Intl community must strengthen unity for prolonged Ukraine crisis

It appears the crisis in Ukraine is becoming prolonged. It is important for the international community, led by the United States, Europe and Japan, to unite and apply pressure to ensure that Russia’s invasion ends in failure.

In Brussels, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Group of Seven advanced nations and the European Union have held summits one after another and have endorsed additional support for Ukraine and tougher sanctions on Russia.

The leaders of these countries, which lead the democratic camp, have gathered to demonstrate their determination to work together to protect the international order against what is said to be the greatest threat since World War II. It is a sign of the sense of crisis that if Russia’s outrages are left unchecked, the world will regress back to one dominated by military power.

Although Russia has failed to gain control of Ukraine in a short period of time due to the fierce resistance of the Ukrainian military, it has not given up its tactic of encircling the capital Kyiv and other areas with overwhelming power and pressuring them to surrender. Neither an early truce nor the withdrawal of Russian troops is expected.

Ukraine is not a member of Western alliance NATO and is not subject to the collective security that allows other member nations to enter the conflict if one country is attacked.

However, as statements by NATO and others indicate, the situation in Ukraine has in reality become a battle between Russia and the whole international community.

Involvement with and support for Ukraine must be strengthened while avoiding direct conflict between the United States and Russia and an escalation to World War III. Japan, as a leader in Asia, must also expand its provision of medical supplies and daily necessities as well as the acceptance of displaced people.

The most alarming possibility is that Russian President Vladimir Putin will use a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon to cause Ukraine to lose its will to fight.

NATO warned Russia, “Any use by Russia of a chemical or biological weapon would be unacceptable and result in severe consequences.” This may be an indication that NATO will intervene to a greater degree depending on the extent of damage.

NATO has also decided to deploy additional troops to member states in Eastern Europe. Strengthening the security systems of Eastern European countries, which are becoming increasingly aware of the threat posed by Russia, is a necessary step. In light of the new reality, the development of a medium- to long-term posture of defense against Russia must be hastened.

Given the fact that military measures have certain limits, economic sanctions are the most effective means of cornering Putin. The leaders of the G7 and the EU have agreed on the need to close loopholes in the sanctions, and have demanded that China not help Russia evade sanctions.

China must accept the international community’s severe scrutiny and forgo support for Russia.

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on March 26, 2022.