147 Days since Russia invaded Ukraine – Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
It has been 147 days since Russia for the countless time invaded Ukraine. However, this latest in a long line of unprovoked imperial conquests against Ukraine has been an expected attack awaiting a date.
Russia’s war has evolved into the epitome of international terrorism that seeks to kill unarmed, innocent Ukrainian men, women and children rather than to destroy military targets. In these few months, Russia launched 3,000 rockets from land and sea against civilian targets across the country, abruptly awakening frightened and unsuspecting Ukrainians while instantly killing the unfortunate ones.
The Ukrainian nation at great cost to itself has attracted global support in its existential war against Russian invaders that without remorse have brutalized, raped and killed young girls and their mothers.
You may think that Russia is fulfilling its manifest destiny of invading, occupying and subjugating Ukraine but the bloody truth is that Moscow is hell bent on annihilating Ukraine and Ukrainians from the face of the earth and humanity’s memory. Its pillaging murderers rape and kill women of all ages in order to deprive the Ukrainian nation of future generations of Ukrainian patriots. Certainly that constitutes war crimes and genocide.
Russian invaders are destroying all vestiges of Ukrainian culture – the heart and soul of the nation: churches, libraries, theaters, schools and universities and literature to prove in their little minds that Ukraine and Ukrainians never existed.
However, Ukrainians, across all walks of life, easterners and westerners, Orthodox and Catholics, Jews and Muslims, professionals and farmers, men and women, young and old, have united in fulfilling one single immovable, supreme national mission – defeat Russia and expel it from Ukraine.
HIMARS, M270s and Howitzers
US and allied, notably the former captive nations, support for Ukraine is welcome and the arrival of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and howitzers is having the anticipated effect – Russian armed forces and military installations are being deservedly destroyed on a daily basis, bringing terror to Russian invaders. Along with Russian hardware and cannon-fodder Russians, Ukrainian military prowess is also eliminating Russian generals and other high-ranking commanders at a fast pace. Miserable Russian conscripts are doing everything they can to avoid fighting in Russia’s losing war in Ukraine. Allied generals and admirals agree that in recent weeks Ukrainian armed forces have shown their ability not only to stand up to Russian invaders but to repel them as well.
The HIMARS systems supplied by the US and similar M270s from Britain have significantly bolstered the Ukrainian military’s precision-strike capability. The HIMARS and M270 have a longer range, a much better precision and a faster rate of fire compared with Soviet-designed Smerch, Urahan and Tornado multiple rocket launchers used by both Russia and Ukraine.
The truck-mounted HIMARS launchers fire GPS-guided missiles capable of hitting targets up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) away, a distance that puts them out of reach of most Russian artillery systems. The mobile launchers are hard for the enemy to spot and can quickly change position after firing to escape airstrikes.
The Ukrainian military so far has received a dozen HIMARS and several M270 systems, and it already has used them to successfully target Russian ammunition and fuel depots in eastern Ukraine, essential for supporting Moscow’s offensive. On Wednesday, Ukrainian forces used HIMARS to hit a strategic bridge in the Russia-occupied southern region of Kherson.
Nations that experienced Russia’s hospitality as captives are lining up behind the United States with military, humanitarian and moral support. In Poland, a prime ally, the Ateneum ensemble of the Stefan Jaracza Theater of Warsaw, in a dramatic contemporary performance urges the global community to extend its hand to Ukraine. And then it says, borrowing from Ukraine’s national anthem, Ukraine has not perished so long as we are a family.
That conviction will keep Ukraine as well as Europe alive.
In recent weeks, at least since the arrival of military armament and supplies, the combined efforts of all Ukrainian Armed Forces, the National Guard and Territorial Defense have been successful in striking major victories against the Russians, something that the mainstream media in the United States has shied away from noting. Negative even irrelevant stories about Ukraine are creeping into their news reports. Yes, they are covering Russia’s war against Ukraine but now they are pointing out how the Russian army is holding back Ukrainian advances.
