WILMINGTON — Bob Baylor, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Ohio National Guard, spoke to the Wilmington Rotary Club about Ukraine.

Baylor started with a map of the region and how borders impact what might be going on today.

He took the Rotarians back a few years, to help the club understand how the current Ukraine geopolitical boundaries came to be and into recent history with the Warsaw Pact and NATO formation and smaller wars and conflicts around the borders of the country.

Today, the 2.6 million refugees that have fled from Ukraine represent the largest refugee crisis since World War II. And, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is the largest scale invasion since, as well.

As a culture and, to some extent politically, Ukraine identifies with Poland more than Russia, said Baylor. This is why many of the refugees have fled to Poland. Recent history (1900-present) has found Ukraine at odds with Russia on several occurrences/events. It voted to be independent.

With the caveat that these musings were Baylor’s very own, and not based on any “intel” from sources other than history and experience, Baylor indicated a few issues with the success of the campaign by Russia:

• There is not a clear-cut goal. They don’t have a strategic plan, only a vision of “taking over the country.”

• The Russian (and Ukraine) military are conscription forces. They are required to participate, but for a short time. Several strategic mistakes have been made — getting front lines too far ahead of supplies, etc. — that an experienced and trained force would not have made.

• Ukraine soldiers are fighting for their homes. There is a lot of motivation there. And, they are unconventional, using weapons in non-traditional ways and creating unforeseen issues for the Russian forces.

• The invading Russian soldiers are finding they must attack people who are just like them.

Baylor went on to explain some of the impacts in the region including possibilities of Finland and Sweden joining NATO; impacts on Taiwan from China; impacts on commerce and goods flowing; and the political impacts of sending aid or not, and what kinds of aid.

The Wilmington Rotary Club meets at noon on Tuesdays at the CMH Meeting Room.

From left are Jay Sewell, President of the Wilmington Rotary Club, and guest Bob Baylor.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_IMG_1112.jpgFrom left are Jay Sewell, President of the Wilmington Rotary Club, and guest Bob Baylor. Submitted photo

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