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HomeOPINIONUkraine Russia war : the present, past and future scenario

Ukraine Russia war : the present, past and future scenario

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Any talk of a Post Ukraine Russia war would be incomplete without a step back in time to understand History, Geography and Economics.


Post-World War 2, though USA and Russia fought jointly, they divided the European conquests between them resulting in the creation of NATO by USA and the Warsaw Pact by Russia. Within 36 years after the Warsaw pact, the Russian empire crumbled and large areas aligned themselves with Europe culturally, religiously and as whites.

NATO created in 1949 primarily had the objective of providing protection against any external threat – meaning Russia. The ONLY time in history where this pact in original has been invoked is after the September 11 attacks in USA. When the Warsaw pact crumbled in 1991, the intent and agreement was NATO would also lose relevance. Substantial arms reductions were made, and Russia was not a “war” threat anymore. The joint space programs between USA/Russia, the end of the cold war, creation of G20, BRICS, energy purchases were all pointers to Russia becoming a part of the world order.

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NATO changed its charter by 1993 to focus on “Humanitarian and Political” situations, whatever they can mean and since then expanded to admit countries bordering Russia. Post the annexation of Crimea, by Russia, to gain access to the sea in 2014, NATO countries INCREASED their defence budgets significantly. No prizes for guessing who benefitted.

While USA almost pushed the nuclear button during the 1962 Russian missile crisis in Cuba, USA and Europe slowly encircled Russia with their expansion of NATO and placement of armed forces. Russian strongman Putin a former KGB chief am sure noticed this and making his own plans and biding his time even as he broke bread with the same leaders globally.

Geography and Economics:

For centuries wars have always been fought over land. It could be what people perceive as their own, or have assets like gold, oil, water or provide access to trade be it to a seaport or other markets.

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Just as Alexander or Mughals and British used the land and sea routes to control territories upto India in the past, China is attempting the same today. The grand vision of China with the Belt and Road Initiative or the One Belt One Road is the futuristic version of waging a war without loss of life or violence. What does it seek to achieve? A supremacy and control over a large tract of land and sea that spans a significant section of the globe. China is also flexing muscles in the South China seas to gain control over sea routes. This control will mean a control over the most efficient means of Road and Sea transport.

They have envisaged a road route that goes all the way to Rotterdam one of the largest seaports in the world. It traverses the length of Europe, Middle East, and borders Russia.

The Russian Road or Sea access through the OBOR for world trade must pass through Ukraine in either case. The areas that are prominent in the news about the war – Odessa, Mariupol, and then compare the access that Russia needs. No surprises that China is supporting Russia because the future security of the OBOR needs a strong local ally like Russia.

While sections of the world are both supporting and protesting the OBOR initiative of China, those protesting are fearful that someday in the future when China controls the land/ sea they can also PREVENT others from using that route or made to pay a “toll” which makes their trade more expensive. Time will tell the answers but the Ukraine Russian war like every other war is primarily driven by economic reasons and everything else just a marketing argument.

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We will also observe that nations isolated by vast areas of SEA and with no access by land are NOT involved. North and South America, Australia stays splendidly isolated and secure because no land connect is possible. The sea between them is too vast to control. These are the markets that China caters to, and which is why they are seeking more efficient ways to reach those markets. Russia being present close by geographically could be looking at some control over these trade routes wanting a slice of the cake.

Read up on the gas pipeline passing through Ukraine story to understand how Russia can lose big money by not having control over the trade route and what they did to gain control.

This project from China is perceived as a security challenge economically. If tomorrow China starts collecting a hefty “toll” for its OBOR from others while Chinese companies get a free pass, USA will be least bothered since the economic benefits help American companies invested in China even if Chinese companies exporting to USA also benefit.  Russia wanting a slice of this cake, if there is to be any sharing of the economic benefits from OBOR being implemented by China, USA and EU would have concerns.

China, especially Huawei, has been stymied by USA in terms of supply of critical semiconductor chips and Taiwan has the capability and facilities to bridge that gap. If China can gain control over Taiwan, then this leverage that USA has over China can reduce.  

Result? Rather than fight a war with Taiwan which the globe can protest, a possible solution is to give Russia “access” to the trade route, gain their support in a war with Taiwan, give a ready market to Russia for its energy, get entry into Russian market, and all these benefit China. The first step to make this happen was for Russia to gain control over crucial areas of Ukraine. With China being in a hurry, with no economic or religio-cultural issues that Russia could leverage to gain control, Russia opted for war.  As fellow communist and authoritarian travellers the Chinese and Russians have come together.

As an aside, notwithstanding all the arguments, India as mentioned earlier is the only exception in the whole OBOR strategy where they can get hurt, have hostile/ unfriendly neighbours and if push comes to shove history has proved even as recently as 2021 that neither USA nor EU will even steal a glance to help India. India does not matter to them except as a possible ally provided India can surrender to the white man. The current coverage of the OBOR shows how “encircled & isolated” India is in this world order that China is trying to create.

