Russian invasion of Ukraine puts world at brink of darkness

Russian invasion of Ukraine puts world at brink of darkness

Denmark’s daily newspaper Berlingske on Saturday published a special 16-page issue of Opinion dedicated to the war in Ukraine. We offer our readers one of the editorial columns of the special issue - from Ukrinform Director General Oleksandr Kharchenko.

Since February 24, the Ukrainian nation has been resisting Russia’s criminal invasion of their country. The resistance of Ukrainians to superior enemy forces came as a shocker for the whole of Europe and the rest of the world. While sending their wives, mothers, and children abroad, the remaining men join the Army and territorial defense forces, giving the occupying forces a rebufff not seen since the Second World War. Unarmed civilians are blocking enemy convoys of armored hardware on the streets of villages and towns, while some are throwing Molotov cocktails at Russian tanks.

Despite the fact that the Kremlin declaratively builds its foreign policy based on anti-fascism rhetoric, in fact, every year it plunges more and more into the swamp of neo-Nazism, supporting the far right around the world and turning the concept of the infamous “Russian world” into an analogue of the Nazi ideology of a dominant race. Russian chauvinism, intolerance, and transformation of authoritarianism into a dictatorship have created in Europe over the past 20 years a prototype of the Third Reich, threatening democracies in the region.

The invasion of Ukraine is unfolding in line with Hitler's patterns, including propaganda-ridden justification for the causes of aggression. The denial of the right of nations that have liberated themselves from communist dictatorship to gain independence and sovereignty pushes the Kremlin regime to destroy the states that gained sovereignty after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Faced with fierce resistance from the Ukrainians, Vladimir Putin, realizing the collapse of his blitzkrieg, resorted to a tactic that the Russians had worked out over the years of supporting the Assad regime in Syria: the annihilation of large cities. This tactic is aimed at forcing the population to flee the cities, which reduces the level of resistance of territorial defense forces.

On the third day of war, Russian troops launched Iskander ballistic systems, as well as Grad and Hurricane rockets to attack large cities: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr, Chernihiv, and Odesa. Residential blocks, schools, kindergartens, maternity hospitals were hit as well. Moscow’s occupying troops are in fact committing an act of genocide in Ukraine, along with other war crimes. Several cases were reported where social infrastructure facilities were mined and children's toys with IEDs inside were left lying on the streets. As people are resisting in their local communities, the Russians open fire to kill, while in a number of regions they even take hostage members of families of Ukrainian servicemen in order to force troops to lay down their arms. However, despite the fact that Russia’s military potential is much greater than that of Ukraine’s defense forces, the latter inflict crushing blows on the occupying troops. Twenty-nine Russian warplanes and as many helicopters, over 800 armored vehicles, nearly 200 tanks, and 6,000 KIAs – these are the figures testifying is to the Ukrainians’ resolve to defend their independence and their European choice.

History repeats itself, and 83 years later, Europe is once again witnessing a massive war unleashed by a dictator, in which civilians are suffering and crimes against humanity are being committed. The Ukrainians have already branded this Ruscism - mixing the words Russia and fascism.

The European community is now faced with a choice: priority of democratic values, respect for international law and freedoms, or flirting with the aggressor. We had once already faced that choice back in 1939. And opting for the latter path led the world to a global disaster. Today, Russian aggression in Ukraine makes us see what our grandparents saw in World War 2: carpet bombing of cities, killings of civilians, propaganda and total lies on the part of the aggressor. As we remember, appeasing Hitler in the 1930s never led him to abandoning his desire for world hegemony.

Will we stop Putin today, together, or, having swallowed Ukraine, like Hitler once had Czechoslovakia and Poland, will we enter the Third World War with all its horrors and sufferings?

There’s still a choice to make.

Oleksandr Kharchenko, Director General of the Ukrainian National News Agency Ukrinform

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