Talk of Western fatigue is misplaced when a Russian military victory would threaten European security and lead to a human rights crisis of genocide in Ukraine last seen three decades ago in Yugoslavia. Would the West stand by and allow a conquering Russian army to murder tens or even hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in what the Kremlin describes as the pursuit of ‘denazification’ of Ukraine?
Indeed, talk of Western fatigue is misplaced when the Kremlin is intent on destroying the Ukrainian state, a founding member of the UN, and erasing Ukrainians from the map of Europe. 89% of Ukrainians believe Russia’s military actions constitute genocide and nearly half of Ukrainians describe Putin’s regime as fascist and Nazi. Western legal scholars describe Putin’s invasion policies as constituting war crimes and genocide.
The Stakes for Europe if Ukraine Losses
If Western fatigue allowed Ukraine to be defeated, Russia would occupy the second-largest country in Europe and install a pro-Kremlin satrap, like Belarusian acting President Alexander Lukashenka. Europe would be then faced with two Russian satellite states acting as launch pads for Putin’s proxy war against the West. Ukraine has nearly five times as big a population as Belarus and borders four NATO and EU members.
The threat to European security and the danger of a slide to war between NATO and Russia would grow. A Russian victory in Ukraine would encourage Putin to undermine NATO’s collective defense by launching hybrid warfare against the three Baltic states. Putin’s first targeted Estonia, then already a NATO member, as far back as 2007 in a massive cyber-attack. Lithuania would be Putin’s second target because of its strong support given to Ukraine and daring to introduce sanctions by blockading the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
Russia’s defeat of Ukraine would lead to genocide on a scale far greater than in Yugoslavia three decades ago. Prior to the invasion, US intelligence warned the Kremlin had compiled ‘Kill Lists’ of Ukrainian elites. The Nazi’s and Stalinists excelled at decapitating a country’s ability to function by murdering their intellectual, cultural, political, and civil societal elites. Ukrainians summarily executed in Bucha with their hands tied behind their backs are a glaring reminder of the 1940 Katyn massacre of Polish officers by Stalin’s secret police.
A Nightmare for Ukraine
Within Ukraine, the Kremlin’s so-called ‘denazification’ would lead to the incarceration and killing of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians that would dwarf what took place in Srebrenica in 1995 when Serb paramilitaries murdered 8,000 Bosnian Muslims.
There is clear evidence in Ukraine today to support this. ‘Denazification’ during Russia’s brief occupation of the Kyiv region led to the torture and murder of over 1,000 Ukrainians. 500 Ukrainian women and children were raped by Russian occupation forces after their many others were murdered.
An estimated 50,000 Ukrainians have died in Russian-occupied Mariupol and southern Ukraine where kidnappings, torture, and killings are commonplace. Putin justified his illegal invasion of Ukraine to end a mythical ‘genocide’ of Russian speakers, and yet, it his army that is murdering Russian speakers in southeastern Ukraine.
Filtration camps set up to process internally displaced Ukrainians are replicas of those used by the Nazis and Stalinists. The Kremlin has deported over one million Ukrainians to Russia, including 300,000 children in an act of ethnic cleansing that draws on Stalin’s experience of dealing with ‘troublesome’ peoples.
The West should not, therefore, contemplate any sort of fatigue in the aftermath of Russia’s horrendous missile attack on a supermarket in the central Ukrainian city of Krememchuh and market in Slovyansk which deliberately targeted civilians. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the Kremenchuh attack ‘callous and cowardly’ while French President Emmanuel Macron condemned it an ‘abomination.’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made the strongest statement, ‘the Russian state has become the largest terrorist organisation in the world.’ The terrorist attacks may spur the US to add Russia to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, alongside North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Cuba.
Although we are right to condemn these two cowardly terrorist attacks, they are not Russia’s first use of terror during its illegal invasion of Ukraine. The port city of Mariupol has been destroyed by Russian missiles, artillery, and tanks. The cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy have been relentlessly attacked and damaged. Russia’s military campaign in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine has destroyed a region that was once Ukraine’s most populated and industrialized.
A Larger Crisis Seems Likely
A Russian occupation of Ukraine would create even greater flows of refugees than after Russia’s invasion when an estimated 12 million Ukrainians became internally displaced and fled their country. Such large numbers would lead to a national crisis in European countries bordering Ukraine like Poland. Since the invasion two in three Ukrainian children have fled their homes. Nearly 400 children have died in the invasion with at least two children killed every day and many more wounded.
The West cannot allow talk of fatigue to lead to a Russian victory which would represent an existentialist threat to European security and Western democracies and provide Putin with the means to implement his genocidal goal of destroying Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation.
Taras Kuzio is a professor of political science at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy and the author of the just-published Russian Nationalism and the Russian-Ukrainian War.
July 8, 2022 at 10:56 am
The professor’s exposition is reasonable (although there are omissions & exaggerations). The nation-state of Ukraine is, indeed, in dire straits.
But history needs to be respected, too.
