Ukraine in the Third Year of Russia’s Invasion

President Zelensky’s assessment: we are 730  days closer to victory.

I have periodically commented on this war with pictures and accounts from the country.  I believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine February 22, 2022 is an event that will affect Americans for a generation.

A Tutorial Question

My undergraduate major was in international relations.  I took a course two years later at Oxford on European international evens between  WW I  and WW II which explored the origins of the second world war: inevitable or not?

For the final paper my tutor assigned the question, Did the conquering of Poland  (by Germany and Russia) so radically alter the European balance of power that a negotiated peace was  an impossibility from a political and military point of view?

The question arose because there was a period   after Russia & Germany’s division of Poland that brought a relative calm.  This seemed to indicate that further Nazi aggression westward might be avoided, even though England and France had declared war on Germany after the Polish invasion.

My tutor was a graduate student, Martin Gilbert, who had been asked to complete Churchill’s biography after his son Randolph was unable to do so.  I  had to leave college   early(Uncle Sam calling) before he could go over my essay in person.  He wrote me a one-page cover letter as well as marking up my paper.

In his letter he suggested the following  event might  have been cited, which he was aware of because of his work on Churchill’s papers:

You might note that when Russian invaded Finland,  many  western observers hoped to  turn  the war (vs. Germany) against Russia.  The idea being that if France and Britain were at war with Russia, Hitler might join in and the “western” war forgotten.   But these were wild imaginings that would not come to anything—although the Supreme War Council (UK) discussed an Anglo-French war on Russia very seriously in December 1939. 

What does this have to do with Ukraine?   Simply there will always be a time of calm or uncertainty when some will push to accept the current status to avoid further conflict.  One has to understand the nature and motivations of an adversary, not hope for peace at any price.  Churchill never doubted who Hitler was.

If we leave Ukraine and believe we can avoid the consequences of our abandonment, we will, in my view, be involved in greater international crises in the near future.

Why believe that a positive outcome is possible?

A View of a Journalist who Adopted Ukraine

Francis Farrell is an Australian who went to Ukraine a month prior to February 2022.  He became a full time correspondent for The Kyiv Independent a daily digital news organization.

Here are his reflections on this anniversary:

I want to just mention a few little things, a couple of little observations about the Ukraine we live in today.

People sometimes say that life in Kyiv goes on as if there is no war. In my circle of male friends, almost everyone is learning how to build and fly drones, preparing to take the plunge into the military sooner rather than later.

People sometimes say that donations are down. All over my social media, I see the opposite: Ukrainians have built a practice of splitting up large fundraisers between friends, using cards with slick graphics, and see donating not as charity, but as civic duty.

People sometimes say that internally displaced people are being left behind. My friend, alongside a full-time job in marketing, has established a non-profit resettling people they evacuate from front-line settlements to villages in the rear, offering them free housing and revitalizing local economies.

People sometimes say that the free world is abandoning Ukraine. In the space of the past week, three more countries have signed security agreements with Kyiv, and more are on the way.

All we need is for someone on the other side of the Atlantic to shake some sense into a certain House Speaker and Putin will be fuming.

And, of course, people say that Ukraine can never take control of the skies, and that F-16s won’t make a difference. Well, Ukraine is now shooting down Russian planes at a rate not seen since the early months of the full-scale invasion, including, oh hello, what looks like a second priceless A-50 early warning and control jet just a few hours ago!

That’s it from me for now, I was never great at giving lavish speeches on big occasions.

I don’t know what the third year of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine will bring.

A lot of pain and a lot of pride, probably.

What I do know is that I am so grateful for all of you who are still with us, with Ukraine and with the Kyiv Independent. Good night

Pictures of Hope, Courage and Sacrifice


School goes underground

Blown bridges to protect Kyiv in initial days of war

Evacation from Bakhmut

A military cemetary outside Kyiv

The Gerdan Ensemble in a concert of Ukrainian folk and dance music Sunday at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church. All standing for the Ukrainian national anthem.

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