The overall coverage has shown correspondents’ definite lack of knowledge about Ukraine and what is happening and why. Contrary to the main character of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Foreign Correspondent” Huntley Haverstock, whose USA-based street-smart sense helped him successfully solve foreign intrigue in Europe, in today’s Ukraine that kind of a reporter is a babe in the woods. He or she is genuinely trying to cover the war from the victim’s point of view but an intrinsic lack of knowledge of Ukrainian history and culture places them at a disadvantage. At times, Russia’s propaganda clouds even their best efforts.
Unless the tide dramatically changes in Ukraine’s favor very soon, the lessons of this war will answer the ubiquitous question of how long and what will happen. Ukraine and Ukrainians will persevere in their fight for freedom against Russian belligerence but will the world? Will boredom consume its leaders?
Does the international community have the determination – the true grit – that was eloquently described by Britain’s Winston Churchill in his inaugural on May 13, 1940, when he said: “We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.”
Preparing not only his nation’s mobilization against Nazi Germany the also Europe’s, Churchill stated it plainly that the mission is to fight against the enemy and ultimately defeat it. Here’s how it would sound today if President Zelenskyy voiced his exact sentiments:
“You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realized; no survival for Ukraine, no survival for all that Ukraine has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, ‘Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.’”
There can be no other conclusion. There can be no other solution. There cannot be any discussion of surrendering Ukrainian land to Russia as a compromise for the sake of peace for as Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir quaintly pointed out about the stupidity of compromise: “To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.” You either exist or don’t exit, live or die.
Attempted derailment in Washington
Ukraine’s victories of late have understandably enraged the mastermind of this foolhardy invasion, the Russian führer Vladimir Putin. Apparently he has tolerated long enough the world’s support that Ukraine has enjoyed as well as its battlefield triumphs so now it is time to derail it. Whether or not Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R-IN), who was born in Ukraine, is part of an anti-Ukrainian conspiracy in Washington is not primarily important but the timing and delivery of her recent critical attack against President Biden and President Zelenskyy’s handling of the Russian war was unfortunate if not treasonous. The actual target of her condemnation was the head of Zelenskyy’s administration Andriy Yermak, who has been castigated by Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians for many months. Their claim is that he is Moscow’s mole in Kyiv. So why raise this issue now rather than earlier, at the beginning of the month or even months ago? Because the White House and Congress are currently solidly in Ukraine’s corner and arming it against Russia. Fortunately her diversion has not worked and by now it’s a dwindling memory. US military aid for Ukraine is helping Kyiv win the war while its absence would surely help Moscow defeat Ukraine. The focus must only be on defeating Russia. Everything else can be dealt with after Ukraine’s victory and Russia’s capitulation.
If Russia weren’t enough nowadays, the Associate Press published on July 20 a story stating that Ukraine graft concerns resurface as Russia war goes on. Again, why now? Why did a bored editor assign this story to someone now? The issue was known months and years ago. Yes, Ukraine has corrupt officials. But so does the United States. American newspapers and TV programs across the political spectrum are filled with stories about some form of graft, corruption and election fraud across the country.
Corruption in the United States is apparently at its worst in almost a decade, according to a new global report released by Transparency International. Advocates attribute the drop to declining trust in democratic institutions and poor oversight of pandemic-related financial aid. According to group, 44% of Americans believe that corruption is pervasive in the White House, up from 36 per cent in 2016 and almost 7 out of 10 people believe the government is failing to fight corruption, up from half in 2016.
The University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics recently released a survey which found over half of its respondents agreeing that the government is “corrupt and rigged against me.” Conducted by a Democratic and Republican pollster, the survey is another sign of Americans’ growing distrust in established institutions.
The Washington Post revealed that the six most corrupt states are New York, Illinois, Louisiana, Alabama, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
None of this has really tarnished America’s reputation in the world or its ability to help beleaguered peoples while downtrodden from all corners of the world still risk everything to arrive at these shores. Beating on Ukraine about the shoulders because of corruption is meant to divert attention from Ukraine and the necessity of defeating Russia.
