February 24th is the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and may mark the beginning of a new and potentially much more dangerous phase of the conflict.
The leaders of autocratic states like China and Iran are beginning to comprehend the ramifications of a Russian loss for their governments, sending alarming warnings that this confrontation might escalate significantly.
As Russia and Ukraine’s conflict enters its second year, many wonder if we are on the brink of World War III. After all, it’s already “the biggest ground war in Europe since World War II” with no indications of slowing down.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in his speech earlier this week that in light of the West’s participation in the conflict, Russia will increase its focus on nuclear testing and research, a sword rattling indicating severe global ramifications.
Putin isn’t the only one who seems invested in keeping the fighting going, though.
China gains more by a protracted war than by hastening its conclusion. As for the Russians using Iranian-supplied drones and other weaponry in their assaults, Iran is willing to continue escalating the conflict.
There is excellent cause for other nations to be apprehensive about what is happening in the globe today. Alliances are taking form that could quickly turn a regional conflict into a global war. Indeed, few believed the killing of an unpopular prince could have led to the First World War, yet about 20 million people died in four years of savage conflict.
On Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, “We will stand with Ukraine in its fight—for as long as it takes,” pledging an additional $10 billion in financial help to the troubled nation over the next few months.
During the same speech, she cautioned countries like China against relieving Russia of the sanctions imposed by the West. Despite widespread agreement that China has not yet sent deadly help in the form of arms or explosives, some Chinese companies have already been punished with sanctions for proposing such aid.
However, such assistance may not be too far away if things continue.
The Russians reportedly dispatched a frigate loaded with hypersonic missiles as part of their drills, which are bombs that fly too fast to be shot down by most air defense systems. Nonetheless, they need not fire the missiles to show the world and the West they can.
There is little doubt that the force was intended more for nations not participating in the exercises than those that were. It’s a wake-up call.