The 2014 coup of a duly elected president started the present crisis. The eastern region of Ukraine objected to the coup. A war resulted and Ukraine failed to subdue the breakaway region. As part of stopping the bloodshed the Minsk II agreement was signed by Ukraine. We now know that was entered into in bad faith as admitted by former President Poroshenko, as a “time buying” device.
For the next eight years, Ukraine engaged in indiscriminate shelling of the Donbas resulting in over 10,000 deaths, mostly of eastern Ukrainians in the breakaway regions. Many people consider this as terror-bombing. In the days before Russia’s invasion & war, this indiscriminate shelling increased to over a thousand in one day — that is not activity consistent with an effort to avoid war. Indeed, if you wanted to force a war, that is the conduct to engage in.
Professor, I know you support your country.
But the Ukrainian People have a choice: Sue for peace, now, or risk the destruction of Ukraine.
The collective West doesn’t have the weapons to inexhaustively supply Ukraine in a never ending meat grinder. Ukrainians were led down a “primrose path” by corrupt, western, elites bent a a cynical plan to “weaken” Russia using Ukraine as a launch pad.
Tough choices must be faced by the Ukrainian People before it is too late.
July 8, 2022 at 1:04 pm
Well, your comment is nothing but a string of Russian propaganda lies.
1) There was no “coup” in 2014. Previous to 2014, a Russian puppet regime controlled Ukraine. Finally, in 2014, the puppet regime was replaced with a Ukrainian government. The only ones who believe 2014 was a coup are Russians who simply repeat the Russian lies.
2) Russia started an attempt to take over the Donbas in 2014, and your numbers of people killed are complete lies – the same lies the Russian government tries to peddle. You obviously are too lazy to look up the easily found real numbers. The Russian instigated and backed violence in the Donbas was brought about entirely by Russia, who, either through Russian soldiers or their puppet regime, shelled Ukrainian towns and civilians. The Ukrainians returned the fire. A grand total of 3,000 civilians were caught in the crossfire on both sides and killed. Even higher numbers of Russian military, fake breakaway militia military and Russian soldiers were killed. But no sane person doubts that none would have been killed if Russia had not tried to seize the Donbas back then. Your baloney about the increase to 1,000 per day is simple russian propaganda. You seem totally unable to think for yourself, or even use the internet to check Russian claims.
3) The Russians broke the Minsk agreement as soon as they signed it. That much is very clear, and easily found to be true by a simple search on the internet. Did you think you could just lie about everything?
4) It’s all the fault of “corrupt Western elites”? That is pure Russian propaganda. Say, have you ever heard of a tiny little man from Russia called Putin, who loves to invade other countries and kill as many civilians as he can? Look him up. You might find some new information interesting.
July 8, 2022 at 1:13 pm
Que mal que ves el panorama. No se necesita ser ruso para leer la historia. No te dejes meter los dedos en la boca con las opiniones de este tipo de columnistas de pacotilla. Mejor lee libros de historia.
July 8, 2022 at 1:44 pm
All lies, huh.
One does think you protest too much.
July 9, 2022 at 3:52 am
Forgive me if I contradict you. I am German and I served 12 years on active duty and 11 years in the reserves as an officer in the German army.
And still I have to say that some of the statements of Mr. Kuzio and of you do not correspond to what many also here in Germany think about the conflict.
For example, what led to the overthrow of an elected president in Kiev in 2014 can certainly be judged as a coup. And it came exactly at the time when this President wanted to slow down the rapprochement with the EU and NATO.
If you take a look at the 2014 election results, you will see that Ukraine is divided into a pro-Western northwest and a pro-Russian southeast.
Quite a few of the people in the Donbass see the arrival of Russian troops as a liberation. This could be seen, for example, in a frontline report on the French television channel France24. Or on Ukrainian social media blogs, where Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers from the west of the country complain that many of the people in the contested areas are hostile to them.
July 8, 2022 at 5:49 pm
NATO’s role of deterring aggression is obsolete. NATO needs to make war on its enemies. Russia is for Russians, but an aggressive military with ambitions beyond its borders is cause for war. Russian as well as other nations’ nuclear forces are not more lethal than ours. Their aggression cannot be allowed to continue based on pleas for weakness and submission from those enchanted by the psychological operations of the aggressors, which have long been insinuated into our societies
July 9, 2022 at 11:43 am
Peace is impossible so long as Putin is President. Logically, peace must be preceded by his removal, one way or another.
July 8, 2022 at 12:35 pm
Dont talk about the Former Yugoslavia. The West and most certainly the UN has a lot of blood on their hands their too. Ukraine is not Yugoslavia. This isnt genocide. This is at this point profiteering by the west and conquest by Russia. If the west hadnt meddled in this theater…none of this would be happening. FACT. Stay in your lane. Funny how again Biden is in office and Russia is in Ukraine. Hmmm
July 8, 2022 at 1:05 pm
Yes, little Russian boy, everyone should let Russia kill tens of thousands of civilians and invade peaceful countries, or Russia will kill even more! You Russians crack me up.
