Thursday, June 30, 2022

In aftermath of Russia’s Bombing of Civilians, Zelenskyy Asks UN: ‘Why?’

Russia has continued its murder of Ukrainian men, women and children for more than four months. Some have explained this deadly, criminal onslaught as Moscow’s retribution for the free world’s support for Ukraine, for the G7 and NATO’s commitment to help Ukraine fight Russian invaders as long as it takes.

While some news media focus on covering Russia’s war in Ukraine by citing Moscow officials and Ukraine’s losses, others do report on Ukrainian victories, destruction of Russian tanks and artillery, and elimination of Russian invaders.

However, none can overlook the massive killing of innocent civilians, going about their daily chores in the midst of Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy again brought Ukraine’s case against Russia to the United Nations on June 28 by asking why Russia is still allowed to take a seat in the hallowed halls of the Security Council and General Assembly while its hands are covered with Ukrainian blood and its mouths are filled with ludicrous denials of its complicity.

Indeed. How can the free world and a few neutral countries share the same space with a cold-blooded murder and rapist and not feel any qualms, anger or hatred?

Zelenskyy reproached the UN member-states for tolerating the presence of Russia in the world body. He said the representative of “a terrorist state, Russia (purposefully written in the lower case) “and this flag do not deserve to be among you, as there are no representatives of other terrorists among you.”

The Ukrainian delegation has on numerous occasions raised the point that terrorist Russia should not be a member of the United Nations and that, formally, Russia was never accepted as a member-state.

While noting that there is no UN legal definition of “terrorist state” accepted by all members, Zelenskyy accused Russia of behaving in such a manner. “But this war that Russia is waging against Ukraine demonstrates not only the meaning of this notion, but also the urgent need to enshrine it legally - at the United Nations level - and to punish any terrorist state,” he said.

The Ukrainian president cited the following recent examples of bloodshed against Ukrainian civilians:

• Take a look at the events of just a few days in Ukraine – a few of the 125 days of Russia’s full-scale war of aggression against our state. On Saturday, June 25, 62 Russian missiles hit our cities. On Sunday, June 26, 10 more missiles. In particular, one of them - on a residential complex in the capital of our state, in Kyiv. Three floors of the house were destroyed. Another rocket exploded in the yard of an ordinary kindergarten.

• On Monday - June 27 - a missile strike on Kremenchuk. The person who gave the order could not have been unaware that he was directing the rocket to the regular shopping center - one of many shopping malls that exist in any country in the world. The list of dead 18 people - as of this hour, there may be, unfortunately, more; more than 50 people were injured, dozens more - on the list of missing persons.

• Yesterday, the Russian army also struck civilians standing in line for water with rocket artillery. It was in the city of Lysychansk, Luhansk region. Ordinary people. None of them were military. Just a line, waiting for water! Eight people were killed, including a 15-year-old boy named Danilo. The oldest among the dead was 68 years old. And I want you to hear now the names of four women killed by this blow: Victoria, Irina, Elena and Lyudmila.

• Kharkiv sustains severe russian strikes almost on a daily basis. Only yesterday, 9 people were killed and 29 were wounded, including five children. I want you to know their names: Oleh, 8 years old; Hryhoriy, 9 years old; Artem, 10 years old; Mykhailo, 11 years old; Hlib, 12 years old. It was a russian artillery strike at ordinary residential buildings.

• Today at 5 A.M. Russian army struck Mykolayiv and the city of Ochakiv, Mykolayiv region. In Ochakiv three people were killed. A 6-year-old girl named Eva. A man named Magomet was 76 years old. And a woman named Galyna, 50 years old. Among the wounded –a child, a boy, he is only 3 months old, he was born after the beginning of this full-scale Russian invasion, his name is Volodymyr, and his condition is very heavy - he is in intensive care. Once again: a child, a 3-month-old child.

• Two more missiles hit the city of Slavyansk in the Donbas, in the long-suffering Donbas, which Russia has been mocking since 2014. 2 Russian missiles struck the Odesa region just a few hours before my address to you, to the UN Security Council. There has been a strike at Dnipro, a city in central Ukraine. One of the missiles destroyed a car maintenance station – not a military station, but a regular car service ...

Zelenskyy asked: “And I have a question for you, ladies and gentlemen: ‘Who does NOT agree that this is terrorism?’ If in any part of the world any organization, just as Russia kills Ukrainians, would kill any peaceful civilians, it would definitely be recognized as terrorism. Such an organization would become an enemy to all humankind. Therefore, what is punished at the level of concrete criminals and criminal organizations should not go unpunished for a state that has become a terrorist.”

The Ukrainian commander in chief, who has inspired not only his nation to fight for their country but also the international community to support Ukraine’s righteous battle, told the diplomatic audience that the members of the UN Security Council, according to the UN Charter have “the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.”

However, Russia has miserably failed in this mandate.

“Although Russia violates the fundamental principles of the United Nations and the international legal order, it has not yet been held accountable at the global level. This country still remains present in the UN bodies and even enjoys the privileges of the seat it holds - the seat of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which Russia holds only because of the short-sightedness of Cold War-era politicians,” Zelenskyy said.

The UN must do everything in its power to stop Russia from murdering Ukrainians, Zelenskyy urged.

“Russia must be brought to justice for terrorism, otherwise it can expand terrorist activity to other European and Asian countries – the Baltic States, Poland, Moldova, Kazakhstan – many nations have heard threats from Russian officials and state-affiliated propagandists,” he continued.

The UN already has a “toolbox” with which it can deal with terrorists like Russia, so it must take advantage of it, Zelenskyy said.

