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Four reasons why Ukraine faces existential threat on par with Israel

Mirroring Israel’s eternal struggle for survival, Ukraine is fighting like hell against Putin’s genocidal war machine bent on wiping the very nation off the map.
Four reasons why Ukraine faces existential threat on par with Israel

“They say we must be dead. And we say we want to be alive. Between life and death, I don’t know of a compromise,” Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel. 

Russia’s 20-month war in Ukraine has left many in the West puzzled about its motivations. Meanwhile, amid the new Middle East conflict, there are suggestions in the United States to shift assistance away from Ukraine and focus it solely on Israel.

However, Ukraine, much like Israel, is also facing an existential threat in its war with Russia. Euromaidan Press explains.  

“If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends,” emphasized US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the UN Security Council meeting in September 2022. 

The evidence is clear: the Russian military is mercilessly devastating Ukraine. Alongside this, the genocidal rhetoric emanating from the Kremlin leaves no room for doubt about their evil intentions. Therefore, Kyiv’s belief in the gravity of the Russian campaign to destroy is entirely justified.

“History shows us that we should take dictators at their word. Those who incite genocide usually attempt to follow through. It is not unusual for them to publicize their campaigns through propagandists and media. Adolf Hitler had Joseph Goebbels, Alfred Rosenberg and others doing this work. Putin has Medvedev and the pundits of Russian state media,” American historian Francine Hirsch believes

1. Russia’s explicit goal is to destroy Ukraine as a state

Vladimir Putin, along with other Russian officials and state-controlled media, do not hesitate to declare: Russia seeks the destruction of the Ukrainian state. They view Ukraine as an integral part of Russia, plain and simple.

Three weeks prior to the extensive invasion in Ukraine, after a 5-hour discussion with Emmanuel Macron aimed at convincing Putin to explore diplomatic avenues, Putin disturbingly referenced a vulgar Russian rhyme about necrophiliac rape. This recitation implied an intention to inflict similar destruction on Ukraine and a view of Ukraine as a corpse.

“Whether you like it or don’t like it, bear with it, my beauty,” Putin said.

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev has repeatedly and openly stated the need to destroy the Ukrainian state.

“We must not stop until the current inherently terrorist Ukrainian state is completely dismantled. It must be destroyed completely. Or rather, so that not even ashes remain from it,” Medvedev wrote on Telegram.

Vladimir Medvedev (right) and Vladimir Putin. Photo: comments.ua

The aspiration to seize Ukraine is openly expressed, even within the Russian parliament. 

“We must close the chapter on Ukraine once and for all. It once existed, but it is no more. There is no Ukraine. It is a territory of Russia,” claimed the member of the Russian State Duma Andrey Gurulyov on the Russian state TV shortly before the full scale invasion. 

Similarly, Ramzan Kadyrov, a close Putin ally and the head of Chechnya, likened Ukraine to a malignant tumor and even issued a menacing threat that Chechens would carry out its removal with extreme brutality.

“My dear brothers… intend to excise this hated Nazi tumor. Very soon, the hands of Chechen fighters will bring final peace and order throughout Ukraine. They intend to personally behead all the shaitans [Islamic term for devils] hiding behind thick walls,”  he wrote on Telegram.

At the same time, Vladimir Solovyov, one of the most prominent hosts on Russian state TV, has repeatedly urged the Kremlin to use nuclear weapons as a way to conquer Ukraine.

“I’m still saying I could take Kyiv in 3 days! But first, everything should be destroyed with tactical nukes! Erase Kyiv off the face of the earth and erect our flag among the ruins!” demanded Solovyov on the Russian state TV.

Vladimir Putin presenting state award to Vladimir Solovyov. Photo: Gazeta.ru

Meanwhile, Vladimir Khomyakov, a journalist for the ultranationalist Russian TV channel Tsargrad, spoke about the “living space” of the Russian people (unashamedly echoing the Nazi term Lebensraum). As if Russia, already the largest country in the world by area, did not have enough room.

“The reunification of the Russian people, the restoration of their historical living space and creative potential are the key conditions for the true revival of Russia,” wrote Khomyakov. 

