Ukraine dispatch: ‘This is genocide in the heart of Europe in the 21st century.’ Dispatches
State Emergency Services of Ukraine
Ukraine dispatch: ‘This is genocide in the heart of Europe in the 21st century.’
Law students and young lawyers in Ukraine are filing for JURIST on the latest developments in that country as it defends itself against Russian invasion. Here, Ukrainian lawyer and University of Pittsburgh LLM graduate Taras Shablii files this from Lviv in view of the upcoming address of Ukrainian President Zelensky to the US Congress on Wednesday. 
Russia planned to take over the Ukrainian cities and the country’s government in just a few days. The plan failed miserably due to several reasons. One of the important ones is the significant support that Ukraine got from the US and EU. Russia’s staggering losses are the best confirmation that Javelins and NLAWs were put to good use. Sanctions are also very effective at dismantling their economy. Unfortunately, this is not even nearly enough.
This is not a regular war against a reasonable enemy that desires territory, power, influence, or resources. In Putin’s mind Ukraine is not a real country and Ukrainians have no right to exist. Through his horrible war machine Putin makes it clear that there are no red lines when it comes to acting on those beliefs. Ukraine already experienced over 1500 civilian casualties by the most modest calculations, over a hundred of which were children. Russians target apartment buildings, hospitals, kindergartens, medical workers, social workers, press, humanitarian convoys, rescue missions. They hit our cities: Kyiv, Kherson, Kharkiv, Sumy, Okhtyrka, Chernihiv, Mariupol, Mykolaiv and others. Airstrikes, cluster bombs, vacuum bombs, heavy artillery are used to inflict the maximum amount of damage possible. Putin already hinted at future use of biological, chemical and even nuclear weapons.
This is not a military operation, not even a war. These are horrendous acts of terror, carried out by a war criminal. This is genocide in the heart of Europe in the 21st century.
The US, NATO, and EU have given Ukraine tremendous financial and military support. There are unprecedented sanctions. Yet it is now becoming obvious that while effective, none of this really helps to prevent the staggering loss of human lives. None of it helps to stop Putin and de-escalate this aggression. Ukraine needs heavy anti-aircraft defense weapons, Ukraine needs fighter jets, Ukraine needs more heavy defense systems. Yet the US and NATO are tip-toeing around Putin’s red lines afraid to offend him and escalate this even further. This position simply does not work against Russians. Besides, since when does the US negotiate with terrorists? Where are your red lines? How many more peaceful Ukrainians need to die from Russian airstrikes? Another hundred, two or maybe three?
Ukrainians see clearly that nothing the US and NATO does or does not do will prevent Putin from escalating this further and moving beyond Ukraine. He simply cannot be trusted and must be stopped. Sanctions are nice, but what really works is weapons. It is high time we all stop lying to ourselves and learn a lesson from history: Putin will stop at nothing no matter the cost. We ask that the US walks the talk and actually steps up to stand WITH Ukraine and not just BEHIND us.
I lived in the US for over 7 years and know that we share a common value: freedom. It is time to be brave. It is time to be like Ukrainians and actually stand WITH Ukraine. Every voice matters. I urge you to pick up your phone and call your senator. The message is simple: give Ukraine the weapons it asks for.
As Winston Churchill said to President Roosevelt when Britain was fighting Hitler all alone in early 1941: “Give us the tools, and we’ll finish the job!”