May 25, 2022
It seems we have our own TASS field office located in Margaree Harbour. Who knew? Like TASS, Mr. May is wrong on so many counts that it is difficult to enumerate them all. I’ll start with the primary error: Russia did not warn anyone of their plan to invade Ukraine. Russia denied any intent to invade and has not even admitted invading Ukraine as its troops fail to achieve even the most basic goals of their “Special Military Operation” on Ukrainian soil. Russia’s announced goals as they rolled into Ukraine were the “denazification” of Ukraine and the overthrow of its government. By way of explanation, Putin called Zelensky a Nazi. Zelensky is Jewish and lost ancestors in the Nazi Holocaust.
It was the Russian Army’s belief in Putin’s propaganda that led them to operate as if they were parading to victory before a gratefully liberated population. That folly was quickly erased by the Ukrainian Army doing its duty to protect Ukraine and Ukrainians from foreign invaders. If the Russian strategy was to minimize civilian casualties it has failed miserably just as every other strategy they employed has failed.
By the way, the best way to avoid civilian casualties would have been to stay on the Russian side of the border. Not just the cease fire line through Luhansk and Donetsk, the real border between Russia and Ukraine. The security of that border, with Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk under Ukrainian control, was guaranteed by Russia after the Soviet Union broke up. In exchange for a guarantee to respect Ukraine’s borders Russia recovered all of the nuclear weapons that were located in Ukraine and would have otherwise become Ukrainian weapons. That is right. Ukraine voluntarily gave up a huge nuclear weapons cache in exchange for Russia guaranteeing the integrity of its borders. I guess Putin did not read that bit of Russian Foreign policy when he took office.
A Russian soldier has this week pleaded fully guilty to a war crime. While Russian propaganda would have us believe that Ukraine has been committing war crimes since 2014, no Ukrainian troops have been tried and no credible evidence has been provided to support those claims. Ukraine has been fighting Russian-backed separatists since 2014. First in Crimea, then in Luhansk and Donetsk. These paramilitary separatists do not operate as conventional armies, leaving their supporters to claim that civilians are being attacked. The Ukrainian Army is not hiding amongst its own population in buildings that are all too easily targeted by Russia's artillery and missiles. Yet Russia persists in destroying those buildings and their civilian occupants. The Ukrainian Army is out on the land hitting Russian columns, blowing up Russian bridges, destroying Russian tanks and armoured personnel carriers.
Ukrainian security forces are rounding up those Ukrainians who support Russia’s invasion. Any nation defending itself from a foreign invasion is absolutely right to arrest and trial anyone on their territory who aids and abets the enemy. That they do so is only evidence that Ukraine will defend itself against all enemies, domestic and foreign.
Mariupol has now fallen. The tales Mr. May relates are amazing. How did such minute details make their way to Margaree while escaping the notice of the rest of us?
Mr. May also declares that another way to demilitarize Ukraine would have been to negotiate. Except that Ukraine refused, says Mr. May. Perhaps because Zelensky read about the trade of nuclear weapons for a Russian guarantee of Ukraine’s borders (including Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson) and concluded that Ukraine could not trust Russia to honour any negotiated settlement. Ukraine, a sovereign state, is not required to demilitarize or surrender territory simply because its paranoid and much larger neighbour fears it. Ukraine was not and will not be a threat to Russia, even if it does join NATO. Must a mouse lose its teeth because an elephant is terrified of it?
As for the losses that Ukraine may be taking. Ukraine’s entire population is approximately 45 million. Say there are 22 million men, say 11 million of those are fit to fight, add in whatever number of women join in defending their homeland. If Ukraine has taken 50,000 casualties, it has not sapped Ukrainian resolve to drive Russia back across the border. Ukrainians are determined, as we have seen in Mariupol and other locations. The Russian Army cannot hold off more than 11 million dedicated fighters, no matter their level of technology. The disorganized, demoralized, and ill-informed Russian Army will not prevail against a Ukrainian Army fighting an innovative, agile, and adaptive counterattack from their own territory. Putin’s only option to “win” in Ukraine may be to resort to chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons. If Putin does employ weapons of mass destruction it will be one more black mark on his already dark soul, if he even has one.
West Lake Ainslie