The Russia-Ukraine War, which started on February 24, 2022, has been going on for a year. Russia has started a new historical process with the occupation, which it calls a “special military operation”. During the process in question, many global ruptures occurred; the war had serious impact on the foreign policy orientations of the countries. The war, which has reflections on many issues such as global alliances, energy and regional alliances, has also brought frozen conflicts to the agenda again. At this point, it is witnessed that various disputes and tensions in different regions from the Balkans to South Asia have flared up again.
As a matter of fact, the Ukraine intervention, which was carried out after Russia announced that there was no invasion plan despite the 100,000 soldiers heaped on the Ukrainian border, has completed its first year. At the beginning of the war, Moscow prepared a list containing various demands, especially for Ukraine not to be a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); however, these demands were rejected by the West. Later, the United States of America (USA) and Western countries tried to wear out Moscow with the sanction decision they took; but this does not only affect Russia. Sanctions also have an impact on the global supply chain.
The war took on a nature that turned into a Russia-NATO or Russia-West struggle over time. Russia’s intervention also caused concern in other countries and caused actors to turn to collective security mechanisms. In this context, Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership. With the application of the two countries, new debates arose within NATO as well. Also, in June 2022, it was decided in the European Parliament that Ukraine and Moldova should be candidate countries for membership.
Another important issue is the aid that countries send to Ukraine. In particular, the supports for military ammunition shows that the aim is to end the war before it spreads to other areas. At the same time, aid is given to Kiev in order to break and weaken Moscow’s power as much as possible. At this point, another situation that should be mentioned is that the countries of the world are divided into three. It is possible to classify the countries as those who are on the side of Ukraine in line with their attitudes, those who are close to Russia, and those who try to act wary.
The categorization in question also affects the relations of states with each other. For example, the attitudes of countries such as India, Pakistan and China have been criticized by the Western World. The increasing rapprochement between China and Russia and the possibility of Beijing taking a similar step on Taiwan by taking Moscow as an example, are among the new dynamics that emerged with the war.
With the effect of the aforementioned discussions, the interest of Western countries and especially the USA to Taiwan has increased. The Taiwan visit of the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, can be described as the peak of tension. In addition to this, the war also played a role in the rise of India in the international arena. As an actor with close ties to both the USA and Russia, it can be said that New Delhi has increased its influence in global politics. Therefore, it is seen that the war is also determinant in the global balances and the values of the countries.
On the other hand, it is seen that the war led the countries, especially the Western actors, to different views and the actors were divided into two regarding the duration of the war. While some states see the prolongation of the war in terms of weakening Russia, it is in their own interests; some countries want the war to end as soon as possible. Because the energy crisis that emerged with the war affects many countries deeply. In particular, it is seen that France, Germany and Italy are not as harsh on Russia as England, Poland and the Baltic countries. As a matter of fact, this situation is also reflected in the foreign policy attitudes of the countries. For example, France welcomed the 12-point roadmap proposed by China on the war moderately, and French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he would visit Beijing in April 2023.
It is also possible to talk about a Western World coexisting in the dimension of translatlantic relations. Because the common and overlapping statements of European leaders and USA officials indicate that there is a consensus on the war. In fact, it was not expected that the conflict, which turned into a war of attrition on Russia, would last so long. However, it can be said that it is still not possible to talk about the negotiation or ceasefire process in the war which has entered its second year due to the military aid to Ukraine.
One of the effects of war is energy-based. Due to the crisis affecting the energy markets, many countries have started to seek new resource. In this sense, the international visibility of energy rich states has increased and countries in question have come to an advantageous position in using their power. In this context, it can be said that the interest towards Central Asian, Middle Eastern and North African countries has increased.
Also, the fact that Central Asian countries are located in the former Soviet geography has opened up the possibility that Russia may carry its expansionist attitude to these regions. Therefore, in addition to energy, the threat perception centered on Russia plays decisive role in the democratization, reform and approach of the countries of the region with Western countries. As a matter of fact, one of the effects of the war was the convergence in the relations between Central Asia-The Western World and the increase in the international prestige of the region.
One of the triggers of the war in the last year has been the re-emergence of frozen or dormant tensions. After Russia’s annexation of four regions in the east of Ukraine, the possibility of taking action against the separatist Transnistria Region in Moldova started to be mentioned. This possibility in question still remains valid.
A second point is the tensions in the Balkans. In addition to the increasing concerns about Russia’s influence in the Western Balkans, the deepening of regional disputes increases the possibility of new conflicts. The countries of the region see the Western Balkans as the “weak point of the European security system”. As a matter of fact, the President of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski has personally expressed this. The search for membership in the European Union and NATO has also increased in this geography. On the other hand, the mobility of Serbian separatists has also increased. This situation negatively affects the stability of the region.
Another issue revealed by the Russian activity in the Donbas region is the relative failure of the Russian military power and the resistance of Ukraine. The second phase of the war developed on maintaining influence in the aforementioned region rather than advancing in Ukraine. Therefore, in this case, the relative success of Ukraine can be mentioned.
In addition, the casualties and loss of soldiers in the war are also important in terms of military capacity and competence. The British Ministry of Defense claims that Russian and special military forces have suffered between 40,000 and 60,000 deaths and possibly 175,000 to 200,000 casualties since the beginning of the invasion. On Ukraine, the Norwegian General Staff made an estimate and mentioned about 100,000 dead or wounded soldiers.
War also has a human dimension. Because hundreds of people leaving Russia and Ukraine have led to a global mobility. While the Refugee Agency stated that the war caused the biggest refugee crisis in Europe in the 21st century; the United Nations also announced that the number of people leaving Ukraine in April 2022 exceeded 5 million. The current number is estimated to be over 8 million. In addition to human mobility, the increase in food prices and the global food crisis are among the consequences of the war.
As a result, it is seen that the war affects critical processes in many areas at the global level. In addition to this, there is no indication that the war will end in the short term or that processes such as negotiations and ceasefire will be entered into. In one year the global order has completely changed and the unpredictability continues. The consequences of the war, such as causing new conflicts, changing the balances of alliances and triggering security dilemmas, have already emerged.
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