The nature and rhetoric of Ukraine's Western partners over the past few months is designed to convince Ukrainians that it is time for us to forget about the agreements reached many years ago, come to terms with the changed situation in the world and form new agreements based on existing realities. In other words, welcome to the new-old realpolitik.
In fact, this approach opens a Pandora's box from which conflicts, smoldering for decades, can rain down in a hot form all over the planet. Where the world was kept on a fragile balance achieved long ago, the actors who have significantly strengthened over the past decades, realizing that the old agreements can be revised based on the existing realities, will try to create these realities by military or hybrid means.
Russia's aggression against Georgia and Ukraine, which caused sluggish sanctions and deep concern from the West, marked a precedent and allowed Russia to put on the current agenda the issue of a full-scale military conflict within the European continent. This precedent breaks the world order, where, despite the size of countries and the state of their armed forces, their territorial integrity was at least nominally taken into account.
Considering that at the moment Ukraine is in a rather weak position, we can try to play realpolitik with the same cards that they are trying to play with us. For Western countries that value their own comfort and well-being, it is quite difficult to explain to themselves why they should sacrifice their economic interests, not to mention military assistance, to a country whose name is clearly not on their agenda. Therefore, they are trying to delay any geopolitical upheavals at the expense of anything, the lives of our citizens, the loss of our territory, but not for their own.
Considering a possible full-scale armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the West assesses the possible losses of its own economies from the imposition of sanctions against Russia and the cost of military assistance to Ukraine. In the absence of alternatives, it is understandable that these costs appear to Western countries as inconvenient and unnecessary, such that they can be avoided by forcing Ukraine to bend to the demands of Russia under pressure from the United States and Europe.
However, there are two points to be made here:
- We will defend ourselves, so there will be no bloodless annexation - which, in principle, is already indicated by Ukraine at all levels
- If you're worried about your own losses, let's count them together.
For some reason, the second thesis slips away from the agenda, but in vain. January 31, 2022 The Times reported that Poland is ready to accept 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine in the event of a full-scale Russian invasion. Slovakia and the Czech Republic estimate the number of refugees they can accept at several tens of thousands. Ukraine, perhaps, should indicate the following position on this matter:
- Ukraine will evacuate the entire civilian population from the areas where the Russian invasion will take place, since it will be impossible for them to stay in places of permanent residence due to hostilities
- Ukraine, which in the event of an invasion by Russia, will be in a state of war, will not be able to provide social protection and medical care to refugees from these regions on its territory
- Ukraine counts on the placement of refugees in neighboring countries within the framework of the UN Conventions on the Status of Refugees on the territory of such neighboring countries.
Since most of the countries neighboring Ukraine are members of the European Union, the governments of these countries could be recommended to apply to the European Commission in order to allocate additional funds for setting up camps and covering the maintenance of refugees at the rate of - estimated - for 15 million people. For such countries, these are good contracts for local companies. However, the budgets of these countries do not include expenses for the maintenance of refugees, so it is logical that such expenses should be covered by the European Commission (read, first of all, Germany, as one of the budget-forming countries). Since the maintenance of one refugee will cost no less than 80 euros per month (the minimum unemployment benefit in Poland is about 214 euros, the cost of living in the Czech Republic is 80-120 euros), the cost of maintaining refugees alone will approximately amount to 1.2 billion euros per month. The figure is inaccurate and likely to be higher, since half of the refugees will be people of an incapacitated age, so the cost of providing them with medical care will be higher.
In support of this thesis, Ukraine could already, without too much fuss, start a census of the population in areas of possible invasion, ask neighboring countries for places of accommodation for refugees and ways of evacuating them on their territory. Be sure to inform potential refugees about possible evacuation routes and potential accommodation in the event of a military invasion. Since the neighboring countries that have tasted the delights of Soviet life within the framework of the former Warsaw Pact (Poland, the Czech Republic) are more likely our allies than silent opportunists, they are happy to relay these requests to countries that consider the losses of their economies from sanctions against Russia.
We should not forget about the property left by refugees in the potentially occupied territories, so that in case of its loss, Ukraine could apply to international courts in order to recover from Russia, state Russian companies or private companies identified with the Russian regime, assets to compensate refugees for lost property. It would be nice to carry out its inventory and evaluation to determine the amount of compensation. We need to do this already, since our Western partners are convincing us that an invasion is inevitable. Under no circumstances should you pull. Since our budget does not provide for either a census or an inventory with an assessment, perhaps our Western partners could finance their implementation. But even if not, we should count calmly and businesslike and not be shy about presenting alternative figures to our Western partners. Since they consider potential losses, let them weigh all possible options.