Russia-Ukraine war on extended run; Putin outsmarts Biden

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, October 11: Russian war in Ukraine may stay on extended run, with the US-led NATO firm on counteroffensive, while Washington struggles to keep the flock of allies intact.

After Saudi Arabia on the bidding of Russia influenced the oil producing economies to cut down on crude oil output to keep the prices firm to help Moscow fund the war in Ukraine, President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Tuesday called on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for a surprise meeting. The UAE is an ally of the US, but has maintained an aloofness from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The UAE is also part of the West Asia Quad, I2U2, which also consists of the US, Israel and India.

Clearly, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are creating a cobweb of economic shield for Russia to withstand the western sanctions, as well as supplying the financial muscle to stay in the war for a prolonged period. The UAE is least expected to play the role of a mediator, which Turkey and India tried to no effect.

The NATO countries are backing Ukraine to the hilt with clear aims to debilitate the Russian military might amid reports that Moscow is facing reversals on the ground. Germany, a NATO country, is rushing with a set of air-defence shield for Ukraine, after Russia rained not less than 84 missiles on the war-ravaged country following the blasting away of a key bridge in Crimea.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the West is not keen on negotiations to end the war. The Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that there is no scope for talks with Moscow, and if at all Kyiev will talk to another leader in different configuration in Russia. That makes it evident that the peacemakers have failed in their mandates, and the two countries will slug it out on the battle field more fiercely.

The Russian military is indeed facing the heat on the battleground with the ferocious fightback by the Ukrainian military backed by precision weapons and intelligence being provided by the US-led NATO. Militarily Ukraine and NATO have the upper hand, but Russia is seeking revenge on the economic front by pushing the world into recession collectively by forcing an energy crisis.

Putin is on the other hand counting on more allies in the West Asia, besides China, which is also facing the western heat on the economic fronts. Biden’s military response is clearly not backed by the collective diplomatic girding up against Russia, which could allow Putin to stay in the war for a far longer period.

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