MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 15 April) – When Vladimir Putin said, “All negotiations for Ukraine has come to a dead end,” he was saying that the war in Ukraine shall continue indefinitely. While the battlefield is on Ukrainian soil nothing is conclusive for now. It is still anybody’s game, so to speak.
However, Putin shall have chosen the “short cut” if he wanted quick victory, that is, by using Russia’s most advanced weapons. We know that he has fifth generation jet fighters, the SU-57, which is stealth and hypersonic. This is not prohibited by the Geneva Conventions. Then, he has some stocks of biological and chemical warfare. This, of course, is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions. What about going nuclear as he used to say, or was it just a fear-mongering tactic?
There are several reasons why Putin cannot use Russia’s most advance weapons in Ukraine.
First, Russia did not really start production of the SU-57 till 2019.* The first aircraft completed crashed during test flight before it was handed over to the Russian Air Force. Since then, only three or four were completed and operational. Putin would like to spare these few 5th generation jet fighters from the possibility of being hit and downed by Ukraine’s long range anti-aircraft missile supplied by the UK. The US Stinger Missile is effective for low flying aircraft unlike UK’s missile which can hit planes flying at an altitude of 48,000 feet.
Second, the use of biological and chemical weapons is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions. There were reports, though, that chemical weapons may have already been used by Russia in the cities of Mariupol and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city next to Kyiv, the country’s capital. The chemical was believed to be mixed in anti-crowd tear gas equipment used by Russian soldiers. However, this reported use of chemical weapons was not verified by CNN or US authorities.
Third, Russia’s much touted “super tank,” the T-14, has not gone into mass production, according to US authorities. After several years only a handful of them were shown in military parades around 2015. In short, Russia has no T-14s to deploy nor T-15 type vehicles, either.
Still, another advanced weapon is Russia’s hypersonic missile. This missile is so fast that none of the anti-missile weapons in Ukraine’s war arsenal or those given by friendly countries could ever catch it. This missile was used near Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, but we are wondering why it was not used more often. I would surmise it, too, is in limited supply.
I think, at best, Russia can only deploy some of these “prototypes” if Putin feels weary in case of a long protracted war between the two countries.
And fourth, use of nuclear weapons will have far-reaching consequences or will surely be catastrophic to the whole world. If Putin goes nuclear, World War 3 becomes inevitable.
In a World War 3 scenario only China, North Korea, Cuba, Belarus, and maybe Syria will stand by Russia’s side. The rest of the world will be fighting with the United States and its NATO allies against Russia. While Russia is believed to have about 6,000 warheads in its nuclear stockpile, the US alone has more than 5,000. If you add its allies with nuclear weapons such as France, UK, Germany, Israel, Australia, and may be Canada too, their total nuclear power could be twice or three times more than that of Russia alone. Even if we add China and North Korea’s nuclear arsenal the US and its allies has more, in appreciable numbers, than all of them combined (Russia, China and North Korea). I have no idea whether India and other non-aligned countries will remain neutral in case of a nuclear conflict of world proportion.
For the moment, if there is any country quite amused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, it is China. Before this invasion it was thought that Russia’s military was mighty invincible! As it appears now even a weak and small country like Ukraine could hold it off for quite some time. Of course, minus foreign support, it could be an easy defeat for Ukraine. Even then, this could only mean that Russia’s military weapons in Ukraine is no match to the US and NATO’s light military defense weapons.
Why will Pres. Xi Jin Ping feel elated by knowing the limitations of the Russian military and a protracted Russia-Ukraine war? Because there is a tendency that Russia may become dependent upon China for military aid and economic assistance after a weakened Russian military and a devastated economy brought about by long and hard sanctions. There is also the tendency that Russia unwittingly would become China’s puppet over long dependency to the delight of China. A puppet is always at the mercy of its operator!
Proof of Russia feeling the weight of its war against Ukraine is Moscow’s repeated seeking of military and economic assistance from China. Had Putin consulted his best friend, Xi Jin Ping would most likely say “NO” to an invasion of Ukraine. I agree. Putin could have just amassed troops, tanks and other military hardware at the Russia-Ukraine border without attacking. He could have just capitalized on fear-mongering which he can use as leverage to demand from Ukraine what he wants in a peaceful negotiation.
In addition to fear-mongering Putin could have just used a calibrated type of attack. For example, Putin may say: “If you do not recognize that Crimea is now legit part of the Russian territory we will launch selective air raids to some of your vital infrastructures.” If Pres. Zelensky refuses, then he can do it at once targeting Ukraine’s big oil depots. Next, “If you don’t give up Lugansk and Donetsk to the separatist movement we will target government buildings.” And so on, and so forth.
This way, Putin will not lose so many men and tanks in the process. Photos shown on television (CNN) reveal columns of tanks destroyed and convoys of military vehicles carrying Russian soldiers flattened and charred along major roads north of Kyiv.
The next “big question” is: What will make Putin stop this war in Ukraine?
Only an impending defeat, says one retired US Army General. But only if Putin would realize enough damage has already been done with the Russian military. Otherwise, he can prolong the war to attain even a so-called “Pyrrhic victory” (I explained in my previous article).
Garry Kasparov, a long reigning world chess champion from Russia, had long sought asylum in another country for openly criticizing Putin and his regime. “Russia has suffered a lot under the dictator Vladimir Putin. I really want to see a more democratic Russia in a post-Putin regime,” Mr. Kasparov says.
When will that happen? Will it ever happen?
*Searched from Google
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Maugan P. Mosaid holds a doctorate degree in rural development. He is a freelance writer, planning consultant, and teaches Statistics and Methods of Research in the graduate school. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)