From Shaman’s Rock
By Jim Poling Sr.
IF I THROW stones at my neighbours relaxing on their backyard patio, other neighbours witnessing the crime will rush in to stop me. If I take wire cutters and cut the power lines bringing light, heat and electricity to cook food, police will take away my cutters, put me in handcuffs and drag me off for punishment.
Sad Vlad Putin continues to fire hundreds of missiles into Ukraine, killing thousands of civilians, but Ukraine’s friends and neighbours have done nothing to stop him.
Some countries have imposed sanctions, but these are aimed at damaging the Russian economy and have not stopped the killing. It’s like taking credit cards away from a mass murderer.
More than 6,500 Ukrainian civilians have been murdered by Russian armed forces and their weapons since Russia invaded the country in February. That figure comes from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Ukraine prosecutor general says that 437 children have been killed and 853 wounded in the Russian onslaught. Another 200 to 300 have gone missing and thousands have been deported to Russia, some of them put up for adoption.
Nicholas Kristof, a respected American journalist, reported last week that some Ukrainian children were enticed by Russian occupiers to attend a free summer camp. They were taken to Russia and not seen since. This is a war against Ukrainian civilians. Putin wants to eliminate their country, their language and their culture. (Sound familiar?) He wants them to be Russians living on land transformed into Russia.
The Kremlin admits it is making civilians suffer, but only because their government refuses to submit to Moscow’s wishes. Putin is bombing and shelling Ukrainian apartment buildings so the people have no place to live. He has bombed infrastructure that provides light, heat and water. By depriving them of food, shelter, and warmth he hopes to terrify them into accepting Russia.
As of the first week of November, 7.8 million Ukrainians have had to flee their county, according to the UN. This has created Europe’s largest refugee crisis since the Second World War. No country has taken any direct action to stop Putin’s massacre for one reason –fear. Putin has threatened nuclear war if any country tries to stop him from overrunning Ukraine. We are all terrified that he will start setting off the Big Ones.
Maybe he will. Maybe he won’t. But we should not let his nuclear bomb threats stop the world from taking whatever action is needed to end Russian atrocities in Ukraine. If Putin’s nuclear gambit is successful, and he destroys Ukraine without other countries trying to stop him, he will have encouraged other nuclear-armed totalitarian states.
China continues to threaten Taiwan. North Korea continues to threaten South Korea and others by test firing missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to North America. The longer Putin is allowed to get away with his Ukraine savagery, the more these others smile, thinking: “If Putin can get away with it, so can we.”
Yes, stopping Putin could start a nuclear war. We’ve been living with nuclear fear since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis when the Soviet Union began installing nuclear missiles sites in Cuba. Our nuclear anxiety heightens as more totalitarian regimes, ruled by psychopaths like Putin, develop nuclear capabilities.
The question for the world is clear: Do we continue to tsk, tsk the Russian killing, maiming and overall horrid suffering inflicted on innocent Ukraine civilians and their children? Or, do we step in with military or whatever else it takes to stop Putin’s massacre and risk nuclear war?
It is immoral to stand by watching the horrors of Russia’s war on Ukrainian civilians. World leaders appear to be hoping that Russians themselves stop the war against Ukrainians.
There is an anti-war movement in Russia, but anyone hoping it will stop Putin is only dreaming. Restrictions on protests, including arrests and jail time, have resulted in it being ineffective.
Many Russians who do not support the invasion of Ukraine have moved from their homeland because they cannot speak out against it. Close to one million Russian citizens and residents are said to have emigrated, many fearing criminal prosecution for opposing the invasion or being conscripted to fight in the war.