The celebrated veteran foreign affairs columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Trudy Rubin, spent three weeks in Ukraine this summer and has just shared her views on what the war looks like from the ground and what Kyiv needs to win.
As I left Odesa by train to the Polish border, I carried with me an overwhelming respect for the valor of Ukrainian civilians, and the daring of its army. Even though many people are fearful about the future, they block out those long-term concerns and focus on the near.
And those in safer parts of the country try to help those displaced from hot zones.
They recognize this is an existential battle they can’t afford to lose, against an enemy that wants to destroy them.
Yet, as I saw and heard, this enemy can be pushed back only if the United States and Europe hold firm and send Ukraine critical weapons that the West is still withholding — from a misplaced fear of provoking Putin further. Such timidity only feeds Putin’s aggression. Ukrainians still fear Western leaders will give them only enough for a stalemate, which will leave them with a physically destroyed and economically unviable country, in which Russia controls their sea coast and a huge swathe of their territory.
As they told me over and over, there is only one way to stop Putin’s aggression: disabuse him of his belief that a weak West will let him expand the Russian empire by force and compel him to find excuses for a pullback. It was very painful to leave Ukraine and its courageous people, and wonder when, or if, Western leaders would give them the weapons to win.
See the entire article in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.
See the video of Trudy Rubin’s conversation on this topic with Jim Friedlich, CEO of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, on Friday, Sept. 16, here.
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