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Zelensky calls for a no-fly zone and tougher Russian sanctions in appeal to US lawmakers


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine claimed the lives of hundreds of people on the battlefield and in bombed Ukrainian cities. But internationally, it also affects everything from food security in Cairo to gasoline prices in California. It has brought about major geopolitical shifts and changed the way some of the world’s most important institutions operate.

Here’s how the world has changed in 10 days since the return of war in Europe.

A changing world order

The invasion of Ukraine did not usher in a new era of great power politics. It was the violent exclamation mark confirming one of the most significant changes in the global geopolitical order since 9/11.

In the years that followed, global terrorism absorbed much of the attention of Western leaders. Al-Qaeda and ISIS were the enemies that had to be countered. The Kremlin was no longer seen as the same threat it once was – so much so that in 2012 President Barack Obama mocked then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney as being out of touch for calling Russia the number one geopolitical enemy of the United States. .

By then, Putin had already shown that he was interested in overthrowing the post-Cold War order.

The former KGB intelligence officer took office in 2000 promising to restore Russia to its former glory, sometimes by military force. As prime minister in 1999, he launched an offensive in the Russian republic of Chechnya against separatist guerrillas. In 2008, the Kremlin invaded Georgia and recognized two breakaway republics in the country, which at the time was moving closer to Europe.

Putin’s later support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – ostensibly as an ally in the war on terror – won him no favor from Western democracies, not least because of credible reports of the Syrian dictator’s decision. to attack its own people with chemical weapons. . Putin’s decision to annex Crimea in 2014 and support separatists in eastern Ukraine drew sanctions and was strongly condemned. The same was true of Russia’s alleged attempts to assassinate its enemies on foreign soil.

But Putin remained an important, if unsavory, actor and partner for Washington’s leadership in Warsaw during the 2010s. Russia was a major factor in the fight against ISIS; main energy supplier in Europe; and helped broker major diplomatic pacts like the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Last week’s invasion may have put an end to that. After a quarter century of relations between the Western world and Putin, he may have finally pushed the envelope and become an outcast.

In response, the Western world hit Russia with unprecedented sanctions that crippled its financial institutions, sending its economy and the ruble into a tailspin, and even personally targeted Putin and some of his close associates.

“Putin is now more isolated from the world than he has ever been,” US President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

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