“It is necessary to deprive the Russian delegation of the opportunity to manipulate the UN. It is necessary to make it impossible for Russia to stay in the Security Council as long as its terror continues. It is mandatory to create a Tribunal to investigate everything that the Russian military has done against Ukrainians. And it is necessary to give a legal definition of the term ‘state terrorism’ at the UN level. All of Russia’s actions must receive a legal assessment - and global sanctions for disrupting the international legal order,” he concluded.

How can the United Nations claim to support global peace, security and development when its member-states collectively and some individually shun their responsibility to fulfill that mandate? Expel Russia from all UN bodies and agencies.

Monday, June 13, 2022

The Dangers of Boredom due to ‘Long-Drawn Trials’

Winston Churchill’s salient quote about finishing the job during World War Two has been making the rounds recently. And rightly so.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and other Kyiv officials have been imploring the free world to give the Armed Forces of Ukraine weapons, with which, they believe, they can defend themselves but also defeat Russia. Esprit de corps they have in abundance. The latter goal is believed to be the guarantee of regional and global peace and stability.

“Give us the tools, and we will finish the job,” Britain’s wartime prime minister said on February 9, 1941.

I decided to research this quote, not that I doubted anyone, but to ascertain his other pearls of wisdom. Indeed, in the rather lengthy missive, Churchill wrote in the final paragraph:

“Give us your faith and your blessing, and, under Providence, all will be well. We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.”

Yes, the tools – the arms – that Britain and the allies needed to defeat Hitler’s Nazi Germany were important. And the free world gave them the tools. Today, a wide range of arms, delivered in quick sequences, are also needed for Ukraine to defeat Putin’s Russia.

But in Churchill’s admonition, there are other words that are also vital in helping Ukraine and the free world defeat Russia’s blundering but massive military: “Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down.”

Those words boil down to staying the course, discipline, not being disillusioned by battles, believing in the mission and the outcome, evading frustration, boredom and exhaustion.

On September 20, 2016, I wrote in my blog that the free world’s boredom will be its and Ukraine’s downfall – Russia’s war against Ukraine that precipitated its seizure and occupation of Crimea and two eastern Ukrainian oblasts had entered its 31st month. Europe and the free world were showing more and more signs of frustration, boredom and exhaustion.

Today, less than fourth months after Russia again invaded Ukraine some 110 days ago there are also signs of boredom and exasperation that lead to ridiculous conclusions. Sadly, interest in the war against Ukraine is waning among people who are used to quick, happy endings.

Russia is continuing its unsustainable military campaign against sovereign Ukraine with its disillusioned regular army as well as its murderous mercenaries. Moscow is pursuing its latest display of unbounded imperialism as it strives to annihilate all elements of Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation. However, nothing is working as quickly and effectively as Putin had hoped for so the Russian war drags on. Cities and towns are destroyed, civilians are killed, women and girls are raped, and more than 7 million Ukrainians have been turned into refugees. Russia’s goal is not re-subjugation but rather extermination.

First Weeks of War

In the early weeks of the war, the mainstream American and non-American media genuinely showed interest in the war and Ukraine’s fate. They sent reporters to Ukraine and from broadcast centers in Lviv covered the bombings and battles and expressed surprise at the Kyiv’s ability to withstand Moscow’s military machine. They saw an attention-grabbing David vs. Goliath or good-against-evil story. Week after week, with the proliferation of reporters in Ukraine and the growing impatience of news producers and editors demanding new angles, the stories began to reflect Moscow’s claims or unnamed sources rather than Kyiv’s statistics or points of view. For example, while Kyiv reports that a dozen Russian generals have been killed in the war – a record for such a short time – the outside world reports that only four have been killed, “according to unnamed sources.” Or they simply overlook major victories because of their astonishment. The incredulous press covered the infamous 40-mile long tank column that was heading to Kyiv for days and days only to be destroyed by Ukrainian troops along with the daily coverage.

One major drawback faced by the foreign press covering the war is ignorance. Lack of knowledge about the players in Ukraine, the terrain, the language, a basic who’s who, which means that accessing and interpreting accounts of what is happening is challenging. Consequently, the reporters, who need to file stories regularly, go to official sources. The lack of subject matter experts has also led to some confusing or misleading journalism.

At an online seminar on this topic in London, reported, Dr Laura Pérez Rastrilla from Complutense University, Madrid, “noted that many Spanish media commentators were not experts on the Ukrainian language, culture or society. In many cases, ‘experts’ mispronounce city names. She questioned whether news audiences have been getting the most reliable information.”

For Ukrainian journalist Nataliya Humenyuk participating in this event, the biggest mistakes made by international media came during the years before the war, either through limited or misinformed reporting on Ukrainian issues. She also said that from her perspective, the “most untold story” from the war was the continuation of many elements of society alongside the conflict – in other words “life goes on.” It is enough to look at figures from border crossings which have shown that in recent weeks, more people have returned to Ukraine than have left the country as the situation returns to fragile stability, particularly in Kyiv, she said.

“There is still a functioning parliament and civil society, with political diversity. It is still an extremely functioning society even during war and this is the most untold and covered story,” said Humenyuk.

She said that these forgotten perspectives were crucial to Ukrainians who do not want to be portrayed only as victims and who want solidarity rather than compassion.

The sheer shock of Ukrainian soldiers’ ability to stop the marauding, massive Russian army, once regarded to be number two in the world, has left producers, editors, generals and government officials scratching their heads. Reporting about the unimaginable has contributed to disbelief and doubt in the minds of news consumers, whose attention span can be counted in minutes if the stories disappear.

Over the past almost four months, Ukrainian soldiers and people have thwarted Putin’s effort to topple their government, execute their leaders, seize Kyiv and occupy much of the country. Much to the chagrin of Moscow and surprise of Washington and London, Zelenskyy didn’t turn tail and run, leaving his people to fight for themselves. He became the historic national leader at a desperate time – a 21st century Winston Churchill, as he mobilizes his nation to fight the Russian aggressor and rallies the free world to Ukraine’s cause.

But the world maybe tiring of having to deal with Ukraine. Russia’s war against Ukraine has tested European leaders’ patience beyond their limited thresholds of tolerance. However, the free world’s irrepressible, gaping yawn will endanger Ukraine but it will also pave the way to Europe’s demise at the hands of a belligerent Russia.

Former US secretary of State Henry Kissinger was the first to astonish many when he urged a couple of weeks ago that the outcome of Russo-Ukraine War must not humiliate Putin and Russia. A chastened Russian fuhrer may launch nuclear missiles against everyone. Others have blatantly opined that Kyiv should surrender its eastern territory to Moscow in an effort to quench its imperial aggression.

Ukraine fatigue and let’s resolve this at all costs is collectively dangerous. This perilous attitude from Ukraine’s fair-weather free world allies will merely lead to ongoing strife, insecurity, instability and wars like in the Middle East. Feeding this hungry bear will only make it hungrier.

No Return to Normal

As for those that want to resume so-called normal relations and not to humiliate Putin and Russia, Linas Linkevičius, former Lithuanian minister of foreign affairs and a staunch supporter of Ukraine, has been an outspoken critic of the free world’s political myopia. In an article in EurActiv he chastised the free world for paying too much attention to not provoking Russia. Linkevičius warned about the dangers of acting in a “pragmatic and responsible manner” with Russia, which will not bear the expected fruit.

“With Russian actions in Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, areas of the sovereign country were occupied. The protests of the international community, NATO and the EU were forgotten within several months and the ‘pragmatic and responsible’ position had the upper hand, i.e. cooperation with Russia was going on as usual. Russia did not ask for anything; it was the West that took the role as usual because ‘isolation is harmful, not profitable,’ etc.,” Linkevičius wrote.

Polish President Andrzej Duda, another ardent ally of Ukraine, reproached the doubters who favor discussions by asking would they have supported negotiating with Adolph Hitler.

The war is not over so the free world must continue to ensure that the Kremlin’s aggression fails and that Ukrainian army forces a Russian retreat and achieves victory over Moscow. Defeat of Russia is the only guarantee for regional and global peace and stability.

Battles now rage in the northeastern part of Ukraine from around the country’s second city of Kharkiv, continue through separatist-held cities of Donetsk and Luhansk and reach westward to Kherson, forming a land bridge linking the peninsula of Crimea with the Donbas region. The fighting is intense with Ukrainian soldiers are engaged in village to village, street to street battles against Russian invaders. The war in Donbas is becoming a prolonged bloody war of attrition which, according to news rooms, is boring. Recent fighting has focused around Severodonetsk, which means North Donetsk, an industrial city. The status of victories changes quickly with the news media unable to stay on top of current conditions but strangely they always report that the Russians have seized one town or another, rarely stating that Ukrainian soldiers have re-captured a town, or destroyed a garrison, or overrun an enemy battalion. But Newsweek did so recently: “Missiles Rain down on Russian Tank Column.”

Putin’s plans for a victory parade in Kyiv have evaporated. The morale of the Ukrainian nation did not dissipate and is as strong as ever. Zelenskyy is rallying the nation and visiting the wounded. Ukrainian troops, equipped with modern anti-tank weaponry delivered by the US and its allies, have devastated Russian armored columns; Ukrainian missiles sank the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, the pride of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet; and Ukrainian aircraft stayed in the air, against the odds. Exciting events that were underplayed. Still some media outlets, feigning neutrality, objectivity and equal time, have been citing Russian sources in their news reports.

Russia’s offensive and Ukraine’s defense in the east is playing out as international media attention on Ukraine recedes somewhat from the headlines. Thankfully, the Ukrainian flag still appears on every page one of The New York Post. And, ironically, short of an elusive Russian victory, Putin is counting on the world getting tired of the war and focusing on inflation, the price of gasoline or other shortages. He may also be counting on short diplomatic attention spans.

It should be noted that a victory will give Putin the opportunity to fulfill what Soviet Communists and tsars failed to accomplish – destruction of the Ukrainian nation, seizure of Ukrainian land and global domination.

The US and its allies have given billions of dollars in weapons to Ukraine. Europe has taken in millions of people displaced by the war. And despite some malcontents, there has been unprecedented unity in post-World War II Europe in imposing sanctions on Putin, his junta and Russia. But as good as sanctions are they’re insufficient and unity is fraying.

No War-Fatigue Compromise

President Zelenskyy has chafed at Western suggestions he should accept some sort of compromise. Ukraine, he said, would decide its own terms for peace. His wife, Olena Zelenska, told Robin Roberts of ABC’s Good Morning America that surrendering Ukrainian territory would be like surrendering freedom.

“The fatigue is growing, people want some kind of outcome (that is beneficial) for themselves, and we want (another) outcome for ourselves,” Zelenskyy said.

French President Emmanuel Macron was met with an angry backlash after saying that although Putin’s invasion was a “historic error,” world powers shouldn’t “humiliate Russia, so when the fighting stops, we can build a way out together via diplomatic paths.” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said such talk “can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it.”

European leaders’ palpable fear of Putin will result in a global catastrophe of an ongoing war that would destabilize the region for generations.

Fortunately, the United States is firmly in Ukraine’s corner. In a New York Times essay on May 31, President Biden assured Kyiv, “I will not pressure the Ukrainian government — in private or public — to make any territorial concessions.”

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds into its fourth month, officials in Kyiv have expressed fears that “war fatigue” could erode the West’s so far unified resolve to help Ukraine push back Moscow’s aggression and perhaps even defeat it. Russia is showing signs that it quietly recognizes its military inferiority and is determined to wear down the West. It is now building its strategy on the assumption that Western countries will get tired and gradually begin to change their militant rhetoric to a more accommodating one.

In the face of that, the free world must stay the course in supporting Ukraine not only for the country’s sake but for the free world’s as well.

More than 30 of America’s experts and national security professionals issued a joint statement earlier this month on this topic.

“Over the past three months, the Ukrainians have thwarted Vladimir Putin’s effort to topple their duly elected government, take Kyiv and occupy much of the country. The battle is not over, however, so the West must continue to help ensure that the Kremlin’s aggression fails and that Ukraine forces a Russian withdrawal or achieves a negotiated outcome on terms acceptable to Ukrainians,” they wrote.

The group includes:

General Philip Breedlove, US Air Force, Retired; 17th Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Distinguished Professor, Sam Nunn School, Georgia Institute of Technology;

Ian Brzezinski, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO Policy;

General Wesley K. Clark, US Army, Retired; 12th Supreme Allied Commander, Europe; Senior Fellow, UCLA Burkle Center;

Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, US Department of State;

Natalie A. Jaresko, Former Minister of Finance of Ukraine; Chairperson, Aspen Institute Kyiv; Distinguished Fellow, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council;

Nadia McConnell, President, US-Ukraine Foundation;

Ambassador Michael McFaul, Former US Ambassador to Russia; Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University;

Ambassador Kurt Volker, Former US Ambassador to NATO and US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations; Distinguished Fellow, Center for European Policy Analysis;

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Former US Ambassador to Ukraine; and others.

“No one wants direct confrontation with Russia, but helping Ukraine to defend its land and freedom is in the West’s security interest. While the United States and NATO must certainly take into account Russian nuclear capacity, they should respond calmly and not be intimidated.

“This unjustified war has a clear aggressor — Russia — and a clear victim — Ukraine. The West should aim to see that the Kremlin’s aggression fails and that Ukraine prevails on the battlefield or achieves an outcome that Kyiv can accept,” they concluded.

Yes, Ukraine needs tools from all of its allies to finish the job – the job of saving Ukraine and defeating Russia. But that will be impossible if the free world doesn’t stay the course through the long-drawn trials of vigilance and battles.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Captive Nations Week 2022 – Most Meaningful

Russia has again lived up to its aggressive, murderous reputation – as we have contended all along – and consequently Captive Nations Week 2022 will be most meaningful of all.

Adopted in 1959 during the Cold War, the historic proclamation that recognizes the plight of captive nations of Russian subju
gation has been regarded by some as a relic of bygone days and political beliefs. Others even argued that it should be shelved and forgotten.

Interestingly, though, words in the original document and the annual observations have been thorns in Russians’ eyes as its leaders would periodically insist that Washington should abandon it.

Eight years of fighting in eastern Ukraine haven’t been enough to raise the free world’s awareness about Russia’s global threat and the necessity of this annual commemoration. Then on February 24, 2022, Russia launched a no-holds-barred invasion of Ukraine with the goal of not only re-subjugating it but annihilating the country, nation and memory of their existence. This unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia was not unexpected. Since the end of World War Two the west has been apprised of such an eventuality and the original Captive Nations Proclamation implied it. Leaders of the captive nations’ liberation movements warned the free world that Moscow will turn its guns against them.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova, replying to George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s This Week, said Ukrainians weren’t surprised by Russia’s invasion. They’ve been anticipating it for 400 years.

The Associated Press reported this week that the Central Intelligence Agency admitted it underestimated President Zelenskyy’s true grit and Ukraine. As its analysts were pondering whether Zelenskyy would be a Churchill or will he run, they concluded that the President of Ukraine wouldn’t stay the course.

“Ultimately, U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated Zelenskyy and Ukraine while overestimating Russia and its president, even as they accurately predicted Vladimir Putin would order an invasion,” the newswire said.

These costly mistakes against Ukraine cannot be repeated. Consequently, the Captive Nations Week Proclamation of 2022 from the White House to American City Halls will be the most meaningful because it could serve as a reminder of the peril posed by Russia. Collectively they will tell future generations what Americans did when Russia invaded Ukraine, and killed and raped Ukrainians, and destroyed the country and historic landmarks. Did they support Ukraine and its total victory over Russia or did it waffle and plead that Ukraine and its supporters shouldn’t humiliate Russia and its fuhrer Putin?

Despite the lack of serious attention to so-called remnants of the Cold War, the annual Captive Nations Week Proclamations based on Public Law 86-90 are important reminders of the ongoing danger posed not only by old and new totalitarian communist regimes and notably their creator Moscow in all of its political colorations up to including today’s Putin-led federation. Russian leaders opposed this proclamation and overtly or quietly had asked successive Administrations to abandon it. None did, though President Richard Nixon, in the midst of his peaceful coexistence policy, delayed issuing the 1971 proclamation that ultimately was devoid of the words Communist, Soviet and Russia.

The third week of July has been traditionally filled with similar proclamations issued by governors and mayors as well as civic commemorations in large and small communities.

For a historical perspective about the Captive Nations Week Proclamation, I’d like to quote from an article by Lee Edwards, chairman and co-founder of the Victims of Communism Foundation, that appeared in the Summer 2020 edition of The Ukrainian Quarterly:

“One man more than any other was responsible for the proclamation and the week – Prof. Lev E. Dobriansky of Georgetown University, longtime president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. Born in November 1918 in New York City of Ukrainian immigrant parents, Dr. Dobriansky attended New York University where he earned a Ph.D. in economics. He taught at Georgetown from 1948 until 1987 during which he founded and directed the Institute on Comparative Economic and Political Systems. He also served as U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas from 1982-86 when the islands were in the front lines in the battle against illegal drug traffic.

