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MY TURN: Ukraine, a war of tanks or troops?

by JACK EVENSIZER/Guest opinion
| March 24, 2023 1:00 AM

The war in Ukraine is raging in its second year.

Comrade Putin is relentless in his quest to reunite Russia’s former countries of the USSR. But while doing so, he has committed crimes against humanity and has a warrant for arrest.

The shelling of innocent civilians is against international law, and yes, there is a legal way to wage war. Mission planning includes the safety of civilians. An assessment of civilian casualties is considered, such as a planned attack on a hospital or school where the enemy uses the workers as “human shields.” Also considered is the choice of weapons used in an attack and the harm they may do to civilian populations.

This war is somewhat unique because Putin’s plan to invade and conquer a sovereign nation is not to fend off an enemy state but to colonize it for his purpose. This situation has rallied NATO nations and many other countries worldwide to support Ukraine with humanitarian and military supplies.

The situation asks, “Who can participate in the war without causing WWIII?”

Some naysayers in the U.S. Congress are hesitant to continue support for the war because we have a litany of support needed for our citizens. Still, if they would consider that we are verging on WWIII, especially Putin’s threat of using nukes, the premise of “mutually assured destruction” is at the forefront of this discussion. Therefore, continued support for the war is essential to keep the Russian hoards at bay.

President Trump chided leaders of European nations for increasing their percentage of GNP to support their military readiness. The time to prepare for war is when times are peaceful, and a strong military may deter enemy aggression. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a prime example of this strategy. The USA and NATO allies are equipping Ukraine with modern weaponry and providing training to use it. Putin thought he would waltz into Ukraine, subdue Kyiv and establish a new Russian government. Boy, was he surprised at this level of support!

Newsweek magazine this February estimated that 150,000 Russian troops were killed in action, with 1,090 KIA recently in one day. Thousands more were injured. The article also puts a like number of Ukrainian soldiers KIA. Families on both sides have lost so many; families suffer at home when they lose their loved ones. Ukraine is fighting to save its homeland while the crazed Putin continues his aggression to the detriment of families in both countries.

NATO hesitates to put troops on the ground because it may invoke a World War. However, several countries are staging infantry battalions in nations bordering Ukraine, ready to engage the invading forces. In addition, they are supplying tanks and state-of-the-art artillery to combat the Russians. Seeing our B-52 bombers flying close to the Russian border must be a little disconcerting to Putin, but he has not wavered in his resolve.

The politics of this war are dynamic. Is this a tank battle or infantry? Field commanders are tasked to act or react to changing battle scenarios. With the aggression of Putin’s artillery barrages, commanders formulate defensive battle plans consistent with their mission.

Fortunately, the Ukrainian military is on its home turf and has the support of its towns and citizens.

With Western sanctions in place, severely restricting commerce in Russia, Putin is hard-pressed to continue the war. However, the U.N. and Turkey brokered a deal between the warring nations to ship food supplies and fertilizer called “the Black Sea grain initiative” to world markets. According to an A.P. news article, a 60-day extension is effective until May 18, 2023.

Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy are in peace talks, including who owns Crimea, a former colony of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. The Russian Empire annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 1783 after a war with Turkey. Following the Russian Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Bolsheviks secured Crimea, and it became an autonomous Soviet republic. It was transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1944 under the orders of Joseph Stalin. Russia annexed Crimea by an illegal referendum in 1914.

Once the two leaders agree on who owns Crimea, there may be a peace agreement between the two countries and one that the world needs and can enjoy. Let’s hope that it happens soon.

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Jack Evensizer is a Dalton Gardens resident and a veteran of the U.S. Army Infantry.

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Photo courtesy of Jack Evensizer

Jack Evensizer, second from right, and his U.S. Army adviser teammates are pictured during his 2004-2005 tour in Iraq.

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Photo courtesy of Jack Evensizer

Jack Evensizer is seen Aug. 15, 2005 sitting at the base of the Hands of Victory in Baghdad, on Saddam Hussein's parade grounds.