‘This ruthless onslaught is at its core about greed and racism’

‘This ruthless onslaught is at its core about greed and racism’

VERNON — As Russian forces are poised to take control of Ukraine, I am reminded of the endless stories told around the dinner table about the torture Ukrainians have endured at the hands of Russia.

I am all too familiar with the famine that left as many as 3.9 million Ukrainians to starve to death as the Russian soldiers and clergy took food from the pantries of my relatives.

Animals were fed the food in front of them as they watched. I am all too familiar with the martial law that restricted and incarcerated my relatives, often leading to a tortured and early death.

To be part of the current story of Russian forces trying to take control of 44 million citizens and their land is probably one of the most painful and horrible stories of my life to date.

Enduring and enduring. This is the soul of the Ukrainian people.

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As President Volodymyr Zelenskyy(1) gives press conference after press conference in an army shirt, unable to write down his speech because his country is “beyond paper,” my heart is humbled with him in his struggle to survive, as he asks to be an equal in modern Europe today.

Short of begging, President Zelenskyy is asking the world to show the strength of the Ukrainians who are fist fighting in the streets with armed Russian soldiers.

At Ukrainian mass at the church my grandparents help build, the priest spoke of the modern tortures occurring daily now: kindergartners killed in their school, kids shot trying to get water, women taking arms, and kids learning to make bombs if they have not fled with their parents.

Russian soldiers have been given the command to shoot any Ukrainian.

To Russian soldiers, Ukrainian lives have no value.

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While my efforts to help are restricted to prayer, electronic transfers, and talking about the crisis as it unfolds, it is critical to let people know that this ruthless onslaught is, at its core, about greed and racism.

I also want the world to know about the fiercely independent, strong-willed souls who fight a dictator not interested in their lives but soullessly in their land.

In an apathetic and overstimulated world of busy people, it is easy to not see the danger that lurks. The danger that Russia will enslave, kill, and remove the rights of people based upon their heritage is real, it is here, and it is now.

Freedom comes at a cost. While it is easy to underestimate freedom and take it for granted in this country, no Ukrainian around the globe does so in these dark times. Ukrainians are fighting for their rights, their freedom, their survival, and to be equal members of Europe. The cost is great and even greater if we fail.

Human lives are tolls that are racking up and up for the Russian soldiers' families and for Ukrainians, who fearlessly and without hesitation are attacking their enemy.

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With this death toll comes a great divide. The solution that our political leaders offer is financial sanctions, debilitating the most vulnerable of Russian society: the regular people, the elderly, the sick, and the children.

These choices decapitate the regular person in a slow and painful manner, like a dull guillotine. These sanctions will not harm a powerful oligarch with hidden and ample reservoirs of money but will increase the wait times for necessary supplies, food, and medicines if available. We will be witnesses to suffering on a completely new level.

It is difficult to choose sides when a war is being waged because lives are at stake. In this case, however, the answer is clear: Russia must be stopped trying to murder and take the lives of every Ukrainian. Russia's genocidal rampage must not be tolerated by the world.

Action is needed to support the demilitarized Ukraine and stop the lambs from being led down the path to holocaust.

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