“Professor Dobriansky came into political prominence in 1959 when he persuaded Congress and the Eisenhower administration to adopt the Captive Nations Proclamation, which he personally drafted. The Proclamation was a litany of anti-Soviet pro-freedom paragraphs:

“ ‘Whereas since 1918 the imperialistic and aggressive policies of Russian communism have resulted in the creation of a vast empire which poses a dire threat to the security of the United States and of all the free peoples of the world;

“ ‘Whereas the imperialistic policies of Communist Russia have led, through direct and indirect aggression, to the subjugation of the national independence of Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Estonia, White Ruthenia, Rumania, East Germany, Bulgaria, mainland China, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, North Korea, Albania, Idel-Ural, Tibet, Cossackia, Turkestan, North Viet-Nam, and others…

“ ‘Whereas these submerged nations look to the United States as the citadel of human freedom, for leadership in bringing about their liberation and freedom and in restoring to them the enjoyment of their Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Buddhist or other religious freedoms and of their individual liberties…

Whereas the desire for liberty and independence by the overwhelming majority of the people of these submerged nations is a powerful deterrent to war and one of the best hopes for a just and lasting peace;

Whereas it is fitting that we clearly manifest to such peoples through an appropriate and official means the historic fact that the people of the United States share with them their aspirations for the recovery of their freedom and independence…’ ”

The late Prof. Lev Dobriansky wrote about the proclamation’s significance in his article, “The Captive Nations Week Resolution Then and Now”:

“Originated as S.J. Resolution 111, passed on July 17, 1959, and signed into Public Law 86-90, the law has remained in force to the present day precisely because of its realistic, conceptual framework and outlook. With ease and real conformation, its dominant concepts relate to these upsurging events. They are: ‘national independence,’ ‘the democratic process,’ ‘inter-dependency of peoples and nations,’ ‘imperialistic and aggressive policies of Russian communism,’ ‘a vast empire,’ ‘threat to the security of the United States and of all the free peoples of the world,’ ‘religious freedoms,’ ‘individual liberties,’ ‘powerful deterrent to war and one of the best hopes for a just and lasting peace.’ Then and now – even more so now and in the future – these concepts have been fully applicable, notwithstanding current hopes and notions about the end of the Cold War, the fading of military threat from the Soviet Russian empire, and secure, sovereign national freedom in Central Europe.”

For its invasion and mass murder of Ukrainians, its war crimes and acts of genocide, Russia deserves the commendation of all peoples of the world, which would serve as an assurance that Moscow won’t repeat bestial crime anywhere.

Undeniably, the Captive Nations Week Proclamation belongs to the category of American documents that should be observed throughout the ages. It should not be watered down by other issues like President Biden did last year. It should serve as a strong denunciation of Russia’s past, present and future aggressions against any freedom-loving country in the world. It should condemn Russia’s merciless invasion and mass murder in Ukraine. It should declare America’s comprehensive military support for Ukraine and urge its allies to do the same. It should unreservedly endorse Ukraine’s sacred mission of defeating Russia.

The Captive Nations Week Proclamation of 2022 will be more meaningful than all of the others.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Memorial Day Thoughts from Bataan to Mariupol

This being Memorial Day weekend I find myself watching one after another old and new war movies on TCM – a favorite hobby of mine.

This morning I watched “They Were Expendable,” the 1945 heroic John Wayne movie about PT boat crews in the Pacific. You of a certain age will fondly remember the movie.

I watched it a couple of times before but I never paid attention to the movie’s reference to Bataan until today.

On April 9, 1942, Major Gen. Edward P. King Jr. surrendered at Bataan, Philippines, — against Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s orders — and 78,000 troops (66,000 Filipinos and 12,000 Americans), the largest contingent of U.S. soldiers ever to surrender, are taken captive by the Japanese. The prisoners were at once led 55 miles from Mariveles, on the southern end of the Bataan peninsula, to San Fernando, on what became known as the Bataan Death March. At least 600 Americans and 5,000 Filipinos died because of the extreme brutality of their Japanese captors, who starved, beat, and kicked them on the way; those who became too weak to walk were bayoneted. Those who survived were taken by rail from San Fernando to POW camps, where another 16,000 Filipinos and at least 1,000 Americans died from disease, mistreatment, and starvation.

In the movie, American sailors in a canteen heard the heart rendering announcement from a San Francisco radio program. It said the following: 

This is tragic news from the Philippines.

The white flag of surrender was hoisted on the bloody heights of Bataan this afternoon.

Thirty-six thousand United States soldiers, hungry, ragged, half-starved shadows, trapped like rats, but dying like men, were finally worn down by 200,000 picked Japanese troops.

Men who fight for an unshakeable faith are more than flesh.

But they're not steel.

Flesh must yield at last.

Endurance melts away. The end must come.

Bataan has fallen.

But the spirit that made it stand as a beacon to all lovers of liberty will never falter.

The white flag was hardly hoisted over Bataan before Jap artillery began slamming away at Corregidor, our last strong point in the Philippines.

The obvious connection with Mariupol was clear as a bell.

After two months, three weeks and five days, the heroic Azov battalion soldiers, lacking food and medicine, tending to the wounded as well as hundreds of civilians were encouraged or ordered to surrender on May 20, 2022. Ukrainian patriots stood their ground and fought to the last man, holed up in the city-sized basement of the Azovstal steel mill. Fighting to the last ounce of blood is part of the Ukrainians’ genetic makeup – remember of cyborgs at the Donetsk airport.