Whichever government in India, they may do private deals, but surrender to the white man, they would never do – the country’s politics has oversold the Mahatma to a point that Indian politics has no wriggle room – Social, Economic or Defence. India has little choice but to silently support Russia in the hope of some brownie points for the future when the Chinese stranglehold over global trade happens, as it will. Its as usual all about the money.

This brings us to the question of the outcome of the war.


An aggressor has only limited advantage as the first mover in any war. The course of war and result are not in their hands. From a purely military standpoint, when and how the war will end is anybody’s guess. Without mincing words, one leader is a comedian however brilliant he is seen to be, and the other is a megalomaniac spook who will see threats in his own shadow. USA, Europe will not put one boot on the ground or air to help the comedian leader but egg him on to fight while giving billions of dollars’ worth of arms that help support their arms industry. Whether this will end up as a World War 3 or someone uses a nuke or Russia gains control over Ukraine or end up with a bloody nose is anybody’s guess, and nothing can be ruled out.

Considering that every act is primarily with economic intent and seeing the course of the war so far, Russia may well gain control over the sea border areas and then leave the Ukrainians to their fate if they have a leader in Kyiv who will not threaten Russia because he thinks it’s funny and the world audience laughs. A nuke is unlikely because that defeats the primary economic objectives and China will be most affected – literally and morally – and Russia would not like to lose their bankers for the next few decades. How quickly Russians gain control over the Ukraine economic and political strategy is the key.

Every outcome is based on assumptions – and here I assume that Russia gains the control it seeks over sea/land routes in Ukraine. The following are likely outcomes are not in any order.

  1. Will A Russian victory mean bifurcation of Ukraine like with West/ East Germany post the World War 2?
  2. The huge destruction and displacement caused to millions of Ukrainians cannot be rebuilt overnight. This cost will have to be borne by someone.
  3. The trust deficit between the people of Ukraine and Russia cannot be changed anytime soon.
  4. Russian dependency on China will increase significantly. What benefits the inscrutable Chinese will unearth, is anybody’s guess.
  5. Other countries like India will have some collateral damage due to trade challenges – be it with Rupee trade or defence transactions.
  6. The security of the Indian sub-continent will be affected as the Chinese get bolder and to what extent Russia can rein them in is a big question mark.
  7. China will land huge contracts in rebuilding Ukraine and in return get access to the humungous defence manufacturing technical and software skills of the Ukrainians.
  8. Chinese influence globally will increase significantly and the cutting-edge defence manufacturing technology skills they miss can get bridged by a post war Ukraine.
  9. India can gain in the short term with agricultural exports provided the farmers leaders and opposition allow the same.
  10. The economic warfare started by USA and EU cannot be reversed easily, whatever the outcome of the war.
  11. A Russian victory will ensure these sanctions continue for a long time affecting global trade.
  12. A Ukraine victory will make weaponization of economics a key strategy for future differences of opinions between nations.
  13. Both the outcomes will invariably trigger significant inward-looking sentiments globally. Globalisation as we know it, will get severely affected.
  14. The economic impact on Russia cannot be reversed easily. Even if some sanctions are removed, there will be a period when Russia will need huge help from others.
  15. While politically Putin can win popular support, the Russian economic hardships will take a long time to heal.
  16. EU will slowly start reducing its energy dependency on Russia and the Green economy clean energy segment will get a boost for political reasons than economic.
  17. China may decide to take public their parallel SWIFT global payment system of banks and thus challenge the economic hegemony of USA. While a Russia can join this, the stand of India will then become crucial for global acceptance.
  18. India may finally reach a stage when their embrace of the west/ white man needs to increase and become stronger since China will exert influence on Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and maybe even Nepal.
  19. If the outcomes happen as predicted, the OBOR will severely the affect Indian economy driving up all logistic costs of export/ import of goods.   
  20. If China attacks Taiwan – which they might before the next POTUS election of 2024 which will also affect the Indian 2024 election – then the situation can get very muddied.

While there can be many more possible outcomes, the one outcome that can be safely predicted is that this will leave China far stronger than before and increase the economic threat to India much more than so far. How quickly a robust manufacturing and agricultural reforms policy can be implemented backed by Indian entrepreneurs and investors is the key.

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Ravindra Vasisht
Ravindra Vasisht
Ravindra Vasisht is Regional Director – India, of a global MNC. An engineer by profession and PG in Rural Management he has over 35 years of experience in various industries like Food Processing, Automotive, Healthcare, Electronics, Electrical, Defense, Plastics, Composites & Natural gas. His personal interests include Economics, Defense, Politics, and Strategy.


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