Ukraine One Year On

Dean Pagani
4 min readMay 1, 2023

In the past year or so I have refrained, for the most part, from writing about current events. There are those who argue you should never stop caring and you should never stop trying to make this world a better place. Then again, there are people like my friend, who is about my age who recently said to me, “I know I should not give up the fight, but on the other hand I have been fighting for over 40 years and now it’s someone else’s turn.” It’s a view worth considering.

There’s the adage that the only thing stopping bad people from doing bad things is when good people say or do nothing. And with that adage as my guide I find it necessary to once again express my opinion about current events. Specifically, the war in Ukraine.

While choosing not to write about what’s happening and publishing that writing, it’s not as if I’ve stopped paying attention. As we passed the one year anniversary of the Russian invasion it simply has occurred to me once again how criminal this war is and how used we have come to the idea. It’s as if the whole world has said, “yes, it’s bad, but there is a limit to how far we can go or will go to make it right.” In that way, we are normalizing the criminal behavior being carried out on a daily basis by the Russian government.

There is no part of the Russian invasion that cannot be described as criminal. It started with the lies told to the world before the invasion began and continues to this day.

Without provocation and after trying to convince the world it had no intention to invade Ukraine, the Russian military moved in in an attempt to sweep into power in a week or less. No matter how flawed the theory, the Russian leadership led by President Vladimir Putin decided to simply take Ukraine — to steal an entire country as if it were a drug store candy bar there for the taking.

Every bullet fired, every bomb dropped, every missile sent into Ukraine since then has been an aggravating factor to that first criminal act. The Russian armed forces are not behaving as an Army fighting to protect the homeland or even an army fighting for a just cause. The only goal is to eliminate a neighboring country from the map and claim the territory as its own.

The tactics being used to achieve this goal are even more criminal in nature. Civilians are being attacked without justification. Homes are being destroyed. Entire cities are being reduced to rubble to make them uninhabitable. Women are being sexually assaulted by the invading troops. Ukrainian men of fighting age are being tortured and executed. Children are being taken from their families and deported to Russia to be stripped of their Ukrainian identity and indoctrinated as Russian citizens in an effort to erase the idea of Ukrainian culture and heritage from memory.

This is bad enough, but the Russian aggression is made worse when you consider how it is effecting the Russian nation, how it uses Russian citizens in the tens of thousands as cannon fodder, and how it employs a mercenary force mobilized to carry out Moscow’s illegal war to give the Kremlin plausible deniability for daily atrocities.

Although the United States, Canada, European countries and other allies are helping Ukraine defend itself by sending weapons, as a whole, the world has been too polite in its response to this Russian criminality. Those countries, like the United States, that have decided to take sides have not committed fully to the ejection of Russia from Ukraine. That is the only acceptable outcome. Anything less shows Russia — and other like minded countries — that given time they can win. The rest of the world can be worn down. There will be a point when those on the right side of the moral question will just move on to other problems.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1991 a coalition was brought together that simply swept his forces out of the country and returned it to its rightful owners. That coalition stood down once its stated goal had been accomplished. There was no march into Baghdad to take over Iraq — not then. The first Iraq War, from the perspective of the coalition countries fighting to oust Iraq from Kuwait, was nothing more than a massive international police action to stop a crime in progress. To stop a robbery in progress. This is the approach we should be taking now with Russia and Ukraine.

There is not one Russian soldier with a legitimate purpose in Ukraine and those fighting to help Ukraine defend itself should agree that the goal is the removal of all Russian forces from any Ukrainian territory including Crimea and the eastern part of the country now occupied by Russia. To allow any Russian forces to remain is to reward criminality on an international level.

Liberating Ukraine means stopping all international forces at the recognized Russian border. Our only goal is to correct an injustice not to expand the power or borders of any nation or alliance, but to put things back as they were before the Russian invasion began.

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