Yuriy Butusov, the editor-in-chief of Censor.NET, in his Facebook page cited a message written by a friend in Mariupol who serves in the Azov Regiment. “Thanks to them, Mariupol will never be a Russian victory. It will never be a victim and a place of Russian power, it is not Kruty. It will always be a city of Ukrainian victory and a symbol of Ukrainian invincible strength.”

Apparently he was not rejecting victory at all costs, even the cost of the defenders’ lives, he was rejecting the concept of defeat, conquest by the Russian invaders. Mariupol is another Ukrainian word in the centuries-long string of wars and battles that reaffirm Ukrainians’ aspiration to live freely, independently, sovereignly, democratically as far away from Russia as possible. It joins similar words and stories in foreign languages that tell the story of victory even in defeat.

“The defenders of Mariupol have long since crossed the line of endurance and sacrifice – they have created new ones, and this is incredible in the 21st century,” Butusov wrote.

President Zelenskyy explained Ukraine wanted to take away the wounded from Mariupol but Russian forces would not let them. “We wanted to take away the wounded. We talked about it being a humanitarian mission. Give us the wounded back,” he said. “We even made plans for Turkey to be a mediator and get the wounded, civilians and the military. They don’t let them out because we understand Russia just wants to shoot them dead.”

Butusov’s friend continued: “I understand. We all understand everything and are ready for anything. In any case, we will not give up.”

“Thanks to them, Mariupol will never be a Russian victory. It will never be a victim and a place of Russian power, it is not Kruty. It will always be a city of Ukrainian victory and a symbol of Ukrainian invincible strength.

“Russia has many weapons, but Ukraine has something that Russians are not capable of – to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their people, to fight for honor, to fight when there is no strength, and only the will allows you to fight no matter what. Mariupol – this word now weighs a lot, explains a lot.

Because its defenders created a new modern epic. Because they create the history of our world. Because they are Ukrainians.”

Now begins the Mariupol Death March. The Russians have taken the wounded and living soldiers and transported them to imprisonment. Based on Russia’s merciless historical behavior and its heinous conduct in this war, it’s a given that imprisonment for them will be worse than fighting and dying in battle against Russian invaders. They’ve already rejected prisoner exchanges in favor of cynically placing the Ukrainian combatants on trial.

The fall of Mariupol, the site of the merciless seven-week-old siege that has reduced much of the city to a smoking ruin, would be Moscow’s biggest victory of the war. But don’t count on it – the spirit that made Mariupol stand as a beacon to all lovers of liberty will never falter.

As after Bataan, when Gen. MacArthur promised that he shall return, so too today, Ukrainian servicemen and women – the whole nation if necessary – will return, vanquish and expel the criminal Russian invaders from all of Ukraine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Danger of History Repeating Itself – Free Ukraine is Vital for Humanity

More and more nowadays there are abundant examples of history repeating itself to the detriment of maltreated nations. Someone, sometime, somewhere did not heed the pleas of the downtrodden, the stateless, the captive nations that it is incumbent upon leaders of the free world, which emerged victorious from a global conflagration, to defend their interests as independent states or else their opponents or even the vanquished will arise again to wage barbaric, imperialistic wars.

That was the premise of launching The Torn Curtain 1991 a decade ago. By 1991 the captive nations of Russian subjugation had declared their independence and it seemed as if the world would be a better place. However, peace and security were not to be had. Moscow, undaunted, immediately resumed its aggressive nature and trolled for new and old victims. Even though Kyiv was liberated, Ukraine would not enjoy independence because Russia, itself, was not defeated and worst of all continued to enjoy at least the passive favor of many countries and institutions.

After the Second World War, representatives of the national liberation movements that sadly fell on the wrong side of the new demarcating line – the Iron Curtain, warned the free world leaders in Washington and London about the dangers of Moscow’s ongoing belligerence. Nazi German capitulation and peace in Europe would not keep Russia from restarting its conquests and replacing Berlin’s subjugation with its own. Since then, throughout the Cold War and today – the post-Soviet era, the free world was cautioned that Moscow would unleash its army against freedom-living peoples in Eastern Europe. The newly independent countries’ experience-based advice was belittled to say the least. And then February 24, 2022, dawned on Ukraine and the staggered world.

Among the many scholars who advised the free world about what it should do to keep Moscow at least in check was Prof. Alexander Granovsky (1887-1976) of the University of Minnesota. In his article in the February 1945 edition of The Ukrainian Quarterly, Granovsky wrote that the free world should consciously support the post-war development of the stateless nations that would keep future Nazi Germanys from raising their heads while subduing Russia’s aggressive appetite. Furthermore, he stated, a free Ukraine is vital to preserving lasting peace. Indeed, it took just 77 years for war to return to Eastern Europe; for Russia to re-ignite its war against Ukraine.

The Ukrainian nation, even before the war, had already voiced its desire to establish an independent state and live free of foreign intervention and occupation. Granovsky wrote: “It should not be forgotten that at the very beginning of the present war, at the time of the partition of Poland, according to the honeymoon pact between Hitler and Stalin, in the first few days of September 1939, the Ukrainian people again, as on many occasions before, expressed their will to freedom.”

Granovsky reminded his readers that “the acquisition of large stretches of contiguous territory, belonging to neighboring peoples, that usually cause serious disputes and political boundary troubles, with all of the attendant measures of denationalization on one side, and the breeding of resentment and opposition on the other, which often produce underground and irredentist movements and open revolts. Certainly, these abnormal phenomena only tend to disturb peace and the fragile economic and political stability of the areas involved.”

Russia and Ukraine share a long contiguous border, which Moscow has tried many times to cross with the aim of seizing the government and establishing its rule over the Ukrainian nation.

