Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya (L) argues with protesters during rally against Russian President Vladimir Putin in front of the Russian embassy in Kiev on June 14, 2014. Some 300 people overturned vehicles of the embassy staff, tore down the Russian flag from the flagpole and threw eggs at the building in protest after pro-Russian rebels killed 49 Ukrainian troops by downing a military plane in the deadliest attack against federal forces in the two-month insurgency. AFP PHOTO/ YURIY KIRNICHNY
By all means, let’s condemn the vandals’ attack on the Russian Embassy in Kyiv on June 14. Let’s criticize Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia for calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “dickhead” as he tried to quell those June 14 protests in Kyiv. Although, in fairness to Deshchytsia, “dickhead” is really one of the mildest terms that could apply to the Kremlin murderer-in-chief.
But, for goodness sake, these two offenses are not the moral equivalent of shooting down a plane filled with 49 men and killing them all. It’s nothing compared to launching a violent campaign of destabilization in two eastern Ukrainian provinces home to 15 percent of the nation’s population, or taking at gunpoint the Crimean peninsula, home to another 5 percent of the nation.
Putin’s separatists gave Ukraine yet another national Day of Mourning. How many have we had in the last year? I am losing count. I do know that the murders bring to 115 the number of Ukrainian servicemen killed, slightly more than the number of EuroMaidan Revolution demonstrators killed, allegedly on the orders of overthrown President Viktor Yanukovych.
But while vandalizing cars and calling someone a bad name does not equate to mass murder, you’d hardly know it by the similar wordings of statements that applied to all three incidents. In fact, some Westerners merely expressed great concern about the murders of Ukrainians while strongly condemning the vandalism outside the Russian Embassy in Kyiv.
No wonder Ukrainians — and anybody else who understands what is happening — are frustrated beyond words.
So, as much as I hope to be proven wrong, there will be more Days of Mourning in Ukraine, meaning more people killed, until Russia gives up its military campaign and returns Crimea to Ukraine. There will be more violence until the West stops issuing statements of great concern and starts isolating and sanctioning Putin’s Russia for the outlaw regime that it has become.
I am coming to the conclusion that Western government and business leaders will deny any amount of evidence or reality of Russia’s war against Ukraine simply because they cowardly want to keep making money from energy deals and other trade with the Kremlin.
The West has overlooked: Russia’s forcible annexation of Crimea; the attacks killing nearly 300 and leaving thousands of internal refugees in Ukraine’s eastern oblasts; the harboring of Ukraine’s fugitive former government, including alleged mass murderers and thieves; the denigration of Ukraine’s leaders and the entity known as the Ukrainian nation.
The price for Putin has been so laughably small that he will keep waging his war because he knows the West — and the Ukrainian army — are not going to stand in his way. Diplomats who tell you that Putin is feeling the pressure should be told they are living in a fantasy world.
Ukraine will pay the biggest price again in all of this, just as it has done through the centuries, because of its unfortunate geographic proximity to Russia.
But the West will also suffer a lot, soon and for a long time, more so until it finally discovers that the evil intentions of Putin and the hatred that he is stirring up against democratic nations in the world must be stopped.
Kyiv Post chief editor Brian Bonner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Bonner: Kyiv Post