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REFLECTION

Two years on, it’s clear Russia will not stop at Ukraine – unless it is stopped

Two years on, it’s clear Russia will not stop at Ukraine – unless it is stopped
Illustrative image | People protesting against the Russian invasion of Ukraine display banners in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany on 24 February 2022. (Photo: Hannibal Hanschke / Getty Images)

If Ukraine falls then the world order will change, and it won’t be good. As I have heard many times in the past year, ‘the war can come to Poland as quickly as it came to Ukraine.’

Saturday, 24 February 2024, marked two years of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but the war started 10 years ago. And sadly, the free world still does not seem to get it. 

President Volodymyr Zelensky said this weekend, “Any normal person wants the war to end. But none of us will allow our Ukraine to end.”

russia ukraine

I often get asked how life is in Kyiv. It is not a simple answer. But for sure, life goes on. All seems okay, but just below the surface, there is so much pain, trauma, fear and anxiety. (Photo: Kateryna Mahera)

Everyone I know in Kyiv, and other parts of Ukraine, is doing all they can to help Ukraine win this war. 

It is shocking that after two years of the Russian invasion, the world has become complacent.

This war is now the new norm, and I believe that we are all going to pay a price for being so apathetic. If Ukraine falls (I don’t believe it will) the war will come to the rest of Europe.

I travel back and forth between Kyiv and Wroclaw (Poland) and when I am in Poland one of the most widespread anxieties is about the war coming there. As I have heard many times in the past year, “The war can come to Poland as quickly as it came to Ukraine.”

Vladimir Putin is pure evil and whoever thinks they can negotiate with the devil is just naïve.

The Russian regime hates the West, and it is Western arrogance that thinks there is room to negotiate with Putin. The one sure thing is that Russia will not stop unless it is stopped. The choice is ours. 

Ukrainian soldiers are running out of ammo, and the mood in Ukraine is anxious. 

The big question is: will America and the West let Ukraine fail? Is there the political will to help Ukraine win this war?

russia ukraine

A few weeks ago, we went to the movies and saw a funny film. That was on a Tuesday evening. The next day, early Wednesday morning, before the sun came up, 22 ballistic missiles were sent by Russia to Kyiv. It is scary, and yes, people died. And again, life goes on. But nothing is normal. (Photo: Kateryna Mahera)

I pray to God there is, but at the moment it does not feel like it. A lot of lip service and not enough action.

If Ukraine falls, the world order will change, and it won’t be good. 

Freedom does not come free

Everything that the prosperous West enjoys is built on the foundations of democracy and freedom. And this is something we have to fight for. Freedom does not come free, sadly.

Ukraine’s allies have way more resources and weaponry combined than Russia. Way, way more. If they wanted to truly arm Ukraine to win this war, it would have been over a long time ago. 

Ukrainians will fight to the end. That will never change. Too much has happened in 10 years, especially in the past two years. So much loss, pain, devastation. There is no desire to surrender. Not one bit.

And Russia is not changing its plans – it will not stop. 

It wants to wipe Ukraine from the Earth. 

The Ukrainians have no choice but to fight in a war they never wanted. 

No one in Ukraine understands the point of this war. Ukraine was on a good path, with all its problems and challenges. It should be allowed to continue.

Ukraine was growing and developing, and things were getting better year after year. It has a free press and a healthy democracy. 

russia ukraine

There is an attitude in Ukraine of “we will do it today.” Because no one knows what will happen tomorrow. (Photo: Kateryna Mahera)

This, of course, was seen as a threat by its manic neighbour, who, instead of adding to the world, simply wants to destroy it.

Russia has so many resources. Can you imagine a world where Russia added value and embraced freedom? But that is not going to happen. 

Support for Putin’s evil empire

The evil empire is on full display, and yet the free world still has lunatics like Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump who think Putin has a valid point.

What point does he have? He invaded Ukraine, and people are dying. For no good reason at all. Ukraine wants nothing more to do with Russia. There is nothing for Russia in Ukraine. Nothing.

We also need to understand something about Russia. There are many, many Russians who support the war. I am sure there are Russians who oppose the war, but where are these silent voices? Yes, Russians are okay with this war. If not, they would have done something about it.

And as for America and the West, what does it mean when Joe Biden says “as long as it takes”? WTF?! These words are almost meaningless. I never have understood the American political system, but it sounds dysfunctional – that one guy can hold up the process. 

If put to a vote, there seems to be no doubt it will go in Ukraine’s favour, but Trump (who is not the president) seems to wield more power than the actual president. I just don’t get it.

russia ukraine

(Photo: Kateryna Mahera)

Two years ago on Saturday, we woke up around 5am when the apartment building started shaking and the sound of explosions could be heard all over. That was the day our lives changed, and they will never be the same again. We have been living out of a suitcase since then, and the suitcase is not very big.

