The seal of some investigative bodies is still missing, but I do not think that there is any doubt that atrocities were committed in Ukraine and that Russian forces are responsible for them. If you invade a sovereign country, and expose the local population to the dangers of war operations, it is morally unjustified, Worse, it tolerates massacres by troops Or even deliberately used to spread panic among civilians. If the latter is proven, Vladimir Putin will have secured his place in history as one of the greatest war criminals of the twenty-first century.
The implications of climbing are not only ethical, but also practical. Images of mass graves and corpses lying in the streets are fueling a movement to toughen sanctions on Moscow. The next step would be for EU countries to stop buying Russian gas and oil. It would be an economically painful step for European countries, but it would be even worse for Russia, possibly even affecting its ability to finance the war.
But unless sanctions lead to the collapse of the regime, which does not appear to be an imminent scenario, crimes against civilians tend to prolong rather than shorten the conflict. The more the differences between Russians and Ukrainians are described from a moral perspective, that is, the deeper they become, the more difficult it is to reach a negotiated solution. If it is indeed difficult to reconcile with your enemy, it is much more difficult to reconcile with someone you consider a genocide, bent on destroying your people.
This also applies to the West. The portrayal of Vladimir Putin as a monster helps justify the adoption of sanctions that harm the very countries that impose them, but make it difficult, if not impossible, to return to “the previous status quo.” If Putin is the new Hitler, it is hard to imagine Biden and European leaders shaking hands with him. Any outcome in which the despot retains power becomes unacceptable.
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