that they won’t by limiting the range of the ammunition they provide for the HIMARS.

Over time, President Joe Biden has become less fearful of provoking Putin with military moves, and has approved of attacks on Russian-held positions within the internationally-recognized borders of Ukraine, including the Crimea.

Nonetheless, the position of the U.S. and its NATO allies has become and remains one of willingness to fight the invading Russian troops down to the last Ukrainian soldier.

This approach fails to recognize that Putin’s and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and commission of barbaric war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide (as defined in the 1948 U.N. Convention on Genocide) constitutes a frontal assault on the U.N. Charter and international law, and our entire civilization which rests on those two pillars.

Hudson’s report, based on interviews with wounded Ukrainian solders who have been fighting in the South, brings home the extreme sacrifices by Ukrainian soldiers being caused by the allied policy of supporting Ukraine militarily “down to the last uUkrainian soldier”.

There is something deeply immoral about this approach. It is based on the false assumption that the war is only about Ukraine and is up to the Ukrainians to win or lose. It amounts to a denial that the U.S., NATO and EU countries, and others are engaged in a war with Russia which is an existential struggle between civilization and barbarism and over future possibilities for peace and prosperity.

From these assumptions, it follows that allied military and economic aid to Ukraine has been a benevolent success.

However, these illusions and beliefs miss an important point:

This war is our war.

We are currently engaged, whether we admit it or not, in an all-out war with Russia over the very nature of the world in the future.

In such a struggle, it is not fair and it is grossly immoral to place the entire burden of major sacrifice on the Ukrainian people alone.

The West and other civilized nations now need to step up to the plate and share the burdens of this war in a much more direct and consequential way.

There are two steps that need to be taken, on an urgent basis.

First, the U.S. and its allies need to impose secondary sanctions on the export of Russian oil and gas. That means that sales of oil to India, for example, would trigger the imposition of secondary sanctions on Indian companies and entities involved in the purchase of Indian oil.

Second, the U.S. and NATO and Eu countries, and other allies of Ukraine, need to play hardball with the countries in the so-called South which are sitting on the fence and trying to look the other way as Russia invades Ukraine and commits atrocities on a scale not seen since World War II.

These countries in “the South” should condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine and and its commission of war crimes against the civilian population, and join the sanctions regime on their own volition.

In any event, they should be subject to the secondary sanctions which need to be adopted.

These measures will make life more difficult for citizens in countries in tbe West. The governments in these countries will need to step up their public diplomacy in order to secure and retain political support for these measures.

We must, above all, acknowledge the fact that we are at war with Russia.

Only in this context will the measures required make sense and engender continued public support.

The Trenchant Observer

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