Justin O. Smith

“These days in Washington. It is cold, sunny, and a lot is being said about Ukraine.”  ~ Svitlana Zalishchuk, at the Capitol Building in D.C. on December 11th 2019 as part of a diplomatic delegation

Those who would rule over others often say that their plans and actions are for the children of their respective region or country, as words to further their ends, but sometimes a thing is indeed a necessity for the safety, security and general welfare and well being of the children.
Today, nothing is more important for the sake of the children of a country, as stopping the invasion and war against Ukraine and the makings of a genocide underway, since Putin has given his Russian soldiers the nod to target civilians, recently destroying a maternity hospital and its children’s ward in Mariupol, Ukraine in a manner that approaches the viciousness of the Islamic State in Ramadi, as the world witnesses Putin use inhuman vacuum bombs against military and civilians alike. And as such, the entire free world should be moving heaven and earth to stop this incredibly evil move by Putin without escalating the war, if possible, as some two million Ukrainians have been forced to flee.
We see the images of worn, weary and often battered people of all ages — primarily only women and children — trying to manage their way through the ruins and rubble, across streams and under collapsed bridges with the help of policemen and soldiers and the other men of the communities; the images of the wounded, the dying and the dead, and the massive crowds breathing like a living thing, as one sees the worry, anxiety, misery and the strain of going without sleep, food and water, sometimes for days, etched across their faces. We see them fleeing on foot, on bicycles, sometimes cars and rushing to the train stations.
Like surreal glimpses of paintings by the old masters, one cannot forget the people crying, praying, hugging and kissing one another and saying “Good-bye” to parents, brothers and sisters, children and all their friends, all they love — the place they call “Home”, the Ukraine they all love so well.
Ukrainian cities are being closed in upon and encircled and bombarded by the Russians, from Mariupol and Odessa and on to Kyiv. And in Lviv, the scene is stark and jarring as the world bears witness to several hundred thousand people, women and children and the elderly pouring into the city that sits approximately 50 miles from the Polish border. The numbers grow and the trains and every other means of transportation are running day and night. Shelters in every major Ukrainian city are overflowing and the people are running out of fresh water and food, with all manner of waste now a problem, but the Ukrainian people on the whole still seem quite positive and unbroken twelve days into the fight for their homeland.
Even worse, despite assurances given by Putin that the Ukrainian civilians could safely traverse the “safe corridors” established, invariably each time a convoy of civilians attempts to flee, they are shelled by the Russians. There are not really any safe corridors to exit Ukraine, for those who have chosen to flee, for whatever the reason.
Twelve days into this war and the world stands astounded by the resolve and strength of the majority of Ukrainians who are currently fighting back more fiercely than anyone could have foreseen, and they are enduring, even though in many instances they are fighting in the cold on short rations and one meal a day because supply stores have been destroyed by the Russians. And right at their side, President Volodymyr Zelensky has stood courageously, refusing to run or hide, telling President Biden “I need ammunition, not a ride” when offered a way out of Ukraine; this resolve and courage represents the unsubdued will of all Ukrainians and it has inspired nearly 140,000 Ukrainians from other countries, as well as some 3,000 Americans to rush to aid in the fight.
Bloody, crumpled bodies lay in city squares, along the roads and in private courtyards of homes, with what is left of their earthly possessions scattered about them, left for others to clean away as the chaos of war swirls about them all for the entire Free World to see. In Irpin, an entire family was killed in front of the mayor, including two small children, when a Russian rocket hit a local checkpoint, something which President Volodymyr Zelensky declared was “deliberate murder”. And many Russians agree.
Russian dissident, largely freelance journalist and editor for RT News until recently, Maria Baronova has strongly denounced Putin’s invasion into Ukraine. She’s regularly spoken and written in opposition to Putin’s tyranny at home and his moves against Ukraine since 2014, and left her job at RT News in protest over the invasion.
Maria flatly stated: “Our [Russian] grandfathers didn’t fight for this, everything was betrayed. If I chose to be with Russia, this doesn’t mean that I should walk in a totalitarian system — be silent. And if I chose to be with Russia, this does not mean that I, for example, rejoice that the regime, which I do not want for my country, is being exported somewhere else. And this regime will finally turn our life into one endless hell. What’s there. Already turned.”
