“We’re fighting this war for you”

| February 26, 2023

A Russian victory in Ukraine would have a grievous impact far beyond its borders, threatening wider global instability, disrupting food and energy security, weakening international institutions and even reducing the world’s ability to deal with climate change.

‘If Putin is allowed to win, the face and deterrence value of collective security on the international rules-based systems will be fatally wounded,’ Kyiv’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, tells The Strategist. A Russian victory will trigger a new arms race as nations divert resources from a focus on stability and issues such as the changing climate to arm and protect themselves.

Developing countries, in particular, won’t care much about climate change if they can’t feed their own people and if gas and petrol prices have skyrocketed, Myroshnychenko says.

‘It’s in everybody’s interests to help Ukraine win so we can get back to advancement and economic development, and climate change.’ That’s why it must be a priority for nations such as Australia to help Ukraine defend itself.

Myroshnychenko says that if Ukraine fails to defend its territory, then the United Nations will lose its credibility, the UN charter will lose its gravitas and the Security Council will have lost its legitimacy.

In addition, he says, efforts to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons will be eroded because of Russia’s constant threats to use them. ‘If Ukraine had nuclear weapons, which we voluntarily gave up in 1994, the Russians would not have been able to invade us. Also, if we were part of a big collective defence alliance such as NATO, Russia would not be able to also attack us.’

Now the world is watching to see if Russian President Vladimir Putin can get away with changing international borders using nuclear threats and military force, Myroshnychenko says. Any small nation seeing what’s happening must be saying to itself, ‘So the Ukrainians are fighting, are we ready to fight?’

‘Ukraine must win.’

Kyiv is alert to the possibility of Russian forces again trying to capture the capital and pushing through the territory to the west of the city to cut off Ukraine’s supplies from its allies. ‘We don’t rule it out and we are prepared to defend Kyiv again,’ he says. The Ukrainians have recaptured considerable territory and Putin needs results. They expect the Russians to also concentrate forces in Donetsk, where heavy fighting is taking place.

Myroshnychenko says that with more artillery, air defence systems and longer range rocket launchers coming, there’s an air of optimism among Ukraine’s forces. ‘Tanks are important for us to go on the offensive. This is an existential war for us. We need to learn how to navigate and manage all the different equipment we are getting.’

But as the war drags on, it’s having a huge impact on the lives and wellbeing of the people of Ukraine. ‘Civilians are dying in large numbers. Many are traumatised,’ Myroshnychenko says. ‘They’ve been driven from their homes and lost loved ones. Five million people are refugees and another nine million have been internally displaced.

The Russians have destroyed 50% of the power-generation infrastructure and civilians are suffering without electricity or heating. Russia is betting on Ukrainians being exhausted and putting pressure on [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky to solve this war at any cost. They are deliberately destroying that infrastructure and making life difficult to exhaust Ukraine. It’s a classic war of attrition.’

Ukraine’s resilience and its ability to fight depend to a significant extent on the flow of supplies from its partners. That includes financial help as Ukraine’s GDP has dropped by 30% in the past year, leaving a US$36 billion budget hole to be filled.

Australia is providing 90 Bushmaster armoured troop carriers along with old but refurbished M113 armoured vehicles, howitzers, ammunition, de-mining equipment and anti-armour weapons.

Seventy Australian solders are in the UK helping train Ukrainian recruits.

The Bushmasters have been very effective at getting soldiers to the battlefields and taking the wounded to safety, Myroshnychenko says.

Today, the Australian government has announced that unarmed drones will be sent to add to the surveillance capabilities of Ukraine’s forces. And those in the Russian government considered to be prolonging the war will be singled out for personal sanctions.

The Ukrainians have masterfully used every weapon they can get their hands on to hold back the Russian forces. Out of necessity, they have deployed the Bushmasters in offensive roles normally filled by heavier infantry fighting vehicles, and which the lighter troop carriers are not designed for, and some have been destroyed.

‘This is war,’ says Myroshnychenko.

This article was published by The Strategist.



  1. green hammer

    February 27, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    What does that supposed to mean “we are fighting for you” ? There are no dead Australian soldiers. Just dead Ukrainian soldiers

  2. Open Forum

    Open Forum

    February 28, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    He means that Ukraine is fighting for the concepts of democracy and freedom and to protect the whole of Europe from Russian aggression. If Ukraine loses, the Baltic states, and Poland will be next.