Polish prime minister lays out the potential international ramifications 'if Ukraine falls'

Polish prime minister lays out the potential international ramifications 'if Ukraine falls'
World

Since Russian forces, on orders from President Vladimir Putin, launched a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine on February 24, more than 12 million Ukraine residents, according to the United Nations, have fled their homes. About 7 million of them have fled to other parts of Ukraine, while another 5.2 million have fled to other European countries — from Germany to Italy to Ukraine’s neighbor Poland.

Poland, in fact, has been a top destination for Ukrainian refugees, taking in more than 1.1 million. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in an op-ed published by Politico on June 27, stresses that the West in general has a major stake in the outcome in Ukraine — and so do Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has created the worst military conflict in Europe since World War 2, but Ukrainian forces have turned out to be much stronger and tougher than Putin and the Kremlin anticipated. Thousands of Russian soldiers have been killed.

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“More than 120 days have passed since the beginning of the war,” Morawiecki observes. “Ukraine and its military can be proud of the steadfast resistance they have put up against one of the supposedly most powerful armies in the world. On February 24, no one gave the Ukrainians a chance of more than several days of survival. Meanwhile, they not only defended Kyiv, but pushed back the enemy far to the east.”

Morawiecki goes on to say that for Putin and the Kremlin, the invasion of Ukraine is about much more than Ukraine — it is also about “destabilizing the West.”

“Despite the successes of Ukrainian troops,” the Polish prime minister writes, “Russia is moving forward with its central goal, destroying industry, roads and schools along the way. While Ukraine has surpassed expectations to fend off Russia for this long, unless the U.S. and Europe intervene more forcefully, a protracted war could mean not only Ukraine’s downfall but — in the long term — the rise of a new global hegemony, which will be able to marginalize the western world.”

Morawiecki adds, “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently said Russia occupies 20% of Ukraine’s territory. The scale of Putin’s bloody land grab is as if the U.S. were deprived of Texas, California, Montana, Arizona, Oklahoma and New Jersey.”

Poland’s prime minister points out that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having an economic impact in a variety of countries.

“This is no longer a local conflict,” Morawiecki observes. “Around the world, food market deficits, especially those that may occur in Africa and the Middle East, are catalysts of yet another migration crisis. This is exactly what Putin wants. Russia’s actions already have global consequences in the form of Putin-flation. And the further effects are difficult to even estimate. Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Pakistan, Tunisia, Morocco and countries of the Sahel are among the indirect victims of this war and the resulting food crisis.”

Morawiecki fears that in terms of international influence, the U.S. and Europe could be “replaced by China” or “China in tandem with Russia.”

“If Ukraine falls,” the Polish prime minister warns, “the foundations on which we have built our plans for the future will also collapse…. The war in Ukraine puts before us one crucial question: Does the transatlantic free world still want to occupy a position of leadership? Do we still believe in the universality of values such as freedom and the right of national self-determination? Do we have determination to defend them? If not, we have already lost our future.”

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