Vladimir Putin has sent troops and rockets into Ukraine, launching a massive genocidal war and forcing over 3 million refugees to flee. The unrepentant tyrant has ignited Ukrainian patriotism.
I was born in Ukraine and my family fled the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Since then, I have advised Ukrainian politicians and business leaders, and watched Ukraine struggle with corruption inherited from the Soviet regime that had colonized it.
In the weeks before Putin’s shocking and unprovoked invasion, a dozen different friends in Ukraine, who have worked in business or government, told me it wouldn’t happen.
Even if Russia went on the offensive, they questioned whether it would last: Why would Putin want to take on millions of problem-riddled new wards? Some doubted that Ukrainian army, much less the impoverished citizenry, would pick up arms to fight against any real incursion.
Now they say the savage Russian assault has been transformational for the Ukrainian people, galvanizing and uniting them in a new cause: defending their freedom. They describe a great awakening for a people who were world-weary from high unemployment, low wages, slack growth, false promises, failed revolts, and corrupt oligarch economics.
Yet the war in Ukraine is showing the world a different Ukraine. Twitter is spilling over with you-are-there images of brave Ukrainians defending their capital of Kyiv (pop. 3 million) and the No. 2 city of Kharkiv (pop. 1.4 million).
A grinning Ukrainian soldier, on a Twitter selfie video, twists a muzzle onto his rifle and tells his Russian foes, speaking in Russian so they comprehend his message: “We’ll soon start kicking your a**.”
In Kyiv, brave residents have taken up 25,000 rifles and 10 million rounds of bullets to help the military fight Russian soldiers, The Wall Street Journal reported. In Lviv (pop. 721,368) in western Ukraine, where the population’s ethnic origins are closer to those of neighboring Poland 70 km away, the resistance includes “baristas and snowboarders, accountants and lawyers, teachers and janitors,” The New York Times reports.
This is more formidable than it appears: these people have been fighting foreign occupiers for almost 800 years. Lviv, founded in 1236, waged guerilla warfare against occupiers from Poland, Lithuania, Austria, Hungary and Poland again, as well as failed takeover attempts by Sweden and the Ottoman Turks.
After Lviv was subsumed by the Soviet Union in 1939, thousands of its citizens were sent to concentration camps or exiled to Siberia. Rebels fought Soviet domination from the 1950s up to the ’70s.
Recently, a defense minister for Ukraine reported that 4,300 Russian forces have been killed or injured, and Ukrainian soldiers have taken out 148 tanks and shot down 27 aircraft and 26 helicopters, Reuters reported. The numbers keep going up each day.
The Russian and Ukraine officials have had supposed peace talks initially in Belarus. The talks have not yielded any substantive results that would lead to a cease fire. The Russian government’s ultimatum of an unconditional surrender is unacceptable to the Ukrainian people.
Meanwhile, Putin has made a hero and a quasi-martyr of President Zelensky, who gamely donned a camouflage flak jacket and refused to leave the capital. The Biden administration reportedly offered to provide him a safe exit from his country, and he responded that he needs ammunition, not a ride — demonstrating Ukrainian grit.
Many of my Ukrainian friends say Ukraine will win this. If Putin installs a puppet government in Kyiv and goes home, dissidents will wage widespread urban guerilla warfare, which will find its targets in Ukraine and Russia.
Now the Russian troops are targeting civilians, forever branding themselves and the Putin regime as tyrants and war criminals. Ukrainian cities may be destroyed and its capitol may be ultimately overrun and technically conquered, but Ukrainian people will never be defeated, observes one of my friends who returned to Ukraine from his home in U.S. to fight for his homeland.
With this widescale aggression and an outrageous pretext that he is liberating Ukraine from the Nazis through a “special military operation,” the Russia’s tyrannical ruler has shown the world that he is truly detached from reality.
Putin usually forgoes military action to pursue a strategy of constructive invasion: a non-invasion invasion of former Soviet satellites via destabilization campaigns and economic influence. In Georgia, Russia has turned Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway republics, into client states. In Moldova, the breakaway Prednestrovia Moldavian Republic (aka Transnistria), spanning 250 miles along the border with southwest Ukraine, has 1,500 Russian soldiers stationed there. They carried out military drills in the region on Feb. 2.
Why invade when you can gain control by pressing the hidden levers of disruption and influence? It was wicked and clever at the same time, and Ukraine was a candidate for a takeover by disruption with an “everything is for sale” attitude and a powerful political party, the Opposition Block, that was openly pro-Russian.
Yet in Ukraine, Putin shed the subtlety in favor of brute force, and substituted opaque policy justifications and concerns about NATO expansion for unsupported claims about liberating Ukraine from Nazi boogeymen. The world responded supporting Ukraine with weapons, equipment, empathy and encouragement.
U.S., Europe, and most other nations levied heavy sanctions on Russia and condemned Putin as a ruthless sociopath.
The UK’s foreign minister, Liz Truss, says this may even cause this tyrant’s downfall.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
Yuri Vanetik is a private investor, lawyer and political strategist based in California. Read Yuri Vanetik's Reports — More Here.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.