Russian President Vladimir Putin this week ordered an invasion of Ukraine, a bold decision that put into harms way millions of innocent civilians in that country and undermined an already tenuous political situation in Eastern Europe.

The immediate concern of the Philippine government following this development has been to focus on the safety of Filipino overseas workers in Ukraine, a pragmatic policy given the urgency of situation.

Neutrality vis-a-vis the potential escalation of the conflict in Ukraine into a direct confrontation between Russia and the Western alliance or NATO, however, offers little promise to any country, no matter how geographically remote from it is from the region, that it will be unaffected by the fallout  the war’s escalation.

Not since the Cuban missile crisis in the early 60’s had the world been on the brink of a catastrophic war. The economic sanctions imposed by the west on Russia including the financial interests of Putin hardly had any impact, according to expert observers, leaving the Western world grappling for effective options to halt Putin in his tracks. The situation is fluid that it can spark an escalation anytime, with Putin warning the West of “consequences you have never encountered in your history”. 

Putin is supposed to be motivated by a seeming desire to regain the old glory of the former Soviet Union and may sense that his back is against the wall with NATO’s expansion in the region, exemplified by Ukraine’s impending alliance with it. 

There is currently nothing moving to resolve this key geopolitical driver of the conflict, with war looming to be the only option of choice. If this happens, there will be no winner and death and destruction promises to be widespread, even global.

Both Russia and the NATO countries need to understand that war is not a solution to the conflict, and find diplomatic ways to de-escalate. Peace is the only way. Otherwise we are all doomed.

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