“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Genocide in Ukraine
In 1932-33 Soviet Russia committed genocide in Ukraine by starving to death 7 million Ukrainian men, women and children. Today Putin’s Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine by wantonly bombing Ukrainian cities and raping and killing women and young girls. No difference.
US Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ben Cardin (D-MD), chair of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, today led Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were not sidetracked yesterday in introducing a resolution recognizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which include forced deportations to Russia and the purposeful killing of Ukrainian civilians in mass atrocities, as constituting a genocide against the people of Ukraine. The senators introduced the resolution shortly after Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, delivered an impassioned plea directly to Congress.
“There is no question that what Russia is doing in Ukraine is a genocide,” said Risch. “If you could walk the streets of Kyiv, Irpin and Hostomel like I did last month, and listen to the stories of what the Russian soldiers have done, this is a genocide. The international community is documenting the many Russian abuses that constitute war crimes across Ukraine. It’s time the United States and the world recognize it as such.”
• Condemns Russia for committing acts of genocide against the people of Ukraine;
• Calls on the United States, along with NATO and EU allies, to support the government of Ukraine to prevent further acts of Russian genocide against the Ukrainian people; and
• Supports tribunals and international criminal investigations to hold Russian political leaders and military personnel accountable for a war of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Ukraine’s First Lady Addresses Congress
In a moving and personal address to the US Congress that helped keep the world’s eye on the issue, Olena Zelenska, wife of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said she is speaking as a mother and daughter not as the wife of an official as she implored Congress to give Ukraine more weapons to defeat Russia. In a presentation that included photos of killed children, including well known Liza, and families, Zelenska asked for weapons to protect Ukrainian homes and defend against Russian terrorists. She pleaded for more US air defense weaponry to fend off the Russian military so it does not kill children in their strollers, Zelenska said: “Russia kills, America saves.” Noting that since this unprovoked war began Russia has rained 3,000 rockets on Ukrainian civilian targets, ripping apart towns, building, families and people. Ukraine is grateful for America’s supportive stand, she said.
It’s harvest season in Ukraine and farmers are sweeping across wheat fields in their annual ritual of gathering the crop and converting it into edible food for Ukrainians and other consumers. Russia is complicating the process by burning and otherwise destroying the fields. This not only is a problem for Ukraine but for the world. Ukraine, for ages known as the breadbasket of Europe, in 2020, it exported $4.61 billion in wheat, making it the fifth largest exporter of wheat in the world. At the same year, wheat was the third most exported product in Ukraine. Not only is Russia destroying the crop on the ground but it is also hijacking it in Ukrainian seaports. Yes, this could lead to a catastrophe for Ukrainian consumers but with a dearth of wheat around the world hunger will also cast its painful tentacles in near and distant towns. Russia knows how to create such a deadly famine. It did so in 1932-33 when it seized wheat from Ukrainian farmers and starved to death 7 million Ukrainian men, women and children. The only way to stop this from happening in 2022 is to defeat Russia now.
Captive Nations Proclamation 2022
Continuing a tradition begun by President Eisenhower in 1959, President Biden issued his proclamation recognizing the struggle of captive nations, which originally focused on Communist Russian subjugation but now on Putin Russian aggression. In the statement, Biden specifically referred to Ukraine by noting: “As Russia relentlessly wages its brutal and unprovoked war against the people of Ukraine, our Nation has led a global response to hold Russia accountable and denounce its inhumanity and its contempt for international law. We honor the valor and sacrifice of the people of Ukraine, who have reminded the world through their courage of the universal yearning for freedom. We will continue to stand with them as they defend their country, their liberty, and their democracy.”
Everyone wants Russia’s war against Ukraine to end soon and hopefully everyone wants Ukraine to defeat Russia. Only that outcome will save Ukraine, Europe and the world. So keep your eyes on the ball.