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Volodymyr Zelensky marked the 500th day of the Ukraine war by posting a video from Snake Island in Black Sea which became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance. Russia's Black Sea Fleet flagship 'Moskva' sailed to Snake Island at the start of the war and seized the island and the Ukrainian soldiers were taken prisoners. But, later it was reported that they were exchanged for Russian captives. But, in the undated clip, posted on Telegram, Zelensky strangely described it as proof that Ukraine would retake every inch of its territory captured by Russia since the full-scale invasion began on 24 February 2022. We don't want to be part of the argument. But, the observers are anxious about its veracity. The worth of the new rulers is in their unprecedented capacity to manipulate information in order to shape Public opinion in their favor.

According to the UN estimate, more than 9,000 civilians, including some 500 children, have been killed since the war began, although the real number could be much higher. This is an old calculation. Now, the war continues and the death toll soars. Zelensky made his video address after spending time with visiting European leaders, ahead of Nato's summit in Vilnius,Capital of Lithuania, where the Ukraine war was high on the agenda. He welcomed the news that the US would be supplying Ukraine with cluster bombs - a weapon that has been banned in more than 120 countries because they have a record of killing civilians. Hence, the U.S decision proved disastrous and controversial. Spain, though a NATO member, said it would not support the United States supplying cluster munitions to Ukraine. Spain was firm on its commitments and so it ascertained the fact that certain weapons and bombs should not be provided to any nation under any circumstances. Defence Minister Margarita Robles argued ,"it was a sovereign decision of the United States, but not of NATO... Spain believes that such weapons should not be used even in legitimate defence". Bùt, Zelensky called this latest US arms package "timely, and much-needed", tweeting that it "will provide new tools for the de-occupation of our land". Yet, there was no one else - either from the UN or from the European Union - to criticize the US action. So, both Russia and Ukraine seem permitted now to use cluster bombs! The former Russian president, the current deputy head of the National Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said that supplying Ukraine with cluster munitions "may lead to the outbreak of a nuclear war," and wrote, “Perhaps the sick, dying grandfather, mired in delusions, simply decided to withdraw gently, incite a (nuclear Armageddon), and take half of humanity with him,” mocking at the US President Joe Biden.

The 31-member Nato alliance met in Lithuania , aiming above all to give Ukraine some kind of path to membership, but was divided over how far to go. Ukraine knew it could not get entry into the alliance while the war with Russia was continuing, given that Nato’s Article 5 – which says that an attack on one member is an attack on all - could push the alliance into war with Russia. Though it was in vain, he tried to get a firm commitment at the summit that he would be invited to join the alliance after the war. Only thing that Zelensky could get from the members was their assurances and commitments to help Ukraine defend itself against Moscow. They assiduously abstained from giving military assistance to Ukraine as an organization, in order to avoid entering into a direct conflict with Russia. But, NATO left it to the member states to decide their help . Britain, France, Germany and the United States have been negotiating with Kyiv for weeks over a multilateral text that would create a broad framework for member states that wanted to provide military aid including advanced weapons, as well as financial assistance. The European Union seems to pursue its financing of weapons' support through its Peace Facility. This European Peace Facility (EPF) is an off-budget instrument aimed at enhancing the Union's ability to prevent conflicts, build peace and strengthen international security. How could financing for weapons be part of a peace-process!

Every war, needless to say, is an affront to humanity, no matter where it unfolds. The tension between Russia and the West reached a critical level in 2022, accompanied by a sharp exacerbation of the situation in Ukraine . Kyiv ratcheted up its strong pressure on the discriminated Russian-speaking population of Donetsk and Luhansk, who defended their citizenship rights. As the radical nationalists of fascist ideas of Ukraine continued their threat against anyone who disagreed with their extremist opinions, internal clashes began. Consequently, the cities of these republics were increasingly attacked, destroying their infrastructure and causing civilian casualties. Thus,the Ukrainian ruling elite- perhaps due to the provocative management from outside - missed its golden opportunity to become an effective and neutral buffer state between Russia and the West. It caused a severe exacerbation of the crisis in relations with its great eastern neighbor, with whom it shares a common history and ethnic and civilizational affinity. Unfortunately, the present day rulers are unable to think about co-existience! The technological advancement has not humanized them! Under these conditions, it was reported that Russia opened the doors to refugees from Donetsk and Luhansk, including for elderly women and children, and took all necessary measures to accommodate them in the Russian regions. On February 21, 2022, in order to protect the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, at the request of their leadership and with the support of the Russian Parliament, signed a decree to accommodate them. Then, on 24 February 2022, Russia launched a military invasion of Ukraine. We cannot help saying that this invasion could not be justified under any circumstances.The steep escalation of this dispute is the Russo-Ukrainian War. Actually, this campaign had been preceded by Russian military buildup since early 2021. It was known that there were numerous Russian demands of security measures and legal implications against Ukraine joining NATO. Had they sought to sort out these differences,they could have avoided the war.

