The war in Ukraine - what war?

People react as they gather near a mass grave in the town of Bucha, northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, 3 April 2022 AFP/SERGEI SUPINSKY

Only almost 120 days have passed since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces and for many countries and the majority of citizens in the rest of the world, this conflict, like many others before it, has been almost forgotten or is in the process of being forgotten.

Paradoxically, this provoked oblivion is due to various and varied reasons, among them the desire for it to really end so that it can be forgotten for good, due to the many negative effects it has had on everyone.    

I think it would be even more forgotten were it not for the major and serious economic, food and energy repercussions that continue to be felt throughout the world and because, as is often the case in any major conflict, after some juggling, from one day to the next, it becomes the scapegoat for all the evils that plague humanity. 

Una vista aérea muestra un edificio residencial destruido por los bombardeos, mientras continúa la invasión rusa de Ucrania, en el asentamiento de Borodyanka en la región de Kiev, Ucrania 3 de marzo de 2022 REUTERS/MAKSIM LEVIN
REUTERS/MAKSIM LEVIN - An aerial view shows a residential building destroyed by shelling as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, in the settlement of Borodyanka in Kiev region, Ukraine March 3, 2022

Indeed, instead of foreseeing, tackling and reversing the disastrous consequences of the stagnation or delay of economic, industrial and social policies, it is the presence and effects of a conflict or any kind of major crisis that is shamelessly used to cover up the mistakes and structural deficiencies that were not carried out in a timely manner, thereby satisfying the public and silencing consciences, especially in a public way. Now it turns out that oil prices are rising because, apparently, refining capacities have not been improved or increased worldwide due to the pandemic and this very war. I am usually open to analysing things, their causes and consequences, but I recognise that these two reasons seem to me to be totally out of context, invented and dishonest.  

The economies are not getting back on their feet because of the war in Ukraine, but it turns out that we had been living la dolce vita for years, with neither the major central banks, nor the national ones, doing anything to cut such profligacy and now, in a hurry, it is Putin and his damned 'special operation' that is to blame for inflation and for all the indicators being out of control. I don't get it either, no matter how much I ponder.

We witnessed the fighting, bombings, killings and movements of thousands of refugees and displaced persons, but today, after barely a hundred days, there are only small references to the subject on the news and in the inside pages of the newspapers. And this is happening despite the fact that Ukraine is becoming a wasteland and that it is now when the crucial battles for its future and more than likely division into bloody segments that will never recover are being played out. 

Una mujer mira a los militares ucranianos que caminan en el suburbio de Bucha, Ucrania, antes ocupado por Rusia, el sábado 2 de abril de 2022 AP/VADIM GHIRDA
AP/VADIM GHIRDA - A woman looks at Ukrainian servicemen walking in the formerly Russian-occupied suburb of Bucha, Ukraine, Saturday, April 2, 2022.

If we take into account what many surveys, indicators and political declarations in Western countries are proclaiming, with increasing clarity and a pressing concern and unity of criteria, these fully occupied territories will soon be recognised as a bargaining chip to bring the parties to the negotiating table, so that from there, as a starting point, they will not go down.

Two days ago, during that visit forced or pushed by Biden of the three most important EU leaders, accompanied by a neighbour of Ukraine, Macron himself had to half-heartedly retract his words, when a few days earlier he had unequivocally proclaimed that the only viable solution to the conflict was to cede national territory to the Russians and on that basis sit down to negotiate.  

AFP/LUDOVIC MARIN - De izquierda a derecha, el primer ministro de Italia Mario Draghi; el canciller de Alemania, Olaf Scholz; el presidente de Ucrania, Volodimir Zelenski; el presidente de Francia, Emmanuel Macron, y el presidente de Rumania, Klaus Iohannis, se reúnen para una sesión de trabajo en el Palacio Mariinsky, Kiev, Ucrania, el 16 de junio
AFP/LUDOVIC MARIN - From left, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ukraine's President Volodimir Zelenski, France's President Emmanuel Macron and Romania's President Klaus Iohannis meet for a working session at the Mariinsky Palace, Kiev, Ukraine, June 16.