And all Ol’ Joe can do is stumble, mumble, falter and fail, as he congratulates himself for the current coalition of diplomats, who exude uncertainty in their stated certainties, very similar to Neville Chamberlain celebrating the coalition that declared war on Germany after Hitler invaded Poland.
As former Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) told Laura Ingraham on March 8th 2022:
“Nothing that the Biden administration has done has helped to make this situation better — has helped to de-escalate the situation — which is why the only conclusion I can draw about why they have been completely silent and not engaging at all on this window of opportunity that President Zelensky opened last night is that [pulling back from his stated goal of joining NATO]  — what is happening before our eyes right now is exactly what they want to see continue. Why is that? Because it’s good for the military-industrial complex. It makes these politicians look tough and really it allows them to have this proxy war with Russia, something that Hillary Clinton laid out just recently, really what their aims are. This war machine, this power elite in Washington. They want to turn Ukraine into another Afghanistan, turn it into this killing field where this long term insurgency is supported and they bleed out and cripple — kill as many Russians as possible for who knows how long. They are showing their real aim in the fact that they are not taking action right now to end this conflict.”
I never thought I’d see the day I’d agree with a Democrat on anything, but to some great degree, Tulsi has it right. There is a large component of our Congress that would love nothing better than ultimately destroying Russia. And, there’s actually a good many reasons we should destroy Putin’s grip on Russia, and the oligarchs who side with him, if and when we can, doing as little harm in the long term to the Russian people themselves; but for now, the main focus should be on stopping the war from growing larger and neutralizing Putin’s ability to do this again anytime soon.
Many Russians, Ukrainians, Americans and many people all across the globe do not want this war. It really serves no one’s interests, except those of President Vladimir Putin.
However, it’s also more complicated in that the U.S. must not allow Russia to dictate our defense measures, who we can let into NATO, or any other aspect of U.S. defense strategies at home and abroad and what we see as pertinent to their success. For anyone who believes that Ukraine isn’t a vital interest for America and Europe, just sit back and let Putin conquer Ukraine and subjugate its people and watch how quick Putin manipulates its resources, the food and minerals and natural gas to blackmail Europe and other nations, which heavily rely on those exports today.
If the U.S. tries to fill the void left by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, by increasing food exports internationally, American’s will soon see our own prices rise further, even after they have already been increased by thirty to sixty percent, in some cases, due to the lockdowns, Biden’s stimulus spending and the supply chain breakdown and a host of other economic factors.
And then we see those who want to make biolabs in Ukraine an issue– as if their is some malevolent underlying scheme inside the cooperation between the U.S. and Ukraine to keep these labs secure —  as if that somehow demands or justifies Russia’s invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine. Russia has some of the most advanced biolabs in the world that are used for medical and scientific advancements, just as the U.S. has such labs in Los Alamos, John Hopkins University and even St. Jude’s Children Hospital where they find cures for cancer; and anywhere there are biolabs, regardless of who operates them, they all can be quickly converted for military warfare and the creation of deadly biological agents.
This is a deflection and a red-herring that doesn’t negate the fact that this is Putin’s war, his war of choosing, his war for the rise of the new Russian Empire.
The greatest portion of what has been disseminated to date, in regards to the biolab issue has been Russian disinformation and outright lies and propaganda, which started with Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, a Bulgarian “journalist”, who released her article ‘The Pentagon Bio-Weapons’ on January 16th 2018 on an English portal called South Front. South Front is administered from Russia and it is registered on a Russian domain, which often published conspiracy theories about military and intelligence issues. The same material in Russian was published at News Front, which recognizes the independence of Donbass and notes that the purpose of the publication is to defend the interest of Russian civilization.
The Washington Post article on August 30th 2005 by Jo Warrick opens with the statement: “The United States and Ukraine agreed yesterday to work jointly to prevent the spread of biological weapons, signing a pact that clears the way for Ukraine’s government to receive U.S. aid to improve security at facilities where dangerous microbes are kept.” And, the two senators leading the way on this initiative were Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Barack Obama (D-IL). Make of it what You will, nothing surrounding this issue gives Putin license to invade Ukraine.