Since before the start of the war, Granovsky wrote, the “freedom-loving Ukrainians were not in the habit of bowing to aggressors and, when Hitler let his puppet Hungarian army march against Carpatho-Ukraine, the Hungarians and Hitler met with bitter armed resistance from the entire Ukrainian population of that most backward province of all the Ukrainian lands.” Note the point the writer made in referring to Hungarians as allies of Hitler. Consequently, Ukrainians before all other European nations engaged the Nazi war machine through its surrogate in battle for independence.

And then when a full-scale war erupted across Europe, “Ukrainian sympathies were on the wide of the Allies, in spite of misleading and willfully false propaganda widely circulated to the contrary. This is the reason why many prominent Ukrainian leaders in the nationalist movement were either slain by the German Gestapo and their agents, or have died in concentration camps. Scores of prominent Ukrainian nationalist leaders are now incarcerated as political offenders by the Nazis.”

While the enemies were brutal and large by comparison, Granovsky pointed out, “It has been revealed that the peoples of the Baltic States, as well as the population of Western Ukraine, recently incorporated into the Soviet Empire, made definite declarations that they would fight to the death against both German and Russian aggression and rule, rather than to submit themselves to their domination.”

For its defiance, retaliation against the Ukrainian population was swift and bloody. Many nationally conscious Ukrainian leaders were either shot or placed in concentration camps while the Ukrainian masses were herded into forced labor camps by both German and Russian aggressors of Ukrainian territory. “It is a known fact that the Government of Soviet Russia arrested thousands of Ukrainian intellectuals and leaders and exiled them into Kazakhstan and other Asiatic areas, driving out from Ukraine all constructive and creative elements. The German Nazi forces purged occupied Ukraine of all possible resistance elements, and also removed to the Reich army many thousands of able bodied Ukrainian population for forced labor. All of these measures were definitely aimed at the complete annihilation of the Ukrainian people to present them from attaining their national aspirations of human and national freedom,” Granovsky wrote.

The end of the war found Ukrainians to be inside Russia’s prison of nations. Granovsky urged the free world to regard Ukraine’s aspiration to state formation on a level equal with other nations. “Once the principles of freedom of the Ukrainian nation will be put into effect on an equitable basis, comparable to the freedom of all other national states, this conflict about the fictitious demand on Ukrainian territory under various pretexts will be a clear case of aggression, no matter how we define the term,” he wrote.

The crux of the problem in 1945, Granovsky wrote, is the issue of the rebirth of Ukraine as an independent nation. “On this territory the Ukrainians constitute the majority, though ruled at present by a small minority of invaders. The Ukrainians, according to historic, ethnic, statistical and others facts, are the rightful claimants to this territory of theirs, where they have been residing from time immemorial,” he wrote.

With the free and evil worlds deciding the future of mankind, Russia was busy subjugating those nearest its border. However, Granovsky warned, “Soviet Russia must certainly realize that the boundaries that she is now establishing by aggression in Eastern Europe during the present hostilities can never be permanent.”
Granovsky cautioned that if the Ukrainian people, who have countless times demonstrated their desire for independence, should be denied their freedoms, “It will doubtless provide demoralizing influences on relations among nations. There will certainly be resurgent waves of resentment leading to major disturbances and political revolts. Above all, it will create permanent injustice for freedom loving people and will breed distrust and suspicion against the greater powers, and America in particular, in whose commitments the oppressed and disfranchised peoples have found the courage to nurture sublime faith…The Ukrainians have helped to destroy the German menace. They gave all they could. They have given millions of lives. They have given the best of their efforts. They have suffered great pain, anxiety and devastation for the common cause.”

In view of what Russia is perpetrating in Ukraine today, it is simple to comprehend his conclusion about its historical domination of Ukraine: “In many ways her colonial rule of Ukraine in Europe surpasses all the indignities committed upon colonial peoples in the darkest corners of the world.”

Granovsky asked a salient question in 1945: “Is it really possible that after the wanton destruction of property beyond estimation, the loss of millions of lives and the unbelievable human suffering which this war has brought about, that now either Great Britain or the United States, or any other nation can accede to these original demands of Soviet Russia with the idea either to appease her or to condone the acts of her aggression? If so, it is certain that people will not endure.” Can any government accept Russia again? Can the United Nations regard Russia as a worthy member of the global community of nations?

What’s to be done, rhetorically asked Granovsky? A global regime of justice, he replied: “America with the aid of some of her Allies and liberty-seeking peoples can inaugurate a regime of justice. America can ‘…perform a service of historic importance which men and women and children will honor throughout all time.’

“Among these problems free Ukraine is vital to lasting peace.”

Too bad nobody listened then and too few are listening today.

“The lesson from these events must bear fruit in the future. Unless Ukraine is free at the end of this war, new bloodshed is inevitable,” he deduced.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Poland’s President in Ukraine’s Parliament: ‘Thank You for Rescuing Europe from Russia’

In another first by Poland, the President of Ukraine’s neighbor to the West became the first head of state to address the war-torn Ukrainian nation from the halls of its Verkhovna Rada and express all Europeans’ gratitude for rescuing the continent from Russian barbarity and imperialism.

Polish President Andrzej Duda, speaking today from the Ukrainian parliament during a surprise visit to Kyiv, paid tribute to the Ukrainian nation for remaining strong and defiant in the face of Russia’s invasion that began on February 24.

“Despite the great destruction, despite the terrible crimes, the great suffering that the Ukrainian nation experiences every day, the Russian invaders did not break you, they did not manage to do it and I believe deeply that they will never succeed,” Duda said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the speech by the Polish president a “historic moment.”

Poland and Ukraine’s “strong” relations had been “built through blood, through Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy said.

