“India in a Wait-and-Watch Situation,” says KC Singh on the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

By Sonal Nain, 23 Feb 2022

In the latest update on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin has deployed troops in the thousands to the Ukrainian border. Putin has ordered his military to Ukraine on a “peacekeeping mission,” indicating that Russia will formally occupy sovereign Ukrainian territory for the second time since the 2014 annexation of Crimea. However, in this scenario, Russia has not annexed the regions in question. A paper signed by Putin also authorizes him to build military bases or deploy missiles in the territories.

Russia has long opposed Ukraine’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). President Putin has now claimed that Ukraine is a Western puppet and was never a proper state in the first place. He needs assurances from the West and Ukraine and demanded that the Eastern European nation would not join NATO and will demilitarize.

In response, President Joe Biden announced that the US will put sanctions on two big Russian financial organizations as well as Russian sovereign debt for initiating an invasion of Ukraine and more would follow if there were future invasions. “We’ll also impose sanctions on Russia’s elites and their family members,” said President Biden.

The current crisis between Ukraine and Russia can be traced back to the 2014 replacement of a pro-Russian ruler with a democratic alternative. Former diplomat KC Singh told Mojo that the dictator in charge of Ukraine in 2014 was pro-Russian and had come up from the eastern province to win the presidency. When Ukraine’s pro-Russian president was deployed in early 2014, Russia launched an offensive. Since then, more than 14,000 people have died in the east, and Putin now wants a pro-Russian administration in Ukraine.

India has mostly remained neutral in the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine. “We don’t have to choose between the two. We must adhere to some fundamental principles. We are in a wait and watch situation,” remarked KC Singh. However, remaining silent would upset India’s American and European partners, so if Putin grows reckless and goes forthrightly into Ukraine, India must stand with democracy or risk losing international backing.