Public debate: The war that blew up the World

Pres Release
on the organization of the debate “The war that blew up the World
Debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”

Held on 26 February 2024, Debate No. 300 brought together: Viorel Cibotaru, Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Head of Moldova’s Mission to NATO, Political commentator Ion Tăbârță, an expert in international relations and Igor Boțan, IPN project’s standing expert.

The permanent expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan said that the war is a military conflict or not, which is short or long, between two or more groups, social categories or states, for the achievement of financial, ethnic, territorial, economic, political and other interests. The categories of wars are diverse, for example, external and internal. “If we refer to Ukraine, it is obviously an external war. Although initially, the Russian Federation emphasized that it would be a kind of internal war, in which Russia was forced to get involved, but this is not true. This war is between states, for now, and it does not go to a coalition,” noted the expert.

According to him, wars can also be classified by scale, intensity, duration, character of battles, etc. In terms of scale, they can be local, regional or global. The war in Ukraine is a regional one, which destabilized the entire region and even the economy of the European Union. “This war is of great intensity, and its duration is prolonged because we are entering the third year of war. If we refer to losses, we already have hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides. It is a war with very, very great losses,” explained Igor Boțan.

He also referred to the character of the war, which can be asymmetrical, information, biological, chemical, air, maritime, nuclear, diversionary, terrorist, contactless, hybrid, etc. “In the case of Ukraine, we have an amalgam of fighting and, if we talk about the information character, I think this persists. Air battles, maritime battles persist, diversionary and terrorist. It is enough to remember Irpin, Bucea, Mariupol,” said the expert.

According to him, by their goal the wars can be classed as conquest, plunder, liberation, patriotic, commercial and other kinds of war. “In the case of the Ukraine war, it’s clear that this is a war of conquest. It is very important to note that in two years of the invasion and start of the war of aggression against Ukraine, this war is described as large-scale and this is also mentioned in the recent position taken by the European Union, which introduced the 13th package of individual and economic sanctions. Why large-scale? Because the entire territory of Ukraine is very frequently attacked with missiles. There is a commercial blockade, etc.”, said Igor Boțan.

Viorel Cibotaru, Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Head of Moldova’s Mission to NATO, expressed his solidarity with the Ukrainian people. He noted the courage with which the Ukrainian army maintains Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty on this path of war, a war for liberation, a war that is legitimately waged by Ukraine and is absolutely illegal on the part of the Russian Federation.

The diplomat noted that this war visibly changed the world, including at interhuman level. “The first impact, which shocked me and continues to shock me, is practically the absolute absence of the Russian Federation in Brussels. I don’t see diplomats. I don’t see any cultural appearances. It has become a country that is blamed for all the horrors that are happening and this has basically upset an extraordinary historical plan. These things are also felt in military aspects, aspects of human losses, which have been discussed a lot,” stated Viorel Cibotaru.

In his opinion, an important aspect is related to hybrid warfare in which many more states are involved. It is virtually an ongoing global hybrid war. Africa, Latin America, Asia are also practically involved in it through various aligning actions, diplomatic actions, etc. “All these things point to the fact that we are in a very and very dangerous segment of history, especially since lately all the European Union and NATO member states have reached a common conclusion – the war in Ukraine, even if in the nearest time this military contraposition could be diminished one way or another, does not eliminate this risk of triggering a world war in which the EU and NATO states will also be the target of new military escalations,” said Moldova’s Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg.

Viorel Cibotaru also said that the professionalism of the Ukrainian army and the resilience of the Ukrainian society offer the Republic of Moldova the chance to develop and society to feel relatively safe and avoid risks. These risks are also stipulated in the National Security Strategy of the Republic of Moldova, which was adopted in December 2023. “This document says that the risks deriving from the policy pursued by Putin’s regime are existential for the Republic of Moldova,” noted the diplomat.

Political commentator Ion Tăbârță, an expert in international relations, said that the main impact of this war is psychological in character because nobody believed that a war of this kind could take place in the twenty-first century, in Europe. “It was considered that, after World War II, the international order was built in such a way that in the civilized world, the conflict as a way to overcome or resolve particular disputes, a conflict of this kind, a war was simply not possible. If we look at the main comments, everyone will say that a war of such a nature and magnitude in Europe has not taken place since World War II, let alone in the twenty-first century. However, it was believed that Europe, the democratic states moved to another stage of development,” stated the commentator.

According to him, the French and Germans slaughtered each other for about a hundred years and after World War II they realized that this dispute practically led Europe to the periphery of international relations. Europe has lost its leading role as the center of international relations. This constant dispute between the French and Germans, with the involvement of other peoples, led to the decay of Europe. And then it was decided that the two states should come to terms to overcome together all the horrors of World War II, certainly not without the help of the Americans. I’m referring here to the Marshall Plan. The European project, what we call the European Union at the moment, was based precisely on the Franco-German reconciliation in order to overcome a more difficult situation in the relationship between them.

“In the 21st century, it was believed that in Europe conflicts of such a kind, wars can no longer take place. Even if there were certain wars, these were rather on the periphery of Europe - wars, armed conflicts related to the dismemberment of the Soviet Union and especially related to the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia,” explained the expert in international relations.

Ion Tăbârță made reference to Professor Samuel Phillips Huntington, who said that in democratic states, such as the Western states, wars can no longer take place. They can be between other civilizations, such as the Muslim world. Professor Huntington is partly right because the Russian Federation, especially under Putin, is far from being a democracy. And things are explainable.

“This war has had a major impact, First of all on Ukraine – in terms of demography, human destruction. Attention now is being drawn to the developments on the front line, to the hostilities in this war, but subsequently, Ukraine will have to recover demographically, materially because the destruction is enormous. The war also has an impact on other states, such as the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, etc. These are the countries in which Ukrainian refugees found refuge. The impact also concerns the commercial sector following the supply chain disruptions, the grain problem. This war has a particularly big impact. Maybe it does not fall into the category of world war, but this is anyway a war by its scale and impact and is the biggest conflict after World War II,” said Ion Tăbârță.

The public debate entitled “The war that blew up the World” was the 300th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”, which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

The Agency published 4 news stories on the debate (see the English version of on 26.02.24, „ The war that blew up the World. IPN debates; “Viorel Cibotaru: Moldova’s existence depends on European integration process”;; Igor Boțan: Two years after launch of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, there are hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides”;-; „ Ion Tăbârță: There is no clarity about developments in Ukraine war”;

Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN

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