Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 10.12.2017
Russia has been invading Europe in Ukraine for 3 years, 9 months, 20 days. Putin’s army has not given up any of the territory it has gained since the Battle of Debaltseve in January-February 2015. Russia has not respected a single provision of the Minsk Agreements, such as a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons, and returning control of the international border. Russia attacks Ukrainian defenders and civilians every day and every night. Over 10,000 innocent civilians have been killed in Putin’s War, including 298 people who were aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 that Russian armed forces shot down. Over 1.5 million Europeans who are Ukrainian citizens have been made homeless by Putin’s War, and their suffering is ignored. Putin is at war with the West, and he has no intention of ever reducing the violence of his relentless assault on Ukraine.
US Special Representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, has been meeting with Vladislav Surkov. Surkov is one of Putin’s “grey cardinals” and is a war criminal sanctioned by the US, the EU, Canada, and other countries for his part in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Mr. Volker said on December 9 that Russia “hasn’t decided” on the withdrawal of its troops from Donbas, and he believes that it is unlikely Russia will get out of that part of Ukraine soon. He also said that he sees no possibility of a UN peacekeeping mission.
Russia is invading Ukraine, occupies Crimea and parts of Donbas, and refuses to leave. Russia continues to attack every day and every night. Russia violates every provision of the Minsk Agreements: the ceasefires, the heavy weapons withdrawal provisions, and the international border supervision requirements. Russia rejects UN peacekeeping. By every measure, Russia is at war. A state of war exists between Russia that is attacking its neighbour in Crimea and Donbas and Ukraine that is defending its integral territory – its homeland. Other Western countries are silent about Russia’s invasion of Europe in Ukraine or they using mealy-mouthed euphemisms for it. This only serves to goad Putin into further acts of aggression and tends to demoralizes Ukraine, Europe’s sole defender.
Ukraine is in a life or death struggle. Ukraine must defeat the Russian invasion, or it will perish. Ukraine must liberate Crimea and Donbas, or it will cease to be sovereign. Over 1.5 million “internally displaced persons” – Ukrainians who are refugees in their own country because of Putin’s War – have waited more than three years for victory over Russia and a return to their homes. Over 2,330 Ukrainian servicemen and servicewomen have been killed defending Europe from the onslaught whose source is Muscovy. No Ukrainian forgets that at the time of the victory of the Revolution of Dignity in February 2014 Ukraine was a whole country, from Kyiv to Sevastopol, from Luhansk to Uzhhorod. After all that they have been through, only a whole Ukraine, free of foreign Muscovy invaders, is an acceptable end state for the Ukrainian people.
Ukraine and other Western countries have already stated the obvious, which is that Russia is the aggressor. It is time to declare that a state of war exists between Russia and Ukraine, and to make and carry out a plan for victory over Russia. The post-Second World War international order will not survive if Russia’s change of borders by conquest is not reversed. Defeating Russia will not only save Ukraine, but it will save the West.