At 5 am on February 24, 2022, the Russian army, at the order of Vladimir Putin, commenced a mass invasion of Ukraine. Using an unrecognizably twisted historical narrative and blatant lies, the Russian president attempts to justify his actions to his own people and the world. He calls this a special military operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine. In an hour-long rant, he had questioned the legitimacy of the Ukrainian independence and called Ukraine a threat to the national security of Russia.
While the initial Russian strikes were directed at military and strategic targets, civilian areas were also impacted even in the earliest hours of the invasion.
The Ukrainian people have a long and harsh history under the iron rule of the Russian Empire and the USSR, which liberally partook from the natural resources and fertile soil of the region while often mistreating the local population. Ukraine has been an independent nation for over three decades now. Putin, in his empire-building ambition, seeks to end this independence.
The Ukrainian and Russian people have much in common, culturally and historically. There are many Russian-Ukrainian mixed marriages on each side of the border. Both Ukrainians and Russians have often referred to themselves as the “brother-people.” The invasion is ripping apart the two nations. People are dying on both sides, falling prey to the imperialistic ambitions of a madman.
The Russian state-controlled media has been in full anti-west and anti-Ukraine propaganda mode since the mid-2000s, methodically poisoning the minds the Russian people. A decade and a half of brainwashing resulted in strong support for Putin despite dismal and falling economic performance. Any dissent is brutally put down. Many free-thinking people left the country. Others are rotting and dying in jails.
While Putin still has high approval ratings, anti-war protests have started all over Russia, with police arresting thousands of peaceful protesters.
Regardless of how the war will play out, the long-term impacts on the Ukrainian and Russian people will be devastating for decades to come.
As the events unfold, please, keep the Ukrainian people in your thoughts and prayers. While the West is imposing economic sanctions on Russia, they are proving to be of little help in stopping Putin’s aggression. Upcoming financial restrictions on the ruling elite do nothing to stop the present turmoil, suffering, and deaths among the Ukrainians.
If you would like to better understand the historical context that culminated in this invasion, here are some well-researched books that I have found to be helpful:
Finally, for over a decade my family has been involved with an organization doing some incredible work in the Ukrainian city of Poltava. It is a small group of people whose impact far exceeds what is humanly possible. They provide hot meals and heaters to the homeless in winter, bring humanitarian aid to the war-torn regions on Donbass and Luhansk, host and help displaced refugees, operate two drug rehabilitation centers, and have opened a school. They are currently assessing what will be needed as the war continues. If you are interested in learning more about partnering with them, let me know.
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