The Kerch Bridge connecting Russia and Crimea was severely damaged by a large explosion on October 8th. The attack follows months of rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which began in 2014 with Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Since then, Moscow has supported pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine during a conflict that has claimed more than 10,000 lives and displaced thousands more. In 2019, Russia seized Ukrainian ships and sailors in the Black Sea, and in 2020, the conflict escalated further after Russia deployed troops and military equipment to Crimea and the border with Ukraine. The most recent attacks on the bridge are among the fiercest since the conflict began, and are certain to exacerbate the conflict between the two countries.
Within days, Russia launched another wave of missile attacks on Ukraine. Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated, “this is a clear indication that Russia has no interest in peace.” According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the attacks on Kyiv and other cities are vindictive and indiscriminate. As stated by Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres, “Russia’s actions are a clear violation of international law.” Many believe that the international community must condemn these attacks and stand with Ukraine. It is feared that Russia’s actions will only serve to further destabilize the region.
The international community must demand that Russia adhere to international law. Although some may people see the solution as providing economic and military aid to Ukraine, there are problems with this: Will increased military might on either side result in peace? Is the path to peace only achieved through more armed forces? The primary objective of the international community should be to protect innocent people and achieve genuine peace. The problem with war is that it forces people to defend one side or the other. In a perfect world, everyone would have the option to desert and choose whether or not to be affected by war. If the results of war directly impacted political leaders, perhaps they would think twice before resorting to violence.
The conflict in Ukraine is a complex one, and it’s had many negative consequences. Citizens of Ukraine are concerned about the ongoing conflict in their country. After 230 days since the conflict began, tensions and fighting appear to be as high as they were at the start of Russia’s invasion in February, 2022. Ukrainians and people around the world fear further escalation as Putin’s threats of nuclear violence have intensified.
The international community must condemn Russia’s actions and stand in solidarity with Ukraine. However, will these actions actually result in the establishment of peace?