The great ambiguity surrounding this war is the unpredictable nature of what "victory" means to either side. It is unlikely that Putin will abandon his claim to Crimea, which Russia has occupied since 2014 and views as undisputed Russian territory. For Putin, this war is viewed as a “one man” war who risks everything, and has no easy options, as he faces the West without allies so far. Close watchers of the Russia-Ukraine war say that the rapidly changing nature of the conflict makes it hard to gauge what will happen next in Ukraine, with both Moscow’s and the West’s next moves unpredictable. However it’s widely expected that Russian President Vladimir Putin, loathing Ukraine’s current pro-Western government and its aspirations to join the EU and NATO, will not leave without installing a pro-Russian regime in Kyiv. But, if the war turns in favor of Putin, it would disturb some Western leaders, including the US President Joe Biden, who may suffer electoral loss because of the stain he may have for his political performance in the war. But, for the world at large, this war — “the largest war in Europe since World War II” - unfortunately will remain as a war with deeply racialized underpinnings that are sure to survive the war!

Video pictures of the brutality in the war are painful to watch. And the images of people trying to flee battle-stricken areas and cross the Ukrainian border into other countries further highlight the pain and peril of human survival. Their journey proves particularly challenging for Black people who, even during a life-and-death situation, find themselves running into racist barriers for their safety and freedom.There are many reports of Black people being refused at border crossings in favor of White Ukrainians, leaving them stuck at borders for days in brutal conditions. Ukraine stated they would first allow women and children on trains and transport out of the country to flee the Russian invasion. However, it seems they meant only Ukrainian and European women and children. Videos showed Black people being pushed off trains and Black drivers being reprimanded and stalled by Ukrainians as they try to flee. There are even reports of animals being preferred on trains before Africans. Black students and athletes are not exempt, according to the reports. They are also subjected to these racial barriers. Professional basketball player Maurice Creek, who is originally from Maryland was stuck in a bomb shelter in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. He was headed for Romania to try and get a flight to the United States. Ukrainian medical student, Korrine Sky, who is from Zimbabwe and lives in Great Britain, stated that trying to leave Ukraine is like “Squid Games” with Ukrainians and Europeans at the top of the hierarchy, people from India and the Middle East in the middle, and Africans at the bottom. Even though technically advanced, the Unity of Human oneness seems unknown to the West! In describing the traumatic impact of the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s former deputy general prosecutor David Sakvarelidze stated: “It is really emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blond hair being killed, children being killed every day with Putin’s missiles.”

Al Jazeera English news anchor, Peter Dobbie, described people in Ukraine who were fleeing to Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova: “We are playing some of the latest pictures of refugees on trains trying to get out of Ukraine. And what’s compelling is just looking at them the way they are dressed. These are prosperous, middle-class people. These are obviously not refugees trying to get away from areas in the Middle East that are still in a big state of war. These are not people trying to get away from areas in North Africa. They look like any European family that you would live next door to.”

The coverage of resistance against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine quickly became the main theme of the broadcasts. When Ukrainian civilians took up arms in an act of defence, western media supported their right to resistance and sovereignty. They praised the digitally savvy public opposition for outwitting Russian invaders. They provided instructions about how to protect against cyberattacks, as if the media themselves were part of the war, preparing people for battle. They praised Ukrainian civilians hurling Molotov cocktails at Russian tanks while similar acts committed elsewhere are treated differently by the same media. Young Palestinians, for example, defending their homeland from their occupants, are better described as suspects who hurled Molotov cocktails at passing drivers, endangering their lives. Media coverage of the Palestinians suffering does not condemn their oppressor in the same way the Ukrainian oppressor is denounced! The conflicts in Ethiopia, Syria, Somalia, Kashmir, Palestine, or Afghanistan also have not received the same level of media attention as the developments in Ukraine. Instead, most of the Western media have displayed a distinct lack of concern for people’s right to freedom, sovereignty, equality, and justice. This absence of coverage leaves their perpetrators off the hook, unaccountable for their atrocities and military occupation. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), regrets that the world ‘is not treating the human race the same way’ as he questions whether the world really gives equal attention to Black and White lives. What they practice is 'Racism' that discriminates against people with prejudice based on their race or ethnicity.

America and European countries are waiting for the peace conference to be hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, most probably within two weeks. They are searching for an exit in order to reduce losses in the conflict. Because, the officials from the United States and Europe are talking in whispers about the failure of Ukrainian counterattack. The goal of Jake Sullivan's recent visit to Riyadh and his closed door meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was, it is believed, to find a way out for America and its allies from the Ukrainian war through the"neutral" Saudi Arabian gate. Anyway, it would be a temporary reprieve for the countries involved till they relocate their attention elsewhere, most likely Niger!

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TAGS:RussiaputinUkraine warracial attitudesUkraine victims graded based on raceAlJazeera Peter Dobbie
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