2. Russia aims to destroy Ukrainians as a people (and already started)

“Genocide” – a term used sparingly in the West, especially concerning Ukraine. However, Ukrainians have endured it at the hands of Russia multiple times. 

One such example is the Holodomor, a man-made famine in 1932-1933, which claimed the lives of millions Ukrainians, mainly peasants, as a result of the deliberate actions of the Kremlin and Stalin. In 1937-1938, it was the urban population’s turn. During Stalin’s Great Terror, Chekists executed around 150,000 Ukrainians, including the cultural elite, referred to in Ukraine as the Executed Renaissance – a whole generation of artists wiped out by Soviet repression.

Family of the Ukrainian writer and translator Antin Krushelnytskyi (far right in the bottom row) in the early 1930s. Between 1934 and 1937 six of them were executed, including the father, four sons, and the daughter. Photo: Wikipedia

Today, Russia’s current rhetoric leaves no doubt about its intentions. The Kremlin promotes a genocidal mindset towards Ukrainians among today’s Russian soldiers.

“We will crush this evil like annoying bugs. We will stand as a wall, defending our great homeland, which honors the traditions of its peoples and safeguards their spiritual values,” wrote Kadyrov on Telegram. 

The Russian State TV host Sergey Mardan completely devalues the humanity of Ukrainians.

“These are simply animals. They don’t need to be agitated to lose their human form. They have no human form anymore. There is no pity for any of them, not one of them. This is whom the Russian Army is fighting – ghouls. Fighting against the undead who rose from the grave, just like in the TV series,” stated Mardan.

In mandatory lessons titled “Conversations about what matters,” a college in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, displayed a picture of a dead pig covered in the Ukrainian flag, representing Ukraine’s fate.

In mandatory lessons, a Russian college showed a picture of a dead pig covered in the Ukrainian flag. Photo: screenshot

“A pig is a well-known, widespread, popular image that symbolizes Ukraine. In order to make it more illustrative, we covered it with the Ukrainian flag. We took this photograph as a visual demonstration to show the fate of the Ukrainian nation as a whole. Just like this pig,” said the lecturer. 

On Russia’s state-funded RT, former Director of Broadcasting Anton Krasovskyi made abhorrent comments, rejecting Ukraine’s existence, and endorsing violence against Ukrainians.

“[Ukrainian children] should have been drowned in the Tysyna [river], right there, where the duckling swims. Just drown those children, drown them right in Tysyna [river]… Whoever says that Russia occupied them, you throw them in the river with a strong undercurrent… Over there, every piece of shit little house, there are masses of awful, monstrous little houses, they shit all over the Carpathian Mountains. Shove them right into those huts and burn them up… [Ukraine] is not supposed to exist at all,” said Krasovskyi.

Anton Krasovskyi. Photo: Anton Krasovskyi via Instagram

The Soviet-Russian filmmaker and Putin’s mouthpiece Karen Shakhnazarov warned that “concentration camps and sterilization” are on the cards. 

“The opponents of letter Z must understand that if they are counting on mercy, no. There will be no mercy for them. It all became very serious, in this case, it means concentration camps, re-education, sterilization,” stated Shakhnazarov.

Meanwhile, Russian Senator Dmitry Rogozin stated that Ukrainians represent an existential threat to Russia.

“If we do not finish them off, as unfortunately our ancestors did not, our grandchildren will have to do it at an even greater cost. Therefore, let us be the ones to finish this, once and for all. For the sake of our grandchildren,” wrote Rogozin on Telegram. 

A Russian politician, a founder of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in the Russian-occupied territory of Donetsk Oblast, proposed Moscow’s actions to eliminate Ukrainians.

“We will kill as many of you as we have to. We will kill 1 million, or 5 million; we can exterminate all of you until you understand that you’re possessed and you have to be cured,” stated Gubarev. 

As a result, after 20 months of Russian invasion, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have lost their lives, and multiple Ukrainian cities and towns have vanished from the face of the Earth. 

Among them, Russian-occupied Mariupol stands out, once home to 425,000 people, where 20,000 casualties can be attributed to the Russian army’s actions, although the actual toll is likely higher. The truth remains elusive, as neither Ukraine nor international organizations can access the occupied territories. Mariupol, under complete blockade for almost a month, bears witness to the devastation, with satellite images revealing that up to 90% of residential buildings in the city have been damaged or destroyed.

