Everyone knows that the referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine were staged by heavily armed Russian forces, supported by Russian propaganda and lies. We know it. The whole world knows it. And, of course, Russian terrorists know it. Their attempts to save face are becoming more and more laughably pathetic.
There are multiple videos of the police and military harassing people for playing Ukrainian songs, speaking Ukrainian, writing pro-Ukrainian posts, wearing blue and yellow, and so on. Last week we saw an example that showcased Russia’s failure to annihilate all things Ukrainian even when they have been trying their utmost to do so for almost a decade.
Last week, popular Russian Telegram channels were posting videos spewing hate and angrily demanding “Justice for Russia!”
These temper tantrums were triggered by a Crimean teenage boy. The video that made them completely lose their minds showed two young boys walking near the coast in temporarily occupied Yalta when a reporter approached them and asked if they were afraid of a Ukrainian counteroffensive. One of the boys — both are high school students — gave a big smile to the camera and said: “We stand for Ukraine!”
That was it.
The boys then walked away. That was enough for the Russian officials and propaganda to go into meltdown. I just hope and pray that the boys weren’t harmed or tortured. The teenager who made the comment was captured and transported to a police station where he was forced to make a video apology to Putin.
In that video, we see a very scared and distressed child apologising to Putin and the Russians for what he said. Russian propagandists wrote that the boy “has come to understand his mistake” and that everything that happened to him should be a lesson to others.
Furthermore, the entire official Russian propaganda machine was posting “news”.
“The perpetrator was detained and accused of discrediting the Russian Federation Armed Forces under Part 1 of Art. 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation. The Yalta City Court fined him 40,000 rubles,” reported one Russian outlet.
Just so you understand the frustration, anger and very real feeling of defeat Russia is experiencing, you need to understand the following: Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and it’s been arresting, torturing, killing and destroying everything Ukrainian on the peninsula for more than nine years.
It has moved almost a million Russian citizens to Ukraine to wipe out anything Ukrainian that was left there, as many Ukrainians fled the occupied territory. Nearly 10 years of oppression have turned the peninsula into a militarily-infested zone, where Russia brainwashes people and indoctrinates schoolchildren by teaching them made-up history.
The Russian regime gave all it had for this teenage boy — who was a seven-year-old kid when the annexation happened — to grow up hating Ukrainians and be ready and willing to die for Putin’s regime.
But instead, he was unafraid after almost a decade of very expensive brainwashing paid for by Russia, smiling and saying right into the camera that no, he isn’t afraid of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, because he stands with Ukraine — meaning Russian terrorists need to leave his home.
We fear for this child and his parents because we’ve found torture chambers that Russian murderers used in Kherson for children and teenagers, so we know what they are capable of doing. That is why we constantly ask all of our people to be very careful.
We’ve endured too many tragedies in the past 15 months. Russian terrorists murdered so many of our people and we just want everyone to stay safe until Ukrainian armed forces clear the occupiers off our land.
Every time I watch our news, I react not as an ambassador, but as a mom, as a daughter, as a wife. I watch these inhuman acts of daily torture of our people unfold and I feel helpless.
Last week, when Russian terrorists aimed their missiles at a supermarket and a railway station in Kherson, killing 23 and heavily injuring 46, my heart broke into a thousand pieces.
Looking at the photos of Khersonians who would never walk out of that supermarket, the white tile floors covered with blood, I, like all Ukrainians, was overwhelmed by unimaginable grief. All of those people killed by Russian missiles while shopping had their whole lives ahead of them…
The next day, after the bloodiest terrorist attack since our military freed part of Kherson from the Russians, Lviv was welcoming a train from Kherson. It came right on schedule. Ukrzaliznytsia’s train #109, which had marks from the shelling, was welcomed by applause from railway workers and residents. One of the conductors was wounded, though police quickly stopped the bleeding with a tourniquet and he is in a stable condition in a hospital.
This is why we will prevail. Because after nine years of brainwashing, our kids without fright or hesitation state: “We stand with Ukraine!” and our trains arrive on time after the bloodiest terrorist strike.
Our hearts are broken, but not our spirits. And I proudly say: “Glory to Ukrainian heroes!” DM