Ukraine/Russia war impact stretches to China

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons | Russian President Vladimir Putin — seen here during last week’s annexation speech — annexed four Ukrainian regions in the ongoing war. Putin is set to turn 70 years old on Friday.

Russell Macias | Staff Writer

Oct. 6, 2022

This past week, the war between Russia and Ukraine struck a high in the acceleration of tensions when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced and signed into law the illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine.

Those four regions, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, all located on the eastern borders of Ukraine, would see Russia gain control of over 15% of Ukraine’s territory. Donetsk and Luhansk have been held illegally by Russian separatists since the war for Crimea back in 2014, but the further annexation sees cities like Kherson and the famous city of Mariupol fall into Russian hands.

What directly led to these annexations was embarrassing military defeats for the Kremlin, beginning in the Kharkiv region, which sent Russian troops running from the town of Lyman.

Lyman, a town within the pro-Kremlin and separatists-held region of Donetsk, falling to Ukraine is a big strategic victory, and gives Russia a black eye. It has been reported by Ukrainian officials that Lyman had been serving as a logistics hub for Russian forces, assigning them places to go. Losing that territory is a significant step backward for the Russians.

On Tuesday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address to Ukrainian citizens that his army had liberated multiple places within southern Kherson, and rattled off the towns that he claimed victory in.

It is clear that right now, the war is swinging in Ukraine’s favor. They’ve begun liberating multiple towns and cities within the illegal Russian annexation zone. The larger issue at hand is how Putin is going to handle it. He’s already declared that those annexed areas are all Russian, and any invasion upon them will be seen as an attack on Moscow itself.

Putin further doubled down by insinuating that he is not above using nuclear weapons, as he continued to warn the West that any intervention or invasion of Russia would prompt a nuclear response, while additionally stating that United States is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, when they dropped the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.

With, as previously stated, the war swinging in Ukraine’s favor, Putin has begun the deception for him to take extreme action. It’s been long documented how Putin’s ideological goal his whole career was to put back the USSR, and particularly, Ukraine, as he feels they linked as one race of peoples, despite distinct ethnic differences.

For Putin, this invasion of Ukraine has the potential to be his crown jewel. This is his main ideological goal, one he’s long been pining to achieve. So, it’s to be expected now, with the war swinging out of his favor, that he’s going to begin to puff his feathers like a peacock, and try to take, what in his mind, is the high ground to do heinous things.

Despite the nuclear bomb comments, it is still highly unlikely we see that. What is likely, however, is the war continuing onward with more violence. Russia is instituting a heavier conscription, sending young men to fight a war that’s purportedly unpopular amongst Russian citizens, and one that will leave horrific amounts of people dead that don’t need to be, but will be solely for one man’s ego.

Putin, who turns 70 on Friday, is never going to surrender or admit defeat on this issue. This is his lifelong goal, and as his time on this earth begins to wind down, he’s only going to become more adamant about his goals.

That is what makes him so dangerous, and what may make this a never-ending conflict. He is going to fight until the ends of the earth to preserve what he feels is his, despite what the entire world may think.

It’s this utter ambivalence to the world that makes one ponder what a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would look like. China, and its leader Xi Jinping, claim Taiwan as their own. The history of Taiwan dates back to before World War II, when China was in the midst of a bloody civil war between the Mao-Zedong-led Communists and the Republic of China (ROC). The Communists won, and the ROC retreated back to the island of Taiwan, where that government has led since 1949.

However, China still lays claim to the island and its government, and hates any association with the outside world. China is so petty about this that, in an event as small as the Little League World Series, and all the way up to the Olympics, Taiwanese athletes are forced to compete under a neutral flag and neutral anthem, and instead of being called the Republic of China or Taiwan, they are called Chinese Taipei.

Those things are direct impacts of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pressuring foreign governments and international events to protect their interests, and this treatment goes back decades.

Recently, China has conducted multiple military drills and have gathered forces near the borders of China that they would ship out to Taiwan. The U.S. has taken a stronger stance against this, vowing for direct conflict toward China if they were to invade, something that could truly be catastrophic in every meaning of the word.

For China, they will continue to watch very closely to see how the world handles the Ukraine situation, as it could be a precursor to how the world reacts to what China does in Taiwan.

Now that Russia has annexed the territory despite significant gains by the Ukrainian counteroffensive, it’s shaping up to be an even scarier situation, and one with potential global catastrophe on the line.