By Thomas Theiner
Ukraine has been invaded. Anyone who still doubts that a foreign power has begun a war to carve up Ukraine and annex parts of it and then bring the war to Moldova and later Estonia is living in fool’s paradise. Either the government of Ukraine takes bold decisions now and begins to defend the country or by the end of this month, Ukraine will be destroyed as a nation and suffer brutal Russian occupation.
There is no hope that the West will intervene until Ukrainians start to defend their country or until Ukraine forces the West’s hand. So far, Ukraine and the West have both been only reacting to Russian actions – a sign of both their lack of strategic vision and the ruthlessness and effectiveness of Vladimir Putin.
NOW the West and Ukraine must become active – active, aggressive and brave, or they will lose this war. Since the West stupidly ran into a Russian trap by agreeing to “peace talks,” it now falls to Ukraine to lead. And lead it must!
Russia is already threatening to pull out of the “peace talks” if the West enacts further sanctions or if Ukraine uses force to eliminate the Russian Special Forces occupying facilities in eastern Ukrainian. The talks and the Russian threat to pull out only serve to dilute a Western response, while Russia takes over more and more territory. This leaves Ukraine with three choices:
- Surrender and submit once more to being under the Russian yoke.
- Do nothing and surrender piecemeal to the Russian occupier.
- Fight back!
Options 1 and 2 mean that Ukraine will cease to exist and nobody will help. This leaves Ukraine only with option 3. But as the West will happily walk away from Ukraine if it should be the one to fire the first shot and fall quickly. Therefore Ukraine’s activities must now become much more active and aggressive than Putin could ever have imagined.
The government in Kyiv should announce that Ukraine will take these 6 steps within the next 72 hours:
- Destroy all gas pipelines & bomb the Belarusian gas pipeline, thus launching the boycott of Russian energy that the West has refused to undertake until now.
- Flood Ukraine with small arms by arming every patriotic citizen to unleash a massive guerrilla war when Russian forces invade.
- Provide guerrillas with Anti-tank Guided Missiles, Man Portable Air-defense Missiles, mines, explosives and everything else in Ukraine’s arsenal to ensure the guerrillas can resist effectively for years.
- Call on Ukrainians in the West to attack and kill members of the Putin regime, their associates and close relatives.
- Remove uranium from Ukraine’s nuclear reactors and prepare to disperse it in Russia by all means possible—the Budapest Memorandum depriving Ukraine of nuclear power status is clearly moot now.
- Prepare to shell Belgorod with whatever missiles and artillery Ukraine has in its arsenal to flatten that city.
Every single one of these threats will scare Russia and the West equally—but that is the only way Ukraine can save itself now. Ukraine must spur the West into serious and immediate action by threatening to raise the stakes 20-fold in ways that will threaten to bring war to the complacent West. Ukraine also needs to change the calculus in Moscow by showing that it intends to fight this war as ruthlessly as Putin waged war in Chechnya. Anything less will see Ukraine disappear as a nation and a people before spring is over.
These suggestions could lead to all-out war between Russia and Ukraine or to Putin changing his calculation and backing down. Either way it will be better than the Virtual War we are seeing now. In 1940, Italy, with an army 10 times the size of the Greek Army, tried to threaten Greece into submission. When Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas was presented the Italian ultimatum to surrender or face total war Metaxas simply said: Όχι (“No”). It is time Ukraine told Putin Όχι, too.
Thomas Theiner is a writer and production manager. He has previously lived in Kyiv for 5 years and worked at a subsidiary of Ukraine’s biggest film company.