I’m cutting short the lighthearted myth-busting series, in light of recent developments.
Putin has finally crossed yet another red line in his steady spiral of escalation in Ukraine. Regular Russian forces are now fighting the Ukrainian army.
To all my international readers:
It’s time we stopped giving Putin the benefit of the doubt and playing into his crude attempts at presenting this as a civil conflict in Ukraine. It’s time to start calling a spade a spade. The truth is simple:
Putin’s Russia is at war with Ukraine
This isn’t news. Putin has been at war with Ukraine ever since the Russian army invaded and annexed Crimea in a sham referendum, against all international laws and against every agreement signed by the Russian Federation. After that, Putin tried to foment natural unrest in the Eastern parts of Ukraine. When that failed, Putin’s proxies in Donbas created so-called “people’s republics” and started to kidnap and torture Ukrainian citizens. Whenever Ukraine gained the upper hand against these “rebels,” Putin aided them with weapons and mercenaries streaming across the border. Russian artillery has been shelling Ukraine’s territory for months. Ukraine did not retaliate, for fear of giving Russia an excuse to escalate.
Now, when Ukraine has recaptured much of the area previously under rebel control, Putin is escalating yet again. He’s now sending regular Russian soldiers to fight in Ukraine. The soldiers are told they are going on a training exercise. Putin is lying not only to the world, but to his own citizens.
I ask all those who aren’t indifferent to help end this. This is an act of unjustified, unilateral aggression that can potentially threaten the established world order. If you have the right political connections, help put pressure on your respective governments to take a firmer stance against Putin’s aggression. If you can’t do that, please share my words with those who might be able to.
To all my Russian readers:
Dear Russian brothers. Please understand one very important thing. Ukraine is not against you. It has never been against you. That claim is a cynical, despicable lie that has been perpetrated by Russian propaganda for almost an entire year. Maidan was not against you. Maidan was against a corrupt President who betrayed his promise to the Ukrainian people. Maidan was against a system that, for 23 years, kept Ukrainians from living in a modern, democratic country and from shaking off their Soviet past. People on Maidan came from all walks of life and from every ethnicity: Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians. Maidan had nothing to do with people’s nationality and their preferred language. I think this banner (written in Russian) from Maidan says it all:
Ukraine’s government is not a maniacal Nazi junta that wants to murder all Russian speakers. That story is an absurd, fantastic lie. To confirm that, you only need to see how the rest of Russian-speaking Ukraine—aside from Donbas—has been living for the past year. Hint: They live in peace. From Zaporizhia to Dnipropetrovsk to Mykolayiv. Peace. My exclusively Russian-speaking family and all of my Russian-speaking friends in Kharkov live in peace. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I have spent 10 wonderful sunny days in Kharkov less than a month ago with my little niece and the rest of my family. They do not need to be “rescued” from any mythical Ukrainian fascists! My biggest fear is that Putin’s “defenders” may appear there one day.
Ukraine is fighting a war of independence from Kremlin. It is fighting to keep its sovereignty. It doesn’t want to remain a satellite to Putin’s Russia. Putin is doing everything in his power to prevent this, up to sending your Russian soldiers to fight for his cause. His imperialist ambitions are driving a horrible wedge between our people. Let’s stand together to prevent him from succeeding. We’ll need to live with each other and look each other in the eye after this!
If you don’t do it for Ukraine, do it for the Russian mothers and wives whose sons and husbands are sent to fight Putin’s war in Ukraine. Not openly, in secret. They return home in coffins and their deaths are hushed up. They die for Putin’s objectives, yet they don’t even get the acknowledgment they deserve for serving their country. Don’t let Putin do this to Russia. Don’t let him do this to you. Your country deserves so much better!
To all Putin apologists:
At this stage, there exists far too much evidence of what Putin is up to. It’s hard to deny the obvious. Anyone who supports Putin is either spectacularly uninformed and mislead, or worse—knows exactly what Putin is doing and thinks it’s justified. To the latter: The blood of all Ukrainians, Russians, and others who died in this conflict (and those who will die in the future) is also on your hands. You’re enabling an aggressive leader who places no value on human lives and is willing to sacrifice everyone’s well-being for the sake of his plans. If you understand that fact and are OK with it—you’re guilty, too!
To those who still believe that Putin is fighting the good fight. To those who shed crocodile tears over civilians killed in Donbas and spread catchy tags on Twitter (like #SaveDonbasChildren) here’s all you need to know about that:
There was no war in Donbas until “defenders of Russian-speakers” showed up there.
Read that again. If you don’t want to go back and reread it, here it is once more:
THERE WAS NO WAR IN DONBAS UNTIL “DEFENDERS OF RUSSIAN-SPEAKERS” SHOWED UP THERE!
Putin, aided by his relentless propaganda machine, brought war and death to my country. Putin’s “freedom fighters” have placed Ukraine’s government before an awful choice: Do nothing, and let the rebels continue methodically torturing and killing Ukrainian citizens in Donbas, stealing their cars and apartments, and destroying the region’s infrastructure, or interfere militarily, at the risk of potential civilian deaths but in the hope that order and peace can eventually be restored. Ukraine chose the latter. What country wouldn’t? Name one government that would simply let a group of what are essentially foreign mercenaries and local criminals freely murder its citizens?! If you’re still doubtful of Kiev’s peaceful intentions, just look at how normal life is slowly returning to the areas Ukraine’s army has liberated—yes, liberated—from the “rebels.” Look again at Kramatorsk and Slovyansk. Now tell me these people aren’t happy to be rid of “Russian defenders”!
Wake up. Unplug yourself from the alternative reality propagated by Russian media. Seek facts. Think.
Don’t make it any easier for Putin to continue his “plausible deniability” campaign. It’s time all rational people stood up to him. He has already gotten away with breaking too many rules and causing far too much pain and suffering. If you let him get away with plunging Russia into a full-fledged war with Ukraine, this won’t be the end.
Putin will stop only where a true red line is drawn.
It’s up to all of us to show him where that is.