The brutality that Putin has unleashed against Ukraine is an attack on the West.
Falsely claiming that he is being threatened, Putin has chosen to ravage a country which, having been enslaved by the Soviet Union, now choses to commit to a world of freedom.
He has resorted to all manner of lies. Called the Ukrainian government ‘Nazis’, said that Ukraine’s effort to fend off attacks by Russian separatists in the Donbas region are an act of genocide against the Russian people.
But Ukrainians need only look to their neighbor to see what they will become if they continue to live under the boot of Putin and his supporters.
As I write, more Russian forces advance on Kyiv which is being bombed and where street fighting is raging.
The images of their suffering touches all of us deeply.
Both Ukrainian men and women have volunteered to fight for their land, to resist, to put obstacles in the path to the invaders.
They are willing to face the trained soldiers of a clearly more powerful army no matter what the consequences. In the photos that reach us there they are, holding guns in their hands, their souls looking at us directly and asking, why?
Those brave volunteers that we see standing in the photos may be dead in the next hours.
Protests rallies have sparked all over the world. The blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag is worn proudly by protesters and displayed on buildings or in night lighting.
Ukrainian men and women living in Poland are choosing to return to Ukraine to defend their land.
Volodymyr Zelensky has bravely called on all willing to join the struggle. ‘Wherever you are, come help us.’
His cry ‘What use will the sanctions be after they bomb us?’ resonates in the hearts and minds of those who are in a position to change things.
His pressure has had effects. Now Putin has been included in the list of those being sanctioned after a more cautious approach proved futile. Restrictions on Russia’s banking have been stiffened. But nothing has stopped him so far. And perhaps nothing will.
But the West needs to go where it hurts.
The West needs to go all out and completely stop the buying of oil and gas from Russia.
Putin has gambled, that the West will support Ukraine but stop short if its sanctions hurt our economy.
But it is not only Ukraine but the West that is under attack.
This is the time to act and accept the inflationary pressures that will come from energy shortages and their impact on economic production.
Now is the time to act.
China, in its stance to stand by Russia, tells us clearly who and what they value. That is what their government is. They will do whatever they can to weaken the West, even though they are now where they are now partly because of what the West has contributed to their development.
But they are thinking ahead and planning to do in Taiwan what Russia is now doing in Ukraine.
Like Russia, the Chinese are governed by leaders who are enemies of free speech. Leaders who think nothing of squashing the democracy movement in Hong Kong or ruthlessly suppressing the Uyghur people in Xinjiang province.
This is a time for the West to act decisively.
There will be economic pain if we stop purchasing oil and gas from Russia but a world order will be staunchly defended by such action.
This is the time to start isolating Putin.
This is the time for him to pay the consequences of his brutality. A brutality that has been in full display in his backing of Assad in Syria and other countries.
He reasons that his ambitions are worth whatever the cost in human lives. He doesn’t care.
But he is not Russia.
And Russia is not Putin. There are great people in Russia, a land with a vast pool of talent as seen in their creativity, scientific and cultural.
As we speak, Russians are also struggling under the boot of a ruthless tyrant.
We believe in the power of men and women. And men and women everywhere long for freedom. In Russia, in China, in Syria, in Venezuela, all over the world. The task is to aid them in breaking the chains that have been placed upon them by cruel leaders thinking only of their own benefits.
Cutting off Russia from the oil markets in the West will have an enormous negative impact on their economy. And Russians will choose between remaining under Putin’s boot, or joining with the rest of the world, a world that is eager and open to embrace them.
This is the time to place the severest sanctions on Russia for we are under attack.
President Zelensky’s statement, ‘What use will the sanctions be after they bomb us?’ should be our collective battle cry.
This is the time to act.
Before more and more people are killed and subjugated.
Putin will not change. He is who he is. He has placed his bet.
We have to place ours.
‘What use will the sanctions be after they bomb us?’
Oscarvaldes.net anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts, medium.com