The Russian army destroyed the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Photo: azov.org.ua

Another well-known city that has been reduced to ruins is Bakhmut. Before the arrival of the Russian army, it was home to 70,000 people. Now, there is no one left.

The Russian army destroyed the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. Photo: 93rd Mechanized Brigade via Facebook

In Ukraine’s occupied territories, Russians are committing atrocities against Ukrainians, evidenced by the discovery of mass graves and torture facilities in liberated cities like Bucha and Izium.

On the streets in Bucha, 2022. Photo: Vadim Ghirda

Furthermore, Russians are engaging in widespread deportations of Ukrainians and the abduction of their children. The United Nations reports that the Russians have interrogated, detained, and forcibly deported up to 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens to Russia, often relocating them to remote areas in the Far East. The deportees may include hundreds of thousands of children, and the international criminal court in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for that.  

The true toll of Ukrainian soldiers killed while battling Russian forces remains uncertain. However, Western officials estimate the number to be around 70,000. This represents a significant loss, as many of the country’s cultural elite joined the military ranks when war broke out, leading some to draw comparisons to the Executed Renaissance in the Soviet era.

3. Russia seeks to eradicate Ukrainian identity (and already started)

For centuries, Russia has consistently denied the existence of Ukrainian identity. However, despite claiming it doesn’t exist, Moscow remains committed to its eradication. These efforts are as relevant now as they have ever been.

“I will never abandon my belief that Russians and Ukrainians are one people,” declared Vladimir Putin just a week and a half after a full-scale invasion.

Medvedev also denies the existence of Ukrainian identity. Nevertheless, in his view, combating this purportedly non-existent identity is Russia’s foremost objective.

“Deep Ukrainianism,” fueled by anti-Russian poison and an all-consuming lie about its identity, is one big fake. This phenomenon has never happened in history. And it doesn’t exist now. Transforming the violent mindset and false narratives that have taken root among some Ukrainians must be a top priority,” stated Medevedev on Telegram.

Medvedev echoes the ideas of the former Kremlin ideologue and Putin aide, Vladislav Surkov. He played a crucial role in helping Putin establish his tightly controlled political system, serving as the “gray cardinal” and supervising Ukraine policy.

“Ukraine does not exist. There is Ukrainianism, which is, in essence, a peculiar mental disorder. An astonishing obsession with ethnography taken to extreme levels, a kind of bloodthirsty regionalism. It’s chaos instead of a state. There’s borscht, Bandera, and bandura. But there is no nation,” said Surkov.

Vladislav Surkov and Vladimir Putin. Photo: Russian media

Andrey Kartalov, the Head of the State Duma Defense Committee, believes that Russia’s primary focus should be on re-educating Ukrainian children, preferably in Russian military boarding schools.

“We need to deal with the [Ukrainian] children, perhaps in our Suvorov’s, Nakhimov’s cadet schools, there could be additional enrollment and we could send these kiddies there. We have to do this because then people [in the occupied territories of Ukraine] will believe that we’re serious, and Russia is here for a long time – forever,” said Kartalov on the Russian state TV. 

A month after the invasion, the Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti published an article titled “What should Russia do with Ukraine?” This article can be seen as a blueprint for the genocide of Ukrainians.

“De-Nazification will inevitably lead to de-Ukrainianization. [It] involves a re-education achieved through ideological suppression of Nazi beliefs and strict censorship, not only in the political realm but also, crucially, in the domains of culture and education. The terms of denazification can in no way be less than one generation, which must be born, grow up and reach maturity under the conditions of denazification,” stated the article.  

As American historian Timothy Snyder explained, Russia’s rhetoric around “denazification” is code for the destruction of Ukrainian statehood and national identity. The label of “Nazi” is applied by Russia to any person who identifies as Ukrainian, regardless of actual ideology. 

In Ukraine’s occupied territories, Russian authorities are delivering on their promises by orchestrating a comprehensive propaganda campaign in about 1,300 schools to reshape Ukrainian children into loyal Russian citizens. They begin each week with the Russian national anthem and flag-raising. Education has been militarized, with mandatory “Conversations about what Matters” framing the war against Ukraine as a “special military operation.” All lessons are conducted in Russian, following the Russian curriculum and textbooks, while Ukrainian books are being confiscated and burned.

