With the ongoing crisis prevailing between Russia and Ukraine, many people around the world are feeling the horrors of war again. 'Black Swan' is a term that refers to the actual occurrence of an event that is perceived as impossible. An event that is highly unlikely to occur, once it happens, has a tremendous, unexpected impact and ripple effect. The war between Russia and Ukraine is also likely to be another Black Swan. From the background and the real reasons behind Russia's decision to invade Ukraine to the damage caused by the war, Russia's economic situation, and sanctions imposed against Russia, we summarized it in a simple manner. ST wants all of Soongsilians to be aware of this terrible war situation, and to think about what it means, whether or not this war will continue, or how things will change in the future ...........................Ed
The War of Russia and Ukraine, Starting of the Tragedy
On February 24th, Russia launched an allout invasion of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, with missiles and ground forces. Russian invasion of Ukraine was carried out with an emergency speech by Russian president Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to carry out special military operations in Ukraine. In his speech, Putin warned “Russian response to anyone’s interference in Ukrainian demilitarized efforts or to create an unacceptable strategic threat to Russia will be shocking.” The crisis between the two countries will continue in October 2021, Russia concentrating large military strengths on Ukraine.
According to the UN (United Nations) refugee agency, the number of refugees who left Ukraine to avoid war amounts to 2.01 million less than two weeks later. Only 1.2 million of them were evacuated to Poland, and Ukrainian entire population was dispersed throughout the country. As a case of the devastation of the war, the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which was once an active logistics port and had a population of 450,000, was destroyed by Russian bombing, leaving 90 percent uninhabitable in about two months. Currently, there are about 100,000 residents left in Mariupol, and they are unable to live their basic lives because of the loss of food, drinking water and electricity. It is not clear how many government estimates that up to 20,000 civilians are now killed. In an interview, residents of Mariupol said “The city is ruined, and fragments of glass, electric wires, and bodies are mixed. The Russian military buried the body near the school and apartment.” It means that the streets were overflowing with bodies. Satellite photographs of large-scale mass burial sites in the suburbs of Mariupol revealed the concealed situation of the Russian army.
In addition, the Russian invasion destroyed about 300 bridges and 8,000 kilometers of roads of Ukraine. World Banker David Malpas said that the Russian invasion had caused about physical damage to Ukrainian infrastructure and buildings approximately 60 billion dollars, which was also a narrow estimate and did not include the increasing economic costs of the war. At the same time, he added that it is necessary to prepare 7 billion dollars to make up for economic losses. Due to the Russian invasion, Ukrainians lost their homes, their neighbors, and their loved ones in a day.
The Russian-Ukrainian war is for who and for what? The reason for Russian invasion or Ukraine is a combination of factors. Typical reasons are the same as below.
# NATO, Military Threat
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is a major force in the western world, led by the United States, and is made to deal with communist countries. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, neighboring countries became independent, sought to join NATO, going westward. However, from Russian point of view, it was unhappy to Ukraine look forward to joining NATO. Ukrainian accession to NATO means that NATO forces entering Ukrainian territory, western military facilities and troop deployments could take place right in front of Russia. NATO and Russia are tactic enemies, and they are relatively at a jar, so they cannot make concessions.
# Economic Threat
Ukraine has a fertile black soil region compared to Russia, which is lacking, and is a place of blessing for producing a huge amount of wheat. Also, Ukraine, with Belarus, is a territory that is a role of gateway that can make Russian way to Europe, Russia supplying natural gas through Ukraine. In other words, Russia must pass through Ukraine to supply natural gas. Therefore, Ukraine does not get along well with Russia, it could always hinder the supply of natural gas, which could pose an economic threat to Russia. In other words, Russia does not want Ukraine to be taken away because it serves as an important bridge for Russia, geopolitically, politically, and militarily.
Russia-Ukraine, the Connection with Hybrid War
The war between Russia and Ukraine was different from the previous war. Russia has carefully planned cyber terror to invade Ukraine. Cyber terror, or hybrid war, is a form of war in which various types, such as electronic war and media war, are mixed, unlike military operations centered on regular forces in the past. In this hybrid war between Russia and Ukraine, various digital technologies play an important role not only in the war method but also in the support of relief supplies. For example, on February 23rd, just before the start of Russian large-scale military operation, major Ukrainian government agencies and banks experienced a system failure due to DDos (Distributed Denial of Service), a large-scare denial of service attack. It paralyzed the national system through cyber hacking that paralyzed Ukrainian computer network. The exact background has not been disclosed; however, Ukraine has speculated that Russia and the defense department of Belarus are involved.
In addition, the cryptocurrency was used to spread donations such as bitcoin to support Ukraine, and to share the situation in Ukraine in real time around the world on social media to confront the fake news incitement. Google Maps was also used to grasp the march of Russian armored forces, Ukrainian refugee’s precessions, and road closures in real time. The reason why Russia is focusing on hybrid war is that the United States had an unequaled advantage and military power after the Cold War and needed a detour to avoid a head-on match with the United States. As the Russian cyber terror continued, Ukraine began recruiting IT fighters to fight Russia, and presented 31 websites including Russian major government agencies, state-run gas company Gazprom and oil producer Luke Oil. In fact, international hacker organizations and several global companies are continuously supporting cyber war.