July 9, 2022 at 11:14 am
I am using my name and I am an American citizen. For some reason, I don’t think your name is actually Abraham Lincoln. Who is the Russian bot now? Anyway, I just wanted to express the opinion that this “article” is filled with so many distortions, lies, and omissions that I think it should officially be called propaganda.
CPT K USA
July 8, 2022 at 5:57 pm
I admire your vehement and well-crafted plea for American assistance. How however; is it in America’s national interest to intervene at the levels necessary to pull Ukraine’s chestnuts out of the fire? As an officer in the United States Army, I see no vital interest to the United States in Ukraine, but perhaps you can explain it to me. I see no reason to expect a war of attrition to suddenly favor Ukraine when it has been self evident since before this war began that any positional war of attrition would overwhelmingly favor Russia, nor do I see why the United States should not operate within the confines of reality to advance our own strategic national interest – the containment of communist China. I do not see how joining Russia and China in a formal anti-American alliance benefits this aim strategically, nor why it is our interest to bring Ukraine into NATO.
Perhaps Ukraine should withdraw its attempts to come under American military protection by seeking to join our alliance, and perhaps they should recognize that they are a minor power located in the existential national interest zone of a great power. Were I Ukrainian, I’d make the same arguments as you, and were I Russian, I’d be seeking to remove any possibility of Nato expansion further toward Russian borders… but I am neither, I’m an officer in the American military, and I fail to see how continued intervention in Ukraine to assist Ukraine advances our national interests whatsoever, nor why we as Americans would wish to support Ukraine here to this extent when we would do the same thing as the Russians have if Mexico for instance was seeking to enter an anti-American alliance with Communist China…
Thanks for your article professor.
July 8, 2022 at 6:29 pm
Russian victory is ABSOLUTELY vital and necessary.
Otherwise it’s gonna be a triump for fascism and globalism and war profiteering.
Plus a victory for the dirty evil senile mentally ill man who became president via a rigged election who’s totally out of his mind.
July 8, 2022 at 7:26 pm
This article is full of disinformation. There is zero evidence for most of its claims and the editors should be embarrassed for publishing it. People dying in war is not necessarily a war crime let alone a genocide and the numbers used in this article are fabrications. 50k did not die in Mariupol. Likewise, rape accusations have no substance. Also, what’s wrong with killing Ukrainian Nazis? We did the same in Europe in WW2. There are or were tens of thousands of armed neo Nazis in Ukraine, killing and oppressing Russian citizens in Donbas. This article is useless.
July 8, 2022 at 9:06 pm
The Russians must be stopped. Ukrainians have the willpower and manpower, and the West has sufficient productive capacity to supply sufficient weaponry to eventually make this happen. It may still take a while, and the Russians might still gain some additional ground, but it can and will happen – and far short of a Russian conquest of the whole of Ukraine.
Unfortunately, much as I am on Ukraine’s side, I don’t see the productive capacity of the US and its allies being large enough to enable the massive increase in armaments that would be needed to roll the Russians back to their borders. I don’t blame the Ukrainians for asking for so much, and they are actually being realistic in their estimation of what they would require. However, the productive capacity simply isn’t there. Nor do I see any crash WWII-style program to build that productive capacity up. If we are at all serious about that, we would already be seeing the additional factories being built and the additional workers trained. We are seeing nothing like that, so it can be safely assumed that the massive supply of weapons will not be coming.
The war is going to have to settle into a stalemate and frozen conflict for just that reason. There won’t be a negotiated settlement, either, for the simple reason that any negotiated settlement would require Ukraine to make permanent territorial cessions for a temporary peace. They aren’t fools, and would never agree to such a bad deal. Holding the line while hoping for an eventual Russian collapse is the only reasonable strategy for Ukraine.
July 9, 2022 at 11:12 am
Hope for the best but plan for the worst. What if Russia does not collapse?
July 9, 2022 at 7:55 am
2 compelling perspectives…
July 9, 2022 at 2:59 pm
Ukraine today a perfect example one of Benjamin Franklin saying, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
A country secures it’s essential liberty with military power and sound governance. In 1990, after Ukraine became an independent nation, it had a military of about 780,000 in the armed forces, 6500 armored vehicles, 1100 combat aircraft, 1100 intercontinental missiles, some with tactical nuclear warheads.
The leadership in Ukraine since 1990 divested it’s military power, for safety promises from multiple countries. Bad decisions lead to bad consequences. The results of bad decisions consists of foreign governments meddling in Ukrainian internal affairs, two coups, Orange and Maidan, loss of Crimea in 2014, and in 2022 loss of 20+ percent of their country.
What the author fails to mention is Putin has a proposal for peace on the table since February 2022, but Zelensky is refusing to even come to the table to negotiate, hence military operations will continue, with Ukraine’s negotiating position weakening.
With a peace proposal on the table, why should we (Americans) bail a country which has a string of bad policy decisions since the early 1990s? The other thing the author fails to mention is all the actions he is afraid of happening to Ukraine should the Russia win this war, were actions the Ukrainian government took against its ethnic Russian population predominantly in Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts between 2014 and 2022.