The suffering of Ukraine

At the start of the war, millions of terrorized Ukrainians, mostly women and children fled Ukraine into neighboring nations. Largely because Putin thought the invasion would be a cakewalk, he hoped to quickly install a puppet regime and have the infrastructure of Ukraine largely intact in a relatively effortless takeover.

Helped by serious tactical and logistics blunders on the part of Russia, Ukraine fought back bravely and succeeded in limiting the occupation of Ukraine from 27% to only about 20% of its territory now. In occupied Ukrainian territory, the residents suffered at the hands of the Russian occupiers and some who could not flee were forcefully removed to other parts of Russia.

The military situation for the past nine months has been largely a stalemate and a slow grinding process of attrition of troops and military hardware on both sides. Seeing that it didn’t have enough troops to continue the war, Russia recently went in for partial mobilization, but these unprepared, untrained, and ill-equipped soldiers are presently being used mainly as cannon fodder and are not contributing to a fighting force in any meaningful manner.

Putin and the Russian military are now desperately resorting to the destruction of the infrastructure of Ukraine and trying to make city living unlivable. So far Russian missiles have taken out about 40% of the electrical grid along with water towers, which has resulted in rolling blackouts and a water supply shortage.

With a freezing winter on its way, living in high-rise apartments will become impossible without elevator service, water, and electricity. Water pipes will freeze and crack, making living in a city a nightmare. No recharging of cellphones, no internet service, closed food stores, no subway or train service, and closed gas stations. Paralyzed cities and big towns making living conditions unbearable will increase the suffering that normal Ukraine citizens have experienced and conditions will only get worse the longer the war lasts.

The Ukrainian economy is on the verge of bankruptcy for all practical purposes, and is almost totally dependent on foreign aid if it is to continue to be financially functional on into the foreseeable future. There are still three functional nuclear-powered electrical generation plants in Ukraine, but if those are taken out by Russian missiles then most of Ukraine will be without electrical power.

Is there hope for Ukraine? The Russian government and military is very corrupt and dysfunctional and unprepared for a long war with troop morale at an all-time low. Ukraine’s military is unfortunately still using many of the dysfunctional old tactics of the Russian military.  Ukraine’s government under Volodymyr Zelensky is also corrupt because many government officials are holdovers from the era when Ukraine was a Russian puppet state under Petro Poroshenko. Due to government corruption, if the war ends, it will take Ukraine many years to regain a viable economic status.

What this means is whether Ukraine wins the war or negotiates a settlement favorable to Russia, the people of Ukraine are in for years of suffering after the war ends. Promises by the West to help rebuild Ukraine are probably not going to be forthcoming because corrupt Ukrainian oligarchs will control the government into the foreseeable future after the war ends. Since the government structure itself is corrupt, malfeasance will continue under any replaced government officials.

So whatever happens, the Ukrainian people are in for a boatload of further suffering for many years to come.

Image: Ministry of Digital Development Mikhail Fedorov

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