The Other Type of the War, an Energy War Proclaimed by Russia
Conflicts surrounding Russia are escalating forward to the energy war. On March 31st, Putin signed a plan to have Putin settle the price of natural gas for sale to non-friendly countries in Russian currency ruble. Russia has designated 48 non-friendly countries, including South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and EU (European Union) member countries, as part of the economic sanctions. Putin said, “If buyers of non-friendly countries fail to meet the new payment terms, the current gas supply contract will be suspended.” Some argue that this is not only a form of retaliation against unfriendly countries, but also a measure to restore the value of the ruble and to protect its economic status because of the invasion. In fact, after Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian bank withdrew from the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) settlement network, and the ruble exchange rate rose from 85 rubles per 1 euro to 116 rubles per 1 euro last month. From Russian point of view, the payment of rubles for gas would violate sanctions against Russia by giving foreign currency to Russia and purchasing rubles. On the other hand, European countries, which are highly dependent on Russian natural gas, have expressed their willingness to prepare for the suspension of gas supply.
Civilian Casualties and Horrors of War
Due to the Russian invasion, the people of Ukraine were forced to suffer the grief of losing their children and parents who they had eaten and talked with until yesterday, and innocent civilians were harmed. Russia claimed that it did not attack private facilities, but photos related to them are pouring in online with testimonies that kindergartens, nurseries, and apartments were destroyed.
# Russia’s Indiscriminate Attacks on Hospitals, Kindergartens and Nurseries
Shells poured into children‘s cancer hospitals, kindergartens and nurseries in Kiev, Ukraine. The Ukrainian parliamentary inspector general said, ”A serious shelling of a nursery in the village of Kiev Borzel damaged two buildings and threatened the lives and health of 51 children. Fifteen of them are infants and three children are in critical condition.” In addition, protection facilities such as hospitals were also attacked, including attacks near hospital buildings in Vuhledar, Ukraine, which were carried out by Russian Uragan multiple guns and left several children injured.
# Ugly Torture and Rape of the Russian Army
Russian military’s sexual assault and murder of Ukrainian women and girls has been revealed in detail. An autopsy on the body of a civilian mass burial site found in Irpin, Ukraine‘s northern front, revealed signs of sexual assault before being killed by Russian troops. Ukraine‘s forensic scientist, who conducted an autopsy on dozens of civilian bodies, said about 15 bodies are being examined daily, and many have been damaged. Ukraine explained that it believes the Russian military intentionally damaged the body to remove evidence of wartime rape.
Sanctions against Russia by Various Companies
On March 1, Apple announced that it would suspend all sales in Russia. Apple Pay was restricted in Russia, and Russian state media Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik News were deleted from app stores around the world except Russia. For the safety of Ukrainian residents, Apple has also banned the use of a feature that informs local traffic conditions and real-time incidents on Apple maps. In this situation, Russian public transportation facilities were in chaos. When Apple restricted Apple Pay in Russia, the ticket gate at the Moskva subway station was paralyzed due to sudden suspension of payment. Google also blocked Google Maps from functioning in Ukraine. In order to protect the Ukrainian people, the function of providing real-time traffic information or informing them how many customers there are in stores has been stopped. Google‘s subsidiary YouTube also said it prevented Russian state media such as RT from making money from videos posted on YouTube and blocked access to RT and other channels in Ukraine.
On February 28, Walt Disney decided not to release a film in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine. It added, ”In consideration of the invasion of Ukraine and the tragic and humanitarian crisis, Disney will stop releasing movies in Russia.” Warner Brothers Pictures Inc. and Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. have also stopped releasing their latest movies in Russia.
On March 2, Nike also announced that it would temporarily suspend online purchases of products such as websites and mobile applications in Russia. These diverse private companies have halted business activities in Russia. He also made great efforts to support Ukraine. VISIA blocked Russian. institutions and individuals subject to sanctions from payment windows, Meta attempted to steal Ukrainian military officers and celebrity accounts and changed its blocking algorithm to block recommendations for Russian-related content. Microsoft also helped combat cyber-attacks targeting Ukrainian governments and financial institutions, while Airbnb provided free accommodation to Ukrainian refugees.
Russia’s Economic Situation and Response
On February 26, the U.S. and other Western countries raised their voices to exclude Russian banks from the SWIFT payment network in response to Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine. SWIFT is a global message system for financial transactions that connects 11,000 banks in more than 200 countries to enable fast cross-border payments. Therefore, international payments become very difficult for financial institutions excluded from SWIFT. After Russia invaded Ukraine, it became difficult to proceed quickly, contrary to initial expectations, and it continues to threaten the world by mentioning nuclear weapons. ”There is definitely always a risk of nuclear conflict,” said Medvedev, vice president of the Russian National Security Council, a close aide to Putin. NATO‘s nuclear weapons target Russia and Russia‘s nuclear weapons target Europe and the United States. It is necessary to pursue a responsible policy. If we continue to pressure Russia, the world could be on the edge of a nuclear disaster,” he warned, referring to the right to use nuclear weapons.
Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine has had many economic, political, and social effects. In response, many countries around the world are carrying out relief efforts to end the war, including humanitarian aid and evacuation of civilians in war zones, and protests against the war are also taking place to stop Putin. Since February 28, peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia have been underway, and each country has expressed its position. Ukraine called for an end to hostilities and a ceasefire and for Russian troops to withdraw immediately from all parts of Ukraine, including the Donbas region. On the other hand, Russia demanded that Ukraine renounce NATO membership and neutralize it. Strong differences between the two countries eventually failed to reach a smooth agreement.
Putin and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met to discuss the situation in Ukraine as Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine continued for more than two months. Putin claimed that there was considerable progress in negotiations with the Ukrainian delegation during the meeting with Secretary-General Guterres, but Ukraine changed its position. The unjustified invasion has caused much damage to Ukraine‘s civilians as well as several countries. It is time for us to watch with interest so that there is no further damage to Ukraine.
Kim Yu-jeong (Web Editor)
Lee Yu-jeong (ST Reporter)