“One death is a tragedy: one million deaths are a statistic.”-Josef Stalin
On February 24, Russia launched a devastating attack on Ukraine, a European democracy of 44 million people, prompting a mass exodus of refugees.
For months prior to the invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied he would invade his neighbor.
In a pre-dawn TV address on February 24, Putin declared Russia could not feel “safe, develop and exist” because of what he claimed was a constant threat from modern Ukraine.
Immediately, airports and military headquarters in Ukraine were attacked. Tanks and troops rolled in from Russia and warplanes bombed major Ukrainian cities.
Reaction Of The West
NATO countries have provided weapons to Ukraine and the European Union (EU), for the first time in its history, is buying and sending arms to Ukraine.
The contribution to Ukraine made by President Biden has dwarfed the contributions of other European countries.
So far, Biden has committed $54 billion to Ukraine assistance while Germany, France and other European countries have committed only a fraction of that amount of aid.
Russia will no more tolerate the expansion of NATO up to its border than the United States would tolerate Russian missiles in Mexico.
Down to the last days before the invasion, there was hope things might quickly de-escalate.
This de-escalation might have happened if Ukraine had pledged never to join NATO. However, all during the Russian troop build-up crisis, NATO leadership was pushing Ukraine to hold a firm public line that they were seeking NATO membership.
Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia. On May 15, they announced they would apply for membership in NATO.
Russia’s economy will shrink by about 8 percent this year, not the 50 percent predicted by Biden. Russia is making more money from enery exports than ever.
Russia’s military is running an efficient war of attrition in Eastern Ukraine, which Ukraine, with fewer resources, cannot win.
Putin had hoped for a decisive win, within days of the February 24 invasion. What he is getting is more like the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1979, a brutal mess.
Philip Breedlove, a retired U.S. general who led NATO in Europe from 2013 to 2016, says what Putin wants on Russia’s periphery is “Weapons out and no America. What has happened is Putin is getting exactly what he did not want, more weapons and more America.”
Photo by Stephen Hayto