The heroic resistance of Ukraine against the Russian invasion has amazed the world and increased international support for Ukraine’s efforts to liberate all of its territories, from Crimea to Donetsk. Now, as the war is slowly entering its second year, the united Western front that has halted the advances of Russian revisionism has to increase substantially both its sanctions on Russia and the military and logistical aid towards Ukraine.

 

On a theoretical level, it is of utmost importance to maintain Western commitment to the principles of state sovereignty and free choice for foreign policy. If the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory, its war crimes and crimes against humanity, and its general aggression and occupation against the states of Eastern Europe and Caucasus remain unchecked, a new perception of arbitrary inter-state relations and a menacing new landscape of post-imperial geopolitical spaces could arise.

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Western states need to sustain their support for Ukraine on all levels: military, logistical, technological and informational, financial and diplomatic. Military assistance is the most important aspect of maintaining the capabilities of Ukrainian defense against the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) are in the position to inflict a decisive defeat over the invading Russian forces, if it receives the proper assistance.

 

On a diplomatic level, the European Union (EU), U.S., NATO and their allies should increase their efforts to isolate Russia to the greatest degree possible in two ways; first, by delegitimizing its international presence; and second, by drawing to their position major regional actors of the international system that have so far remained neutral or even kept a de facto pro-Russian stance in the conflict.

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Russian revisionism and military adventurism need to be isolated. On an economic level, the West needs to maintain effective long-lasting severe sanctions that shall reduce Russia’s capability to fund and conduct its military operations in Ukraine by destroying its supply chains, modes of production and international financial standing. The package of sanctions by the EU, the U.S. and their allies are already producing tangible results that reverberate across Russian economy and its ability to wage war, but need to be upgraded without delay.

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On a military level, the Western states should decisively increase the delivery of weapons that will not only strengthen Ukraine’s sustained defense, but shall eventually lead to a Russian defeat on the battlefield and a diminishing of Russian influence over Eurasia on a strategic level.  Western states have already sent or pledged their advanced M1-Abrams, Leopard-2 and Challenger tanks. Ukraine needs additional HIMARS or M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, Patriot, NASAM and other anti-aircraft systems, long-range ATACMS missile systems, advanced drone systems and of course fighter jets. If Eurofighter, Mig-29 and F-16 jets appear over the skies of Ukraine, this shall be a clear sign of the Western unambiguous determination to end this war in favor of Ukraine.

 

The time for hesitation and half measures has already gone; there is no sense in continuing a half-hearted approach that undermines the commitment to stand by Ukraine until victory is achieved, an outcome that equals the liberation of the whole territory of Ukraine. Acceleration of historical time shall shorten decisively the duration of the war and benefit even Russia in realizing the strategic deadlock and inevitable failure of its invasion and contain its own human losses. The point of no return has already been crossed for the Western states with their commitment to safeguard the existence, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine in its internationally recognized borders.

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Although the Russian imperial experience with its contiguous territory and Eurasian ideology is different to the one of democratic European coastal states with their overseas empires, it is only a matter of time before Russia undergoes an analogous mental process of decolonization and restrictions on its military adventurism.

 

The Russian perception of the war shall be altered in the same way that Western states in the past realized that the cost of keeping their overseas colonies exceeded the benefit to their self-perception as intercontinental powers. In a similar manner, by realizing that Ukraine is not a part of Russian sphere of influence, but an inherent part of European security architecture, Russia shall realize that the cost of the invasion far exceeds the benefit of its self-perception as a regional hegemonic power in Eastern Europe.

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Ukraine is fighting not just for its freedom, its people and its territorial integrity; it is fighting for all Europe, for the self-evident right of a nation to stand as it wishes in the world and determine its own future and for the international order itself. Let’s give Ukraine all the tools it needs at every level to defend its territory, its people and Europe itself from Russian aggression.

 

The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

 

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