It just keeps getting worse. When the Russians launched their “military special operation”. Ukrainemost people condemned the move, but also accepted that it would all be over in a few days, a few weeks at most.
ow, as Putin’s insanity drags itself into its second month, we are witnessing horror scenes previously unimaginable in a European country.
The footage and testimonies that have poured out of the recently liberated city of Bucha in recent days owe more to the Nazi task forces of World War II than to modern Europe in 2022.
We’ve gone beyond “just” slaughtering. We have gone beyond “mere” war crimes. Now we have moved fully into genocidal territory.
What can we do to prevent this hellscape from escalating and taking more lives?
Well, the truth is – not much. Aside from the simple generosity of so many Irish people who have donated or opened their homes to Ukrainian refugees, the average citizen is always powerless in such situations.
This is where the big guns come into play.
It was announced yesterday without much fanfare that Ursula von der Leyen would visit Kyiv later this week, but it’s hard to tell how much comfort that will bring to Volodymyr Zelensky, who is scheduled to address Dáil today.
After all, the Ukrainian leader has been vocal in his demands for additional military equipment and seems increasingly resentful of words of support and loving wishes when he really needs a new battery of anti-tank weapons and as many fighter jets can be mustered.
However, the latest tranche of EU sanctions was also announced yesterday. As part of the fifth wave of sanctions, the European Commission announced a total ban on imports of Russian coal, a series of measures against Russia’s four largest banks and a ban on Russian and Belarusian ships from docking in EU ports.
In the meantime, however, Europe still depends on Russian oil and gas.
It’s all well and good to talk about a total ban on Russia’s exports, including oil and gas, but is there much point condemning us to blackouts and darkness when oil and gas are only bought by China, Saudi Arabia and India?
But what we’ve seen in recent weeks also confirms what many critics of the EU have been saying for years – that it’s simply too sclerotic and bureaucratic to adequately deal with a disaster on its eastern border.
Let’s put it this way, the EU’s response has been so muddled and contradictory that it has managed, to its own chagrin, to make Boris Johnson look good.
Johnson received thanks from Zelensky for providing “historic guidance” before then condemning France and Germany for “14 years of concessions to Putin.”
With France and Germany in particular paying attention to power shortages, Poland has been harsh in its criticism of the EU’s two biggest beasts.
Poles fear a Putin victory in Ukraine because they believe they are next on his list. Some Western observers consider that highly unlikely given their NATO membership, but considering that people in eastern Poland can hear Russian artillery from a few kilometers away, they can hardly be blamed.
That’s why Monday’s news that they are now ready to allow US tactical nuclear missiles to be stored on their soil caused such concern. This meant that nuclear proliferation, so long thought to be a relic of bygone times, has now returned with a vengeance. The French and Germans oppose such a move. The Poles told them bluntly that they didn’t care.
We are all familiar with the expression ‘too big to fail’, but in the case of the EU one could say that it is simply too big to succeed.
Too many of the 27 member states have diametrically opposed goals.
Basking in the success of his fourth election victory, Viktor Orban is close to Putin and is on a collision course with the EU over any oil and gas sanctions he wants to scuttle.
The fact that the EU recently withheld much-needed funds from Hungary as punishment for “undemocratic behavior” has only pushed Orban closer to Moscow, and while he increasingly finds himself an isolated figure on the European stage, even his former allies, the Poland, angered by his reluctance to condemn Putin – he is still in a powerful position to prevent serious action against Russia.
But the EU is not the only large multinational organization caught on the wrong foot by current events. There are proposals in the United Nations to exclude Russia from the UN Human Rights Commission.
While this is an obvious step, why not take it a step further and consider excluding it from the UN entirely? What else is the point of the UN?
The only big ace up his sleeve for Putin is that he doesn’t have to deal with that pesky thing called democracy. As we see in the current EU situation, democratic institutions can be messy and unwieldy compared to the mad fever dreams of a man who has no opposition.
This will get much worse before it gets better – Ukrainians have heard rumors of even more and worse atrocities in areas yet to be liberated.
The concern is that we are seeing evidence of a war crime so heinous and grotesque, so utterly egregious, that there are renewed calls for a no-fly zone.
When that happens, the first time we see a Russian plane being shot down by a US or British fighter jet is the time to run to the bunker.
This invasion started badly for Putin and has since gone downhill. But there’s one phrase I can’t shake out of my head – beware the last sting of the dying wasp.
Because this spike could be shaped like a mushroom cloud.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/putin-doesnt-have-to-deal-with-that-messy-pesky-cumbersome-thing-called-democracy-41524316.html Putin doesn’t have to deal with that messy, tiresome, cumbersome thing called democracy