EActually, the horrific images from the towns in the Kyiv region liberated by Russian troops should not come as a surprise. In Chechnya and Syria, too, terror against the civilian population was part of the tactics used by the Russian armed forces. What would have happened if they had managed to get into the Ukrainian capital?
What would they have done with the many thousands of people there who have campaigned for a democratic, west-oriented Ukraine in recent years? And what awaits those in southern and eastern Ukraine whose cities are under Russian occupation? There, the number of disappeared civilians, local politicians and journalists is increasing daily. Apparently, the willingness of the invaders to use force against the uninterrupted peaceful protests of the Ukrainians is also growing.
Mariupol, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Izyum, Bucha: an ever-growing list of city names stands for massive and obviously systematic crimes by the Russian attackers against the Ukrainian civilian population. These atrocities reflect Russian President Vladimir Putin’s conviction that an independent Ukraine has no right to exist, regardless of what its residents think. He is waging a war aimed at annihilating the Ukrainian state and breaking up its people. He must not be successful with that.
The Ukrainians are in a struggle for existence in which they have no choice but to fight back with all their might. The West must provide them with the means to do so. Because they fight not only for themselves, but also for us. Anyone who still thinks that compromises with Putin – at the expense of the Ukrainians – could lead to a lasting peace, only has to listen to the tone in which his propagandists are also agitating against Georgians, Baltics, Poles and everyone who stands for liberal democracy.
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