Until recently, all countries, in a kind of unbridled race not to be left behind, were rushing to send materials, ammunition and certain types of weaponry to the poor, brave Ukrainian fighters so that they could defend themselves, and, at the same time, with the veiled pretence that they would become our shield or 'buffer zone' on which an overpowering, but not so well prepared Russian army, which had more of a reputation than a reality, would crash. Now, for three days, we know that the Ukrainian arsenal is on its last legs and on the verge of closing its depots due to lack of material.

I remember that many people considered the possibility that it would be those lands and their population converted into soldiers ready to kill who, with a minimum of support from us, would save us from the red menace and from a man who wants to recover the extinct Russian empire, for the greater glory of his mandate and way of governing.

The West's illusions were soon dashed by reality. However ill-prepared the Russian forces, their command and control systems, logistics and replacement system may be. In the end, the big guy usually swallows the little guy if he does not mind fighting on despite the high bill to pay.   

The countries supplying military support, with the exception of the US, soon showed that their stockpiles of good or surplus materiel were not as large as they had hoped or imagined; obsolete materiel was useless and that this war, every day that goes on, becomes a huge expense and a high risk, even for those of us who watch the bulls from the sidelines. 

As I mentioned earlier, it took Biden to raise the alarm and force the recent joint visit of EU leaders to remind the Europeans and the British - after Johnson's second visit to Kiev - that the conflict is still raging out there in all its rawness, that thousands of people are still dying, that refugees and displaced people in all directions are still marching and despairing, and that Zelenski's repeated appeals for war materiel and knocking on the Union's door are genuine and sincere.

Soldados caminan junto a un tanque ruso destruido y vehículos blindados, en medio de la invasión rusa en Ucrania en Bucha, en la región de Kyiv, Ucrania 2 de abril de 2022 REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMRA
REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMRA - Soldiers walk past a destroyed Russian tank and armoured vehicles, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Bucha, Kyiv region, Ukraine April 2, 2022

Yesterday we learned that the Union, in its traditional slow walk, has said yes, it has agreed to Ukraine's accession to the economic club; but, although it has yet to be ratified by the members without exception, it has done so with so many conditions that we shall see what happens in the end. I don't think anything really positive will be achieved for at least ten years.

We hastened to award them the triumph of the last Eurovision Song Contest in a solemn and resounding vote, in order to please those brothers who, between songs, are still fighting tooth and nail. But, after the initial hullabaloo, the moment of truth has arrived, and the festival organisers, not trusting them, the evolution of the situation or their immediate organisational capacity, have unanimously decided that Ukraine will not host next year's gala, but the United Kingdom instead. Another low blow, which nullifies everything that has been done in this respect by awarding them an undeserved prize. 

We remain unmoved by the news and images of children deported en masse to Russia, another way, along with the refugees - who will not return when they discover that life is better in other lands, or at least without so many scares and setbacks - of emptying a country and leaving it without a future because of the disappearance of its true roots. This phenomenon is joined by that of the thousands of children who, in the rush of the first moments, were evacuated as refugees, in frank disbandment to Western countries at the hands of heartless people, and now they are nowhere to be found. 

Once again, and as some of us have been announcing since the first days of the war, in European countries there has been such a decrease, almost a disappearance, of those mass welcomes at the arrival points and the public and private races to go there to bring refugees without order or order, just out of goodwill.

Once again, as with the refugees from Syria and Afghanistan among others, only three months have passed, and we no longer want to talk or hear anything about them; they are a nuisance in our environment and can become a serious problem for our society, either in themselves or because the states and their governments have, once again, put them on the back burner and have not really solved them. 

The war in Ukraine, like all wars, is horrible and it is normal that human beings do not want another one to happen; but we cannot be so hypocritical, stir up our state of mind, our humanitarian passions, set our politicians in motion so that they can take one more photo, pick up a few unfortunate people and give a few handouts so that, in just over three months, we can look the other way and start looking for another excuse or event to blame for all our evil.

We are very poor in spirit, people who truly move under certain conditions and pressures, but our minds, not because we are forgetful but because we are ill-prepared and often perverse, lead us to turn off the light in the theatre so that we fail to see the play that, at the back of the stage, is unfolding in all its crudeness and reality.