Yes, I know, the West has sent weapons. But we did so in dribbles. What we provided was never quite what Kyiv asked for, nor was what we sent ever delivered when it was needed the most. It seems as if the game plan was to give just enough to make sure the Ukrainians didn't lose but never enough to let them win.
Meanwhile, as the West dithered, the once-fertile fields of Ukraine, historically known as the "breadbasket of Europe," became a Golgotha, a place of skulls. Despite this contemporary crucifixion, the brave men and women of Ukraine's military have expunged over 225,000 Russian conscripts, convicts, and mercenaries from Ukrainian lands. That's more than the total number of active soldiers in the armed forces of Great Britain. Or of France. Or Germany.
The West should be grateful. The Ukrainians are neutering Muscovy. Yet Ukraine's request for NATO membership has been blackballed. President Volodymyr Zelensky called it correctly when he described this decision to again leave Ukraine out of NATO as "absurd."
Actually, it was more than that – it was purblind. Placating Russian President Vladimir Putin never has, and never will, secure the peace of Europe. Put simply, Putin needs to be liquidated, along with his confederates. Whether that happens on the gibbet, of course after a fair trial at The Hague, or courtesy of a 9mm bullet to the back of his head, doesn't matter either to me or anyone I know.
But that won't be enough. Not only must the invading Russians be swept out of Ukraine – and, yes, that includes Crimea – but all those misfits and assorted other vandals who have soiled Ukraine by torturing prisoners, raping women, kidnapping children, despoiling the environment and laying waste to the country's cities – must be brought to justice. Or else they can continue to be added to Ukraine's black soil, to rot into chornozem. That's OK too.
Meanwhile, Russian assets abroad should be seized, and all that ill-gained loot used to fund Ukraine's post-war reconstruction.
That's still not enough. The Russian imperial project must be emasculated. That should begin with the erasure of Kaliningrad and the undoing of the so-called "Transnistrian Republic" – no Russian exclaves should be left anywhere in Europe. Formerly east Prussian lands can be divided between Poland and Lithuania, even as Moldova is reconstituted. Any Russians left in these non-Russian lands must be given safe passage back to their Russian Mir.
That includes the thousands whom I call Yellow Russians, the ones who fled Putin's paradise in recent months rather than being press-ganged into his legions. We don't need them anywhere in the civilized world. If they don't like what they find in "Mother Russia," they should stage a real Russian Revolution. One is long overdue.
Ukrainians had the Orange Revolution in 2004 and a Revolution of Dignity in 2014 and so finally freed themselves from the Russian yoke. Their sacrifices then, and ever-since, are also why Ukraine returned to the Free World while Russia has not (and probably never will) since most Russians support the KGB man in the Kremlin. And if the majority like being ruled by their corrupt, venal, and murderous Tsar, who am I to deny them that?
While we are engaged in a geopolitical redesign of Eastern Europe, we might also give Finland back the 197.7 km corridor the Soviets seized after the Second World War. It currently links Russia with Norway. We don't want the Russians accessing northern Europe, especially now that the Baltic Sea has become a NATO lake.
Indeed, a cordon sanitaire needs to be imposed around whatever is left of the so-called Russian Federation after this war is over. Russia's unprovoked aggression places it "beyond the Pale," where it can wallow for a very, very long time. The West has no need of any Russian rump.
Provided with more weapons, Ukraine will, someday, win this war. But given what they have already sacrificed in blood, sweat and tears, I don't think they will ever again be as naive as they were in Budapest, in 2008, when they believed Ukraine's territorial integrity and political sovereignty were "guaranteed" by the US, UK (and, yes, even the Russian Federation). For that promise they gave up their nuclear arsenal. They know better now.
And they just heard, in Vilnius, that Ukraine's invitation to join the Alliance will come only "when Allies agree, and conditions are met." I hope they understood what that really means. Kyiv must rebuild Ukraine's armaments industry, including an indigenous capacity for producing tactical nuclear weapons, of course only for self-defense. They have no other choice (short of kowtowing to Moscow's genocidal agenda). Don't believe me? Just ask Israel, a state well-prepared to stand alone against all its foes, if it must.
Let us pray that Ukraine's Moses, President Zelensky, has the fortitude, vision, and courage to lead his people safely through the wilderness and to the promised land where they can protect themselves when their "friends" fail to. Ukrainians have already bled enough for ungrateful others.
The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.
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