The world learnt during the pandemic that we don’t need a lot to live. A roof over our heads, a comfortable bed, a hot shower, food in the fridge… and, of course, health, love, family – and hope. The war has taken this all up a notch or two.

I know so many people who are living out of a suitcase because of this war, and, yes, it is not easy, but I still hear laughter. And hope is still there. 

Yes, we don’t need much to live. We do need hope, and a bit of inspiration. 

False promises, fickle friends

What we don’t need are false promises, fickle friends and anything to do with Donald Trump. Other things we don’t need include social media and Fox News.

The people I know in Ukraine have all become much more straightforward. That old expression of “say what you mean and mean what you say” is more and more the norm, and that is good.

And people appreciate what they have, and enjoy the moment. 

We don’t need to take photos on mobile phones of every experience – we are not all photographers. Life has become simpler since the war began, and the future is uncertain. 

What is for sure is that Ukraine will survive, and if I am wrong about this, then the world is going to hell.

I often get asked how life is in Kyiv. It is not a simple answer. But for sure, life goes on. All seems okay, but just below the surface, there is so much pain, trauma, fear and anxiety. 

russia ukraine

(Photo: Kateryna Mahera)

How does anyone plan for the future with so much uncertainty?

This is a brave country and everyone loves their homeland – I don’t know a single person who is not trying to help with the war effort. 

Of course, not everyone is a soldier, but everyone I know is either donating to the military, helping to raise money, getting involved with different charities, helping the army with logistics and supplies, crowdsourcing drones for the armed forces, or whatever else you can imagine.

These are not normal activities for countries that are not at war. So, yes, in Kyiv, life is different, but that does not mean you don’t hear laughter. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Movies, then missiles

A few weeks ago, we went to the movies and saw a funny film. That was on a Tuesday evening. The next day, early Wednesday morning, before the sun came up, 22 ballistic missiles were sent by Russia to Kyiv. It is scary, and yes, people died. And again, life goes on. But nothing is normal.

There is an attitude in Ukraine of “we will do it today.” Because no one knows what will happen tomorrow. 

Perhaps there is wisdom here for the world. And also, there is more laughter here than ever before. And love too. Yes, often it can be nervous laughter, but no one here has given up on living. Quite the opposite. People are getting married and having babies, and life continues.

russia ukraine

(Photo: Kateryna Mahera)

I have fewer friends these days. Since the start of the war, I have lost touch with many people I used to know. Most of my truest friends are here in Kyiv. Again, perhaps this is because of the war. Perhaps this trauma has brought everyone in Kyiv closer together.

Some jokes are going around, and a lot of commentary about the world at large and the dysfunction in America. As someone said to me the other day, when the bigger war comes to the rest of the world in the next couple of years, here in Ukraine everyone will be mentally ready and they will say to the West, “Welcome to the club.”

Realities

Americans seem to be out of touch with the realities in the rest of the world, or at least they don’t think they need to care, as whatever happens, it won’t affect them. This is very naïve, in my view. 

Have you seen what that lunatic Trump has been saying lately about Nato? Yup, that club is going to open up. Everyone will be joining in the not-so-distant future.

The Russians have set in motion a chain of events that cannot be stopped until they are stopped. The world can decide where to draw the line. Sadly, the world seems fast asleep.

russia ukraine

(Photo: Kateryna Mahera)

If Ukraine falls, Europe will have 30 million-plus refugees – people who don’t want to suffer the genocide that we all know takes place in the occupied territories.

It is looking more and more likely that Trump will be US president again. The West is taking freedom for granted. 

Ukraine has its internal problems and challenges, and they too have to make changes, but in the case of this war, Ukraine has the truth on its side.

The rest of the world, for some reason, doesn’t seem to know any more what the truth is.

I will end off with more words from President Zelensky who recently said, “Please do not ask Ukraine when the war will end. Ask yourself why Putin is still able to continue it.” DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Bennie Morani says:

    There is a very credible and balance alternative view of the war. Look up Anatol Lieven from the Quincy Institute. His view is that Ukraine cannot win the war, but that Russia is unable to conquer and rule Ukraine, and neither does it want direct military conflict with NATO. The consequence of these realities is that the eventual outcome must be a negotiated settlement, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the war. And the sooner this happens, the fewer lives will be lost.

    • John P says:

      However a negotiated settlement on Putin’s terms will, at best, mean all the occupied territories are lost to Russia. Within a few years Putin would then attack again and will not stop until Ukraine is no more.
      The West needs to grow some balls and back Ukraine 100% to ensure that Putin is stopped.

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