Robert Freedman: Ukraine needs help to determine their own fate

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire in a destroyed apartment building after a Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024.

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire in a destroyed apartment building after a Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024. AP PHOTO/EFREM LUKATSKY

Published: 01-11-2024 4:32 PM

Modified: 01-11-2024 6:45 PM


Recent guest columnist John Haag addressed Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine asserting it was “essential to empathize with Russia’s national security concerns” [“A call for peace: Ending the war in Ukraine,” Gazette, Jan. 5]. Putin would agree. This was an invasion of a sovereign nation’s internationally recognized borders. Was Ukraine’s possible entry into NATO a factor for the invasion? A Ukrainian would call this contention a fairy tale. More than a few Americans would disagree with the NATO argument. What of Putin’s desire to restore the Soviet empire and domination over other nations? And Putin’s fear of Ukrainian democracy? Russia’s history with Ukraine is not good. The Holomodor: Stalin’s 1930s deliberate famine that killed at least four million Ukrainians. Was Putin’s invasion of Georgia and Crimea about NATO?

This war is about the destruction of Ukraine and its culture. Russia steals Ukrainian art, destroys churches and kidnaps thousands of Ukrainian children for their “re-education.” Russia has raped, tortured, murdered, and targeted apartment houses, schools, theaters, cafes, shopping malls and maternity hospitals. Remember Bucha? Russia’s fear of NATO? And the fears of the Baltic States for Russian expansionism? Sweden and Finland have sought NATO membership. Why? The Ukrainians continue to fight for their identity, independence and freedom. America and the West must continue their aid. Without it, we know what would befall Ukraine. And the Ukrainians know. Diplomacy, yes. Suggest this to Putin. Who decides which Ukrainian land is ceded to Russia? This war is terrible. But what of the subjugation of a once free people? Let us work for a just peace.

Robert Freedman

Florence

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