Even if the Russians take over Kyiv, could Putin and his troops win what might become be a long-term guerrilla war in Kyiv? Or hope to control the increasing number of young people in Russia who are taking their lives in their hands to protest the invasion? None of which is meant to suggest it will be easy, or that it won’t be deadly, on both sides, but rather to reaffirm that those who are standing up to the barbarity of it all deserve everyone’s support.
Photo: The Ukrainian president appeared in a video outside his office [Reuters screengrab] (See video below)
26 February 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News
Outstanding coverge continues on AJE and streaming live on YouTube. Their truly seasoned reporters are spread throughout Ukraine. And no offence to Americans, but the coverage is truly Ukraine-centric instead of US-centric.
Below are more personal observations that do not necessarily include NATO or sanctions or foreign leaders. The resolve of the people of Ukraine will once again turn this into a Ukrainian story, not a passing international news item.
From a news sense, I would suggest that yesterday was a turning point in this ‘story.’
If Ukraine had laid down arms and allowed Russian troops to roll into Kyiv, the story may have taken another turn.
Yes, some people are fleeing the country, but the vast majority have remained.
And many have literally ‘taken up arms.’ There is perhaps a sense that Putin may succeed in taking over outlying regions, but will he be able to live with the himself if he does not ‘win’ Kyiv? Not likely.
So, given that no NATO country can risk sending a single soldier into Ukraine directly (a shot fired on that soldier would require other nations to defend said soldier) we will now see a rapid introduction of money and arms sent to Ukraine.
Although many pacifists such a myself might have naturally decried such a move in the past, almost everyone would agree that arms are better than a full-blown war.
The question now may-well become, even if the Russians take over Kyiv: Can Putin and his troops wage what would surely be a long-term guerrilla war in Kyiv?
Or control the young people who are taking their lives in their hands to protest the invasion?
Language means everything. And nothing
One guest on AJE this morning, who I believe was Olexi Haran, explained that Ukraine is and always has been a bilingual country.
Most people, whether Russian or Ukranian, generally and quite naturally speak Ukrainian and Russian.
He said the Kremlin has never understood that if Ukrainian people speak to someone in Russian it does not necessarily mean they support Russia. It just means they were speaking to someone in Russian. Or vice versa.
The important thing to realise, he said, is that if Russians come to Kyiv they will likely not speak Ukrainian and even if they try to do so, everyone knows their native language is Russian because of their accent. So it is not true that Russians can come to Ukraine and pretend to be one of them.
His thoughts were borne out by President Zelenskyy overnight. (26 February 2022)
President urges Ukrainians not to believe in ‘fakes’ about army’s surrender as Russian troops storm towards capital.
26 Feb 2022 | Al Jazeera English
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appeared in a video filmed outside his office in Kyiv, pledging to fight as Russia’s invading forces stormed towards the capital.
“I am here. We will not lay down any weapons. We will defend our state, because our weapons are our truth,” he declared in the clip that was posted on Saturday morning, urging residents not to believe in “fakes” about the surrender of the Ukrainian army.
“A lot of fake information has appeared on the internet saying that I allegedly called on our army to lay down its arms and that evacuation is under way,” he said.
Looking tired but determined, he added: “Our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children and we will protect all of this.
“This is what I wanted to tell you. Glory to Ukraine!”
‘We must withstand’
In an earlier video, Zelenskyy had told his nation that “we must withstand tonight” as he warned of an impending Russian assault in Kyiv and other cities across the country.
“This night will be more difficult than the day. Many cities in our country are under attack. Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, our guys and girls in Donbas, the cities of southern Ukraine and especially Kyiv. We cannot lose the capital,” Zelenskyy said.
“I address our defenders. On all fronts tonight, the enemy will use all of its forces at disposal to break our resistance, dishonourably, cruelly and inhumanely. Tonight they will go on assault. We must all understand what awaits us. We must withstand tonight,” he added.
He claimed that “hundreds” of enemy soldiers had been killed in fighting, but acknowledged that Ukraine had also suffered casualties.
“Our main goal is to end this bloodbath. The enemy is suffering heavy losses – hundreds of soldiers killed who crossed our border and entered our land. Unfortunately, we are also suffering losses. Ukrainians are courageously resisting the aggression which is impossible to justify, so the occupants are forced to invent increasingly absurd accusations, to at least have something to say,” he added.
Zelenskyy also accused Russia of using multiple rocket systems against Ukrainian residential buildings, including a kindergarten.
“Grad (rockets) struck a kindergarten in Vorzel in the Kyiv region. Uragan (rockets) hit Okhtyrka in the Sumy region. Shelling hit residential neighbourhoods, shelters and kindergartens. What is this war against Ukrainian children in kindergarten? Who are they? Are they also ‘neo-Nazis?’ Or are they NATO soldiers who threatened Russia?” Zelenskyy said.
The invasion of Ukraine began early on Thursday with missile strikes on cities and military bases, followed by a multi-pronged ground assault that rolled troops in from separatist-held areas in the east; from the southern region of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014; and from Belarus to the north.
Zelenskyy, who earlier called for a stronger response from the West, said he spoke to leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and United States President Joe Biden.
“We have agreed on more aid, more support, significant support for our state,” he said.
The US, Canada, Britain and the European Union announced further sanctions against Russia on Friday, including against Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.
Russia said the sanctions against the pair were “a demonstration of the complete impotence of the foreign policy” of the West.
“We have reached the line after which the point of no return begins,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Moscow also vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that deplored “in the strongest terms” Russia’s invasion, while China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstained.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES