Blitzkrieg Halted by the Ukrainian Nation
Moscow’s latter-day führer Putin has been caught unawares as his blitzkrieg against Ukraine gets stuck in the mud after just four days.
The Russian dictator composed a simple plan to invade Ukraine from all sides to ensnare the country and people within a few days and then drag it bleeding and screaming into a new prison of nations.
However, the pathetic tyrant grossly overestimated his army’s might and gravely underestimated the determination and patriotism of the Ukrainian nation. The same can be said for Ukraine’s free world allies and supporters.
As a Ukrainian businessman in Ternopil told me the other day, the massive heroism of the Ukrainian people will stop the Russian army in its tracks.
That in addition to supply and logistical calamities faced by the invading forces. According to a broadcast on Ukrainian Radio, Russian military units across Ukraine have become lost, they lack food and water. Some enemy marauders have stolen pigs from Ukrainian farmers in order to eat. Other units are composed mainly of 18-year-olds who have no idea of where they are or why. They’d rather play TikTok on their cell phones or speak with their girlfriends. An Israeli newspaper reported that based on Russian conscription laws, Russian soldiers can’t go into battle without their separate approval. Their mothers back home are crying because their sons were supposed to be on training exercises. Undoubtedly, the mobile crematoria following the troops have also scared the bejesus out of these wannabe Russian warriors.
Some seven decades after the end of World War Two, Russia and its leaders have been exposed for what they are: aggressive invaders, human rights violators and war criminals among other vile epithets. Ironically, since the end of World War Two leaders of the independence movements of the East European nations have warned the free world about Moscow’s deceit, danger and belligerence. They correctly foretold that the countries liberated from Nazi captivity will ultimately become subjugated by Russia. This danger will exist as long as Moscow exists. No one believed them despite periodic flashes of support such as the 1959 Captive Nations Week Proclamation and admonitions to tear down this wall.
In the wake of Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its invasion of Donbas in 2014, Moscow continued to escalate tensions with Ukraine after it voted in favor of acceding to NATO and the European Union.
Putin was quickly losing the grand prize that he needs for his restored empire. Without Ukraine, many have said, Russia would be a second-rate power.
Leading up to the invasion, the free world was openly warning President Zelenskyy that Ukraine is in real danger of being invaded by Russia. Local Ukrainian patriots even echoed their concerns.
The United States, European countries, the former captive nations came to Ukraine’s defense and help with money, humanitarian aid and all sorts of military equipment. To be sure, despite Ukrainians’ criticism, this assistance added a needed blanket that helped Ukrainians plan and prepare their next move.
Ultimately, the United States, Europe, significantly Italy and Germany succumbed to the overtures calling for Russia to be excluded from the SWIFT banking system. Some argued that this punishment like sanctions won’t matter. Perhaps Putin can withstand the pain. But not all Russians share his boldness.
While the US news media’s coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was better than expected, the real insights into what’s happening were to be found among Russian-language bloggers and podcasts. They predicted a catastrophic reality for the Russian leader and his cohort.
A well-known Russian political commentator was asked theoretically in mid-January what would be the west’s reaction if Russia invaded Ukraine. He replied that the first step would be to sever Russia’s connection with the SWIFT network. After explaining what that was, he then said the result would be the end of Putin. He elaborated that even if Putin was the richest man on earth by far, his buddy oligarchs wouldn’t tolerate any decline in their treasures and lifestyle. One oligarch lost $32 billion overnight because of sanctions and other punishments, reported Ukrainian Radio. Additionally, Europe canceled Russian-issued VISA and Master Card credit cards. Ultimately, their anger would catch up with Putin whose demise would be a foregone conclusion.
The average, intelligent Russians are seriously opposed to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. They realize that they and their people have been turned into pariahs akin to Nazis after the war and their heritage has been blackened for generations to come. In demonstrations across the country, they vehemently expressed their opposition to the war as Russian police arrested hundreds.
