The Ukraine, a sovereign nation has been invaded by Russia, one of the most powerful countries in the world. The images of war are presented on televisions, phones and computers throughout the world, and the world has responded in horror.
To date, 63 civilians have lost their lives and over 200 injured. The resistance and outrage being expressed is encouraging. In Moscow over 1,700 people have protested President Vladamir Putin’s action by demonstrating in the streets. Reports have stated that all have been arrested and protests have been squelched. A Ukrainian woman stood up to a soldier and offered him “sunflower seeds to put in his pockets,” so when he died, flowers would grow from his grave.
On conservative opinion pages and news shows some demagogues are taking the lead from former President Trump, praising the boldness of Putin in asserting his strength. To his credit, Mitt Romney equated this form of praise with “treason.” He knows that the actions that have been taken by Putin have compromised not only Ukraine but other powers in the region. He is aware of the fact that Russia has consistently demonstrated Russian aggression and is willing to retake countries that were lost when the fall of the Soviet Union ended the Cold War.
We’ve looked the other way when Putin was poisoning his strong opposition Alexie Navalny. A lawyer, opposition leader and advocate for rooting out corruption. We’ve watched Putin overtake countries like Georgia, Chechnya, and since 2014 the occupation of Crimea and the city of Svastopol. According to UN data, “over 1.4 million citizens are already internally displaced due to the Crimean situation and Donbas.”
The UN reports, “since 2014 the UN Security Council has conducted over 40 meetings discussing the issue of Russian aggression against Ukraine. In February 2015 it adopted Resolution 2202 that endorsed the “Package of measure for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” call on all parties (including the Russian Federation) to fully implement them, including a comprehensive ceasefire as provided for therein.”
Reports from the Vatican stated that Pope Francis broke diplomatic protocol by marching to the Russian embassy to personally speak with the Russian ambassador outraged over the Russian takeover. The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the US, Archbishop Borys Gudziak has called on citizens to hold commentators like Tucker Carlson and “those who praise Putin” accountable for their misguided views. Carlson has claimed Ukraine is not a democracy.
The chaos that’s been created has inspired businesses and citizens to stand up and let their voices be heard. I live in a neighborhood that is heavily Ukrainian. Churches here have been filled and people have joined in demonstrations in front of churches this past Sunday. Horns honked as congregants sang Ukrainian folk songs and held up posters in support of their native land.
Posts have gone out to raise money to support Ukrainian efforts. This Russian aggression is not lost on companies like BP (British Petroleum) that announced that they would be breaking ties with the Russian gas company Rosneft, a relationship that has garnered billions of dollars for the company as well as the Russian Republic.
The question that is constantly asked is what does Putin have to gain by imposing this naked aggression on this country. The answer comes back that he will ultimately lose in the end. The response I most often hear is he wants to reclaim his place in history for taking back what was theirs and showing the power and might of the Russian Republic.
It is a losing proposition. Solidarity was responsible for the movement in Poland. It brought down the walls of Eastern Germany and whatever happens in Ukraine it is a losing proposition to Putin in the eyes of the world. He greatly miscalculated his ability to persuade others that he was right and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine is wrong. There is nothing about the Ukrainian government that would suggest Nazi sympathies.
As I reflect on the United States right now, I think of the seeds of discord and lack of unity that have been sown. The infiltration of Russia and its influence in sowing these seeds through misinformation and meddling in our elections. When people support a man who supports Putin because of his strength, it gives you pause. I wonder if the United States would stand in solidarity if we were to come to blows with a power taking us over, because it sure doesn’t look like it right now.
Ultimately, solidarity in asserting the truth is the key to liberation from the aggressive powers that claim to corner the market in truth.