Children in occupied Crimea undergo training in the Russian militarized organization Young Army Cadets National Movement. Photo: Radio Free Europe

Parents, teachers, and students in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine risk violence and detention for opposing the Russian curriculum, according to Amnesty International. Russian authorities also conduct routine inspections of private electronic devices, leading to severe consequences, including arrest and mistreatment, if they find content aligned with the Ukrainian curriculum for online schooling.

4. Russia aims to annihilate Ukrainian language and culture (and already started)

Russia is equally determined to obliterate Ukrainian language, much like Ukrainian identity.

“This [Ukrainian] language should not exist… Neither this [Ukrainian] nation nor this language should exist! Cleanse it all out, cleanse out all of its sources,” said Alexei Didenko, Russian State Duma member. 

Alexei Didenko, Russian State Duma member. Photo: RIA Novosti

Russian state television maintains that Ukrainian language should not serve as Ukraine’s primary medium for development, as it implies a rejection of Russian culture.

“Ukraine decided it can build all of it on the basis of the Ukrainian language! Here is the result! Every face is a pig snout! Every action is a joke! It resulted in the country’s degradation! I have no hatred for these people. I have no pity for them either! I look at it as a doctor! A doctor has to cure a sickness! A person who has become ill this way!” said Russian political commentator, Elena Markosyan. 

Renowned Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov advocates for the prohibition of the Ukrainian language in schools in Ukraine’s occupied territories.

“The Ukrainian language has become the image of Russophobia… That is, the phrases that we hear in Ukrainian transcription and pronunciation, they are for us and for the world in principle and for themselves the formulation of hatred for Russia!” said Mikhalkov. 

Renowned Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov. Photo: womanhit.ru

Meanwhile, Russian state TV host Sergey Mardan contends that shunning Russian culture degrades Ukrainians to animals.

“If you, being Russian by culture, reject the Russian culture, what is left within you, what do you become? You simply become an animal! Everything else that makes a human human, especially, pardon me, a civilized human, there is none of that in these people!” claimed Mardan. 

For centuries, Russians have sought to destroy or appropriate Ukrainian culture. A recent investigation by the Ukrainian media outlet TEXTY uncovered that two of Russia’s largest museums, the State Hermitage Museum and State Historical Museum, together hold over 110,000 artifacts that were taken from present-day Ukraine to Russia during different historical eras, beginning in imperial Russia through the Soviet period. 

map texty

Today, Russians persist in looting Ukrainian culture in the occupied regions. As of October 2022, nearly 40 museums had been plundered, resulting in tens of thousands of illegally transported artifacts. UNESCO estimates the losses to Ukrainian cultural heritage at $2.6 billion due to Russian aggression, while The New York Times labels the looting of Ukrainian museums as the most significant since World War II.

From Ukraine to Taiwan: the domino effect of Putin’s aggression

As foreigners try to understand Putin’s motivations and why Zelenskyy can’t consider surrender or negotiations, Ukraine remains in an existential battle for survival. To stop fighting is not an option for Kyiv, as it means death. The Kremlin’s intentions to dismantle Ukraine are clear from the territories it has occupied.

“They’re in a war that’s an existential threat for the very survival of Ukraine and has greater meaning for the rest of the world — for Europe, really for the United States, but also for the globe,” former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told CNN.

Some Western intellectuals seem to ignore the Kremlin’s statements and the daily atrocities in Ukraine. Their sole concern is avoiding global war. To prevent it, they are willing to sacrifice anything, especially Ukraine. This age-old but ineffective strategy of attempting to appease aggressors allows the question of Ukraine’s existence or non-existence to be ignored.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Photo: Kremlin.ru

Putin has uncorked the war genie, evident from the recent war in Israel to the explosive situation in the Balkans. China is watching closely. Given economic challenges, China may use a familiar tactic to stimulate their economy: triggering a conflict with Taiwan. If Putin achieves his goals in Ukraine, what would stop Xi Jinping?

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