No matter the outcome of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainians have undoubtedly written an epic chapter in their history.
Through satellite images and media reports, the world must admit that Russia’s indiscriminate bombing and shooting of innocent people are absolutely barbaric acts that constitute war crimes. Such behavior completely replaces morality and humanity with barbarity and slavishness.
What Russian President Vladimir Putin has done clearly crosses the line between human and beast.
As Putin shouted for Ukraine’s demilitarization, is the Russian military invasion not ironic? Has Russia “demilitarized” itself?
In Putin’s logic, Russia has the right to attack Ukraine at any time, within any part of its borders, in the name of a “special military operation.” Meanwhile, Ukraine in Moscow’s view is obligated to demilitarize itself and be bullied.
This is a modern version of the old expression: “To only allow the officials to set fires, but not allow the public to light lamps.”
Is Putin not setting fires while banning Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy from lighting lamps?
Whether Ukraine applies to join the EU or NATO is up to Ukraine alone. Whether to approve its applications is the sole right of the EU and NATO. Unless Ukraine is a puppet regime of Russia, which is not a member of the EU or NATO, how can the latter demand, on threat of force, that the former not join the EU or NATO?
Compared with Putin, who ignited the fuse of war just to make Ukraine submit to his whims, the Ukrainians stand in front of the barrels and block the advance of Russia’s tanks.
So who is a savage coward, and who is the symbol of courage and civilization? Well, the answer is self-evident.
More importantly, Putin’s invasion and continued attacks did not cause the Ukrainians to surrender in fear as he expected. On the contrary, it aroused a common hatred for the same enemy. Despite Putin’s threat that the democratic world must not intervene and must remain an outsider, his threat was in vain. It has triggered the democratic world’s unified outrage, as these countries are now standing up, one after another, to back Ukraine, proving that humanity, freedom and democracy will not die.
Some democratic countries are naturally just watching from the sidelines, declining to stand by Ukraine. Perhaps they have not yet realized that living together in the global village, the democratic and communist worlds are fundamentally different, with a 180-degree contrast between freedom and slavery, human rights and authoritarian rule.
At some point there is obviously no way to avoid conflict, collision or war. The only differences lie in the scale and nature of each war, including visible military conflicts and invisible trade, economic and financial wars.
Therefore, no democratic nation, not even those far from the battlefield, can afford to sit back and watch like an outsider as Russia destroys Ukraine. All democracies have an unshirkable responsibility and obligation to provide Ukraine with military, financial and material aid.
Today, Ukraine is not only fighting a war against Russian aggression, it is also fighting a skirmish against the evil communist world while building a beachhead for all democratic countries. The democratic world should absolutely express its appreciation and support to Ukraine.
Chang Kuo-tsai is a retired associate professor at National Hsinchu University of Education.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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