The massive demonstration of Ukrainian heroism caught the invaders and allies by surprise. The mainstream news media reported about the Ukrainian sailors who refused to surrender to a Russian warship by telling them to go f**k themselves much like General McAuliffe’s reply to the Nazi commander: “N U T S !” The media reported about the sapper who was assigned to set charges under a bridge ahead of a Russian column only to realize that he had no time to blow up the bridge and escape so he sacrificed his young life. They also reported about the legendary Ghost of Kyiv, who made 10 confirmed kills in a plane that was 20 years old. Ukrainian Roma has been fulfilling their avocation of stealing tanks while the homeless have been scrounging for bottles with which the people would make, no, not Molotov cocktails because that’s Russian but rather “Banderite smoothies.” We heard the young mother hiding in a basement with her very young children and neighbors, telling the world that their husbands are off fighting the Russian invaders, but they are in dire need of food and medications. She also implored President Biden to send in American troops to help defend their people from the Russian soldiers, which would make him a hero for all times. Another woman, in tears, lamented that the Russians came and started killing. In Kakhovka, near Kherson, Russian soldiers shot and killed a family of six including an infant.
There was a great story about a Russian sad sack who was captured by local residents in Sumy without firing a shot and extracted from his tank. As they were taking him to the police, the Ukrainians taught the feckless defender of Mother Russia to say in Ukrainian “Glory to Ukraine; Glory to the Heroes.”
The amount of support for Ukraine in its time of need has been nothing short of miraculous. Putin regularly protested about the so-called persecution of Russian speakers but nothing could be farther from the truth. As we saw during the Maidan Revolution of Dignity so too now, Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking Ukrainians are fighting side by side in defense of their land, their people.
The news media showed former President Petro Poroshenko in body armor encouraging his people to defend their land and nation. And perhaps the most inspirational image of leadership during a war was President Zelenskyy who silently answered Taras Shevchenko’s rhetorical question when Ukraine will receive its Washington with his righteous law. Truly, the words, vision and spirit of President Zelenskyy on the ramparts will inspire generations of Ukrainians to defend their homeland. When asked by the United States if he could be assisted in evacuating to safety, he replied, “I need ammunition, not a ride.”
The amount of support that Ukraine is enjoying from virtually the entire community of nations is incredible. Except for a handful of Putin’s allies, the world leaders and people have sided with Ukraine. They are demanding that the international community stop buying Russian oil, Russian vodka and other products. Strangers have been giving high-fives to Ukrainians displaying national insignia. Even the iconic comedy program Saturday Night Live showed support by beginning its segment on February 26 with a rendition of a Ukrainian spiritual hymn “Bozhe Velykyi, Yedynyi” performed by New York’s Ukrainian Dumka chorus.
Undeniably, if there is one person on this earth who tanked Russia and Russians, it is Vladimir Putin. Likewise, if there is one person on this earth who raised the glory and image of Ukraine, it is Vladimir Putin.
And this weekend, Putin showed that even a cornered pig will try to bite. After warning Finland and Sweden not to seek accession to NATO, the Russian tyrant put on high alert the country’s nuclear forces.
This evening Zelenskyy sent a delegation to a Belarusian border town to discuss an end to the war. No pre-conditions. Hopefully, Moscow doesn’t repeat its well-known formula for dealing with opposing delegations by killing them.
This war has also shown the world and Ukrainians that in times of danger and need, the Ukrainian nation stands obstinately united. A soldier from Kryvyi Rih, Zelenskyy’s hometown, taped himself warning Russians that they will not find one person who isn’t committed to the cause of defending their land. We may argue and bicker, but today, he said, all of us – city folks, farmers, hunters, and soldiers – are united in fighting and killing Russians for daring to enter our country.
The war isn’t over but it certainly isn’t going as Putin was hoping it would. To be sure, the fight for every city, town, and village will be bitter, and blood will be flowing down every street but the Russian flag will not appear over any municipal building.