Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Fragmenting world order, untied nations


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: GATT

Mains level: Paper 3- Implications of Russia-Ukraine war for the global order


The outcome that should worry us apart from the devastating consequences for the Ukrainian nation, is the impact the Ukraine crisis is having on the global world order, which is fragmenting in every respect of global interconnectedness — in terms of international cooperation, security, military use, economic order, and even cultural ties.

Implications of war for global order

1] Question mark on the relevance of the UN and Security Council

  • Russia’s actions in Ukraine may, in terms of refusing to seek an international mandate, seem no different from the war by the United States in Iraq in 2003, Israel’s bombing of Lebanon in 2006 and the Saudi-coalition’s attacks of Yemen in 2015.
  • But Ukraine is in fact a bigger blow to the post-World War order than any other.
  • It run counter to the UN Charter preamble, i.e. “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…”, “to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours”, as well as Articles 1 and 2 of the ‘Purposes and Principles’ of the United Nations (Chapter 1).
  • Meanwhile, in their responses, other P-5 members such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France did not seek to strengthen the global order either, imposing sanctions unilaterally rather than attempting to bring them to the UN.

2] Declining nuclear safeguards

  • Russian military’s moves to target areas near Chernobyl and shell buildings near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant show an alarming nonchalance towards safeguards in place over several decades.
  • The world must also consider the cost to the nuclear non-proliferation regime’s credibility: Ukraine and Libya that willingly gave up nuclear programmes have been invaded, while regimes such as Iran and North Korea can defy the global order because they have held on to their nuclear deterrents.

3] Use of non-state actors

  • There are also the covenants agreed upon during the global war on terrorism, which have been degraded, with the use of non-state actors in the Ukraine crisis.
  • For years, pro-Russia armed militia operated in the Donbas regions, challenging the writ of the government in Kyiv.
  • With the arrival of Russian troops, the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has invited all foreign fighters to support his forces to the country.

4] Fragmentation of global financial order

  • While analysts have pointed out that the sanctions announced so far do not include some of Russia’s biggest banks in order to avoid the disruption of oil and gas from Russia, the intent to cut Russia out of all monetary and financial systems remains.
  • The arbitrary and unilateral nature of western sanctions rub against the international financial order set up under the World Trade Organization (that replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT).
  • The obvious fallout of this “economic cancel culture” will, without doubt, be a reaction — a pushback from Russia and an exploration of alternative trading arrangements with countries such as China, India and much of the Eastern Hemisphere which continue to trade with Moscow.
  • For the S-400 missile defence deal, for example, New Delhi used a rupee-rouble mechanism and banks that were immunised from the U.S.’s CAATSA sanctions (or Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) for advance payments.

5] Isolation of Russia

  • While several governments including the U.S., the U.K. and Germany have persistently said that their quarrel is not with Russian citizens but with their leadership, it is clear that most of their actions will hurt the average Russian citizen.
  • Some of this isolation of its citizens will work to the favour of an increasingly authoritarian Kremlin.
  • Mr. Putin’s response to the banning of Russian channels in Europe and its allies has been to use the western media ban as a pretext to ban opposition-friendly Russian channels as well.

Takeaways for India

  • India’s abstentionist responses and its desire not to be critical of any of the actions taken by the big powers might keep Indians safe in the short term.
  • But in the long term, it is only those nations that move proactively to uphold, strengthen and reinvent the global order that will make the world a safer place.


The events over the past two weeks, set in motion by Russia’s declaration of war on Ukraine, have no doubt reversed many of the ideas of 1945 and 1990, fragmenting the international order established with the UN, ushering in an era of deglobalisation and bringing down another Iron Curtain.

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