One year ago, on this date, Russia invaded Ukraine. Putin thought this would be a cakewalk. After all, Russia had invaded Georgia and Crimea, and the only consequences were bleatings from the West. Thanks to Putin’s friend, Donald Trump, NATO, and the West, were in disarray. Trump had done everything possible to diminish, even dismantle, NATO. There was distrust amongst western allies. Right wing populism was growing in Europe. Tucker Carlson was questioning why America should even bother with this. In early days, Trump was praising the genius of Putin. I still vividly remember the convoy of Russian tanks pouring down a main road, in Ukraine, with seeming impunity. Putin in fact said ‘what war”, instead calling the invasion a ‘special military operation’. Any protests in Russia were severely cracked down upon.
One year later, the vaunted Russian military machine is no longer feared. There are still constant air raid sirens in Kyiv, but the population, there, are treating the sirens as an annoyance. The West and NATO got together to impose harsh sanctions on Russia, Russian allies, and individuals/entities that are supporting Russia. In fact, the US imposed more sanctions, just today. What Trump almost tore down, Biden has put back together and made even stronger. The West is united against Putin. More countries are lining up to join NATO. Arms from the West are flowing to the Ukraine. Russia is pulling prisoners from Russian jails to get slaughtered on the front lines. Protests, within Russia are being conducted openly now. Putin is facing criticism, at home. The latest put down is the picture of a Russian MP with noodles hanging from his ear while watching a Putin speech. In Russia, that symbolizes that the person with the noodles believes that the speaker is lying.
At the same time, there have been over 650 documented incidents of war crimes committed by Russian military forces. Also, there are over 8.5 million refugees. An unknown number of Ukrainian lives have been lost in the greatest European land battle since WW2. Many, in the West, are saying that Russia has already lost. Russia says otherwise and the war and the tragedy of it continues. China has submitted a peace proposal which would favour Russia completely. It has already been dismissed out of hand. Meanwhile, Trump is saying that if he was President, there be would be peace in Ukraine. But his version of peace would be the same as Putin’s, with Ukraine being under Russian occupation.
This is a tragedy where there are no real winners. But, it would have been far worse, for democracy, if the West and the brave people of Ukraine had not stood up to the tyrant, Putin.