This war is not in the best interests of anyone, but then neither is the reconstitution of the Russian Empire and the exponentially more massive amount of power it will hand Putin and his minions. The sooner we can end it the better it will be for the world, however we may achieve this, especially when Putin seems to be unhinged these days and all to willing to use his nuclear weapons.
But neither can we be held hostage through nuclear blackmail. It may come to a point in the coming days, months or years that we simply tell Putin to do what he feels he must, and we will do the same, even if it means raining down every nuke in our arsenal on his head, because if he can take Ukraine without nary a flinch from the West, there isn’t any country in the world that is safe from his adventurisms and conquests, in tandem and cooperation with his Big Buddy and ally, Xi of China.
For whatever it’s worth, late to the game as usual, Joe Biden finally decided share intelligence with President Zelensky last week, and just yesterday, Ol’ Slow Joe decided to sanction all Russian oil , but it will take close to 45 days for the sanctions to actually go into effect, and in the meantime, Putin just keeps getting wealthier and wealthier as he and his fellow oligarchs rake whatever profits they want off the top. It’s going to take a bit more diplomacy in conjunction with some show of force that actually rattles Putin and a continued strong backing of Ukraine to persuade Putin to withdraw.
Lesia Vasylenko, Member of Ukraine’s Parliament and — more importantly — mother to three children, now stands as a member of Ukraine’s military too, with rifle slung, and prepared to fight the advancing Russians, “house to house” and “hand to hand” as she recently told Fox News.
Several says ago, she told CBS: “Right now, for me to leave would be treason. And even if it wasn’t written in the law, I would stay anyway, because I am Ukrainian and my biggest value in life is freedom. For freedom, I am prepared to fight. And for freedom, I am prepared to stay. And I want my children to wake up tomorrow and everyday in a free and independent country that believes in values and that fights for these values — not in some kind of empire where the Ukrainians are treated like slaves.”
The specter of a harsh life under Russian influence and control has surfaced once again, and this is a life that the majority of Ukrainians will never accept again — something they will fight to the death before being forced once more down the road to serfdom.
The Ukranian people have never forgotten the millions of peasants who were murdered during the 1919 de-Cossackization of the Don region. They have never forgotten the 10 million Ukrainians who were starved to death by Stalin’s regime between 1932 and 1934 — something Putin may be looking to do, and they remember the forced exiles to Siberia during 1944-45. Their resentment and hostility towards Russia and its past communism and Putin’s new authoritarianism has boiled to the surface in this war, as they also recall the cozy arrangement some of its past “leaders” had with President Putin, birthed in the bowels of the murderous KGB.
On March 2nd 2022, Lesia also said that she had several firearms and stood ready to pull the trigger in defense of her home and family, as she spoke of spending the day in Kyiv evacuating her children and other families, sadly noting:
“It’s heartbreaking. It’s really hard to do because every mother wants to spare their children the pains and burdens of war and the fear that comes with it.”
One certainly must hand it to Ukraine’s women. Many of them are courageous beyond belief, perhaps more so than the men.
Svitlanka Zalishchuk, Ukrainian patriot and former Member of Parliament stated the case pretty darned well on February 24th 2022:
“Putin started the war not against Ukraine — but against the whole normal world. The international community’s response to the Kremlin should not be based on NATO membership, but on conscience, dignity, and universal values. The story of February 2022 will be harshly judged by the Chamberlains. Now is the moment of history, and much depends on each of us. We need to panic, consciously determine where we can be useful. I believe in Ukraine and my people.” [from Google translate — not certain of its complete accuracy]
Regardless of what the world leaders do to resolve this current existential threat to the entire world, many people across the globe, including here in America are standing in solidarity with the Ukrainian people with a spirit in the hearts of all that crosses national boundaries, as we work and fight for a lasting peace, and pray that our horizons may never ignite in the orangish-red glow accompanied by a nuclear blast.
Ukrainians are writing the history of Ukraine today, as they fight for their children and for their futures.