“No one can shake our unity,” Duda told the Ukrainian lawmakers, pointing out that your people are not refugees in Poland, but our guests.

Duda last visited Kyiv on April 13 for talks with Zelenskyy as part of a delegation with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

While he was addressing the parliament today, Russian missiles were reported heading into the Kyiv region airspace. Ukrainian defense forces apparently destroyed at least one of them, though one appears to have hit a target in the Zhytomyr region, to the west of Kyiv.

Duda’s speech in Kyiv was a second major first for his nation after being the first country to recognize Ukrainian independence in December 1991. Both countries have been developing strong multi-lateral relations, fully cognizant of the admonition that if one of them loses its independence then Russia will destroy the remaining country’s freedom.

The two countries’ symbol of multi-lateral military cooperation is the Lublin Triangle, which also included Lithuania. I have written that it resembles an updated Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. This coalition should be expanded and formalized by all former captive nations of Russian subjugation.

With an eye to defense and security, the three countries created this special brigade that would defend their independence and interests from any belligerent action by Russia meant to reestablish its domination of Ukraine, the Baltic States, and the remainder of Eastern Europe. Three x-captive nations transformed their worthy idea into practice by mobilizing the “Hetman Konstantyn Ostrohskiy” Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown that this is not as farfetched a notion as some may have claimed.

In his speech in the Verkhovna Rada, which was greeted with standing ovations, Duda urged Ukraine not to give in to the “demands” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Worrying voices have appeared, saying that Ukraine should give in to Putin’s demands,” Duda said. “Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future... nothing about you without you,” echoing the words of former President Viktor Poroshenko.

Duda added that surrendering any Ukrainian territory would be a blow to the entire West and repeated Poland’s firm support for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union. The Polish president said that the international community must demand that Russia completely withdraw from Ukrainian territory.

“I will not rest until Ukraine becomes a member of the European Union,” Duda said.

Duda’s personal and national demonstration of support for embattled Ukraine must be replicated by all freedom-loving countries’ leaders. For example, what if all of them visited Kyiv at the same time and spoke from the Verkhovna Rada, expressing their admiration for Ukrainians’ determination in the face of Russian murders and demanding Moscow’s unconditional surrender and withdrawal from Ukraine.

Friday, May 13, 2022

He who has Naught … Steals and Kills

Russians have been denigrating Ukraine, the nation, its language, religion and culture for as long as they’ve been trying to subjugate Ukrainians. They have incessantly believed and insisted that Ukrainians, though cynically regarding by them as a fraternal people, are inferior to Russians.

Even in movies, notably Soviet ones, actors, who may have been portraying Ukrainians, spoke in the Russian language about Ukrainian folklore and songs, implying that the culture is quaint like embroideries, dance and pysanky, but in reality they are meaningless, not of the same level as the great Russian culture and should be avoided by self-respecting Russians and captive peoples. It’s not even worth speaking about that culture in Ukrainian.

Actually, the Russian culture is shallow. Except for a couple of cities, Russia has no national, or so-called folk depth that tells the story of its people, whence they came from because they are not nearly as old as the Ukrainian nation. When Kyiv was a viable domain, with European relationships, beautiful churches and commerce, Moscow was a bog of frog choruses.

Across the vast landmass of Russia, its people are known for drunkenness, theft and deceit. The few cultural figures and composers together with the Russian Orthodox Church, which is a poor excuse for a religion because it advocates the murder of Ukrainians, do not compensate for the dark abyss created by the absence of a national culture. Russian culture revolves around the moronic nesting dolls — matryoshka — Grandfather Frost and the Snowflake as well as a wide range of stolen, plagiarized and bastardized artifacts, observances and compositions.

Russia has throughout history consistently destroyed Ukrainian culture. Today we see the “hochkulture” level of Russian culture as its invaders wreak havoc in Ukraine, raping and killing children. In 80 days they destroyed many historical museums and books. Russian invaders have committed more than 200 crimes against Ukrainian culture in today’s war.

An example from history of Russia’s brutality against Ukraine and Ukrainians is the slaughter of 15,000 residents and the sacking of the town of Baturyn in the early 18th century. In the early 1700s, it was common knowledge that tsarist capital of Saint Petersburg was built on the bones of Ukrainian Kozaks.  Then there is the infamous EMS Ukaze of 1876, a decree of Russian Emperor Alexander II that banned the use of the Ukrainian language in print. The edict also forbade the import of Ukrainian publications and the staging of plays or lectures in Ukrainian. In the 1920s and 1930s, Moscow executed thousands of Ukrainian intellectuals and literati in what became known as the infamous sanguinary “Executed Renaissance.” Moscow’s famine of 1932-33 claimed the lives of 7 million Ukrainian men, women and children. At the end of World War II, Russia outlawed the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, arresting or executing hierarchs and clergy, and forbidding the faithful from attending liturgies in their faith.

These are only a few examples of the consequences of Russia’s jealous, blind hatred of all things Ukrainian. Moscow’s perennial goal has been to destroy all memory of Ukrainian culture and language, which is a violation of United Nations resolutions about protecting culture. Ukrainian officials and witnesses have said today’s widespread, indiscriminate destruction of Ukrainian cities, residential and commercial centers, infrastructure and civilians can only mean that their mission is to annihilate Ukraine, Ukrainians and any awareness of them.

On the other hand, the Ukrainian culture is filled with a wide range of centuries-old beautiful, timeless classical folk culture as well as what is commonly referred to as world-class culture, all of which have been usurped by Moscow. To be sure, the well-rounded depth and breadth of the Ukrainian national culture, something that is lacking in Russia, has saved the Ukrainian nation in the past and will save the Ukrainian nation tomorrow.