Armed invasions don’t have “golden middles,” blaming victims encourages evil

Unmarked Russian troops near Perevelnoye in Crimea in 2014. Photo: AFP

Unmarked Russian troops near Perevelnoye in Crimea in 2014. Photo: AFP 


Article by: Alexander Scherba, ambassador of Ukraine to Austria

When people in the West talk about Ukraine, they usually say “probably, the truth lies somewhere in the middle” and “both sides are guilty there.” When I hear this, I can’t remain silent.

First, placing equal responsibility on the victim and the aggressor is at least unfair.

After all, it’s not Ukrainian citizens with Ukrainian arms in their hands under Ukrainian flags on Russian soil – it’s just exactly the opposite. What is this if not aggression and war? Blaming Ukraine for Russia’s attack in 2014 is the same as blaming Poland for Germany’s attack in 1939.

The war began with the landing of Putin’s “green men” in the Crimea in February 2014. At the insistence of the West, Ukraine did not resist. As a result, the so-called “referendum” was held in a few days under the barrel of Russian troops. Even Hitler once took longer to annex Austria.

Blaming Ukraine for Russia’s attack in 2014 is the same as blaming Poland of Germany’s attack in 1939.

Ukraine begged for peace – to no avail. Then, events started unfolding under similar scenarios in other regions of the country. “Green men” appeared out of nowhere and ousted the legitimate authorities, creating instead the so-called “People’s Republics.” The founders of these republics were Russian citizens, former or active employees of the Russian special services, Boroday, Strelkov (Girkin), Petrovsky, Bezler and other “creators” of this war. The same people who are now honored in Moscow as national heroes.

Leaders of terrorism in Ukraine

Read more: Don’t call terrorists in eastern Ukraine “rebels” because they are not

For over three months – from February to May – we begged Russia for peace, watching as our first blood was spilled (Reshat Ametov in Crimea, Volodymyr Rybak in Horlivka and many others). Only in June did the active phase of the so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation begin. Only after 3 months did Ukraine start to defend herself.

Today the situation has relatively stabilized – thanks to sanctions, and because Putin finally understood: Ukraine will not become easy prey.

Earlier, dozens were dying every day. Today – only single people. Nevertheless, the war continues. After all, the Russian government is not aiming for Donbas. It aims to control all of Ukraine as its zone of influence. That Ukraine will never tolerate, and never accept.

Therefore, Putin presented the world his new plan: reintegrating destroyed Donbas as a part of Ukraine – as a Russian springboard, and on Russian conditions. That is, with authorities that were implanted by Russia, and with a virtually non-existent Ukrainian-Russian border.

We, Ukrainians, will not agree to this. We need fair elections with the participation of Ukrainian representatives. We need control over our own borders. We need to return the 1.5 million refugees who had to leave their native Donbas – not least because of the pro-Ukrainian position – back home.

If this really happens, the Donbas will receive the special status which is so fervently discussed in Russia and which adopted by Parliament in first reading in the autumn of 2014. This status will give Donbas wide powers regarding language, trade relations and the distribution of tax payments.

But we will not succumb to Russian pressure and turn Donbas into a formation which is Ukrainian de jure but de facto under control of Moscow. This will never happen. Too many people have given their lives to now agree to such a creeping surrender.

Now on sanctions.

After the annexation of the Crimea and the beginning of this abominable hybrid war of Russia against Ukraine, sanctions were for the sole line which the West drew between good and evil, between right and wrong.

If sanctions are acknowledged a mistake and canceled, it means only one thing: the West sees no difference between good and evil, right and wrong.

The sanctions appeared for a reason – they are a response to the unbelievable decisions of Russia. We all, the whole of Europe, are paying the price for these decisions. The West is paying with lost jobs. Ukraine is paying with lost and damaged lives. We feel the pain of the West and appreciate the support. But we hope that we can count on the sympathy and support from the West.

shcherbaOleksandr Scherba is Ukraine’s ambassador to Austria



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  • Quartermaster

    Traditionally, Germany has had little sympathy with the victims of war and has done business regardless of the consequences elsewhere. Germany materials and equipment for Iraq’s nuclear program were intercepted numerous times. They simply don’t care.

  • Terry Washington

    Rememebr those “leaders of terrorism in the Ukraine” names- it will come in useful when they are indicted and sit in the dock at the hague!

    • Czech Mate

      bullet and a ditch is all they should ever get, history will prosecute them regardless.

      But waste resources on a such a scum? No way!

      • Terry Washington

        Following your argument, (favoured significantly by BOTH Stalin and Churchill), all German and Japanese war criminals should have been shot out of hand rather than put on trial- I beg to disagree; we cannot use Stalinist style”sausage machine” justice even for those we most passionately despise- fiat rua justitia caelum- let justice be done though the very heavens fall!

        • Czech Mate

          well, I guess you are coming out of place, that it would somehow prevent the ruSSkies from ever being bad again.

          I think it is the exact opposite as they are indeed savage in their heads, it’s gene thing coupled with the live of tyranny, those of them who survived are no good guys or brave men.

          So yea, I’d like a trial but not here, maybe later post mortem. The first and main goal is to rid the world from evil that is intent on causing harm.

          • Terry Washington

            I DON’T think that there is some kind of inherent gene “for tyranny” amongst Russians- any more than there is for Germans or Japanese- although Russia has a long standing history of autocratic rule under both Czarist, Soviet and post Soviet regime- it is also worth noting that there is ALSO a tradition of opposition to such rule dating from the Decembrists in 1825 to the dissidents of today!

          • Czech Mate

            but you cannot deny that the number of their elites killed by commies in 20th century is unprecedented and certainly helped shape their national psyche today.

          • Terry Washington

            Societies change- look at the Germans and Japanese of today as compared to their predecessors of the 1930s and 40s- or the US of George Washington’s time to that of Barack Obama’s!

          • Czech Mate

            but I really do believe ruSSkies are way way behind and it will take much more time if ever because what has Putin done among other of his crimes? Yes, he put the ruSSki clock backwards…

  • Czech Mate

    Absolutely brilliant, I applaud the author although I wish he would never have to written this in a first place!

    This text should be a PRIMER on the Putin’s ruSSki invasion of Ukraine.

  • zorbatheturk

    More sanctions.

    • Styx

      on your fornication activities.