AS I SEE IT: Russia’s cyber attacks on Ukraine elevates war into a higher level, a global war?

The war going on between Russia and Ukraine with the former staging cyberattacks against the latter recently, has changed the landscape of the war elevating it to a higher scale as it enters its 8th month of hostilities. The following day, true to its announcement that he will be using more air power, Russia’s Vladimir Putin dropped missiles to Ukraine creating more destruction aggravating the situation.

This time, Putin is using sophisticated weapons after a series of defeats he incurred lately from Ukraine military forces in the ground that reclaimed some cities occupied and annexed by Russia. These setbacks sent Putin to a different course of action by ordering cyberattacks and air missiles on Ukraine’s infrastructures to boost his crumbling militia and bolster his bloated ego.

This must be an act of retaliation shown by Putin who is now acting like a wounded animal who becomes more ferocious and angrier after suffering from grave wounds and humiliation from a supposedly weaker nation such as Ukraine.

According to Bloomberg News, “Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened more strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure after his country’s missiles hit cities across Ukraine.” A day after the announcement, missiles were dropped in Ukraine causing more damage to the already ravaged country.

Putin’s latest actions may trigger an escalation of US and the rest of the world’s involvement in the war and may even lead to actual confrontation leading to the start of War 111. This is because while the war is between Russia and Ukraine, the US and the Western allies (European Union, NATO, etc.) are already involved in the war indirectly. And… with the cyber-attacks employed by Russia, this will somehow trigger a more aggressive support from US and its Western Allies.

As a result, in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, President Joe Biden pledged to “continue providing Ukraine with the support needed to defend itself, including advanced air defense systems.” With this assurance from Biden and the rest of the world, Zelenskiy is even willing to pursue the war to the very end thus escalating the unprovoked, uncalled-for war staged by Putin eight months ago.

Putin, however said, “they were in retaliation for a strike on a multibillion-dollar bridge connecting Russia to Crimea. Kyiv hasn’t officially claimed responsibility for the episode, which further highlighted the woes of Putin’s military in the eighth month of its invasion.”

International support for Ukraine continues to pile up. According to a statement from her office, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss will urge leaders of the Group of Seven nations to “not waver” in their support for Ukraine following Russia’s latest missile attacks on civilian targets. In fact, the leaders are holding an emergency call on Tuesday with Zelenskiy to discuss a response.

Truss will also call for an urgent meeting of NATO leaders where G7 leaders are expected to discuss the global energy crisis and the work they’re doing to implement an international cap on the price of Russian oil.

For his part, in a prepared remark, Jeremy Fleming, the director of the UK’s intelligence, cyber and security agency GCHQ, said Russia’s military commanders in Ukraine know their munitions and supplies are running out. This must have been the reason why Putin is now using air strikes to be able to support its exhausted military forces in the ground.

While Biden didn’t specify what air defense systems the US will provide, a US arms package announced in August included six National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems. The NATO-standard air defense system, produced by Raytheon Technologies Corp., is used to protect the Washington region, including the White House and two NASAM systems were previously pledged to Ukraine.

According to the Serhiy Prytula Fund, which said on Facebook that it had started raising money for Ukrainian kamikaze drones that have been successfully tested on the battlefield, the Russian missile attacks “enraged Ukrainians.”

The group, seven hours later, donated more than 206 million hryvnia ($5.6 million).  It said its fund-raising for Ukrainian army units fighting on the front lines.  So far, it has provided more than 2,386 drones; almost 8,000 communication devices; 620 military pickups; 4,000 tactical first aid kits; and other equipment.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said the West shouldn’t be looking for an off-ramp for the Russian president even as Putin isn’t capable of acknowledging a defeat in Ukraine. “I think he’s not capable of taking a defeat,” Niinisto told reporters during a state visit to Norway. “The task of the West is not to offer or look for an off-ramp for Putin. The final result should be that Ukraine is free. That’s an off-ramp to Ukraine.”

ABC News reported that airports in US cities including New York, Chicago, Des Moines, Atlanta, and Los Angeles have been impacted by the cyberattacks. This is the ripple effect of Putin’s air strike recently and may have to be more severe if he continues to use air missiles. The attacks impacted the public leading to long wait times, delays, flight cancellation, and congestion in the airport.

India, which relies on Russia as an energy and arms supplier, is “deeply concerned” at the escalation of the war…” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. “We urge immediate cessation of hostilities and the urgent return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue,” it said. India has tried to balance its ties with Moscow despite increasing US pressure to scale back relations.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Russia’s strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure are a “deep change in nature” of the war. Speaking during a trip to western France, Macron added that he would summon his military and diplomatic advisers upon his return to Paris “to review the situation.”

The EU is in discussions to extend Ukraine around €18 billion in funding next year to help cover urgent financing needs, even as billions of euros in aid the bloc approved more than four months ago remain unpaid to Kyiv.

The new funding proposal, according to people knowledgeable of the plan, aim to provide at least half of the €3 billion to €3.5 billion Ukraine needs per month.

Meanwhile, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said via the news agency Belta: “Russian troops will return to Belarus in large numbers. This won’t be just a thousand troops.”

Lukashenko allowed Russia to use his country as a launchpad for its invasion of Ukraine in February. He and Putin had agreed to deploy a regional grouping of armed forces with Belarusian armed forces as the core of the unit.

The war between Ukraine and Russia is now on its eight month and we are witnessing a superpower trying to erase its weaker opponent from the face of the earth!

As I See It, this is the modern version of the old-known “David and Goliath” biblical story of a weaker opponent (David) against a stronger opponent (Goliath)!

David is the modern version of Ukraine and Goliath to Russia and while David defeated Goliath in a single combat, the Ukraine-Russia war is a continuing battle where the winner may have to be determined by uncertainty that only time will tell when it will be ended. Ukraine president Vlodomir Zelensky can be referred to as the new version of Saul, who refused to be on exile but stayed and fought with his people side-by-side, determined to die for his country, unlike Saul who didn’t fight for his constituents.

Military, humanitarian, and other forms of support from almost all nations of the world (the world community) are overwhelming! “We’re in the midst of a fight between democracy and oligarchs. What’s at stake here is not just what we’re doing in Ukraine to try to help the Ukrainian people and try to keep the massacre from continuing. Beyond that is what are your kids and grandkids going to look like in terms of their freedom,” Biden said.

So, will David, in the end, triumph in modern times?

(ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com.)