Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 27.08.2018
Ukrainians teach other Europeans how to live up to the ideals of the great European project and how to be better Europeans. That is, Ukrainians could give these valuable life lessons if only other Europeans paid attention to Ukraine.
Ukrainians lifted themselves up from corruption and despair through the Revolution of Dignity of 2013-14. Ukrainians staved off conquest by foreign invaders from Muscovy, beginning in 2014, but only at the cost of temporarily losing sovereignty over their territory of Crimea and part of their territory of Donbas. The immediate, precipitating event which kicked off both of these world-historical transformations was the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement. The underlying cause is the malign, aggressive, imperialist hatred that Muscovy has towards the Ukrainian nation. Ukrainians rose up in the Revolution of Dignity to throw off the evil effects of centuries of illegitimate foreign occupation by Muscovy. Putin is at war to destroy Ukraine, the Slavic nation which is quintessentially European and Western and which is an existential threat to his autocratic rule as the latest Tsar of Muscovy.
The European Union had no clue what it was doing when it initiated the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement (UA-EU AA). Ukrainians took it to be recognition that they were at last ‘coming home’ to Europe. A thousand years ago, Kyivan Rus’ was the pinnacle of European civilization, along with Constantinople – at a time when western Europeans were wallowing in the mud, emerging from the Dark Ages. What other Europeans fail to comprehend is that Ukrainians feel an unbroken continuity in their civilized life, from Kyivan Rus’ to the Zaporizhian Sich to the Ukrainian National Republic to Ukraine as it has been since independence from the Soviet Union. EU bureaucrats completely missed the boat to think that the UA-EU AA was about a little bit of trade liberalization.
The EU also didn’t realize that a successful Ukraine in the European family necessarily means the death of Putin’s Russia. The world of the Tsars couldn’t survive the world of constitutional government as it emerged from the First World War. The world of the commissars couldn’t survive the world when it emerged as the universal and homogeneous state, marking the triumph of the West. And the reactionary world of the Putin-Kremlin crime syndicate cannot survive a world in which the large Slavic nation of Ukraine thrives in the European, Western, rules-based and human-rights-respecting international order. Russia without an empire is rump Muscovy. Putin without the shadow of the Russian empire or the Soviet empire is nothing. That is why Putin is at war with Ukraine. Putin will do anything – he will exhaust the treasure of blood and money in the Russian Federation to its abyssal ruin – rather than allow the UA-EU AA to succeed.
Ukraine is the largest country that lies wholly within Europe. But the EU has failed to take responsibility for what it has done. The EU made promises to Ukrainians, and when the going got tough because of Putin’s aggression, backed away. The consequences of Putin’s War against the Ukrainian nation are horrendous. Over 4,000 Ukrainian servicemen and women have died in the defence of the Ukrainian homeland, which is at the end of the day the vanguard of the whole of Europe against Russian imperialist aggression. The EU does not contribute troops or any other military assistance. Over 11,000 civilians have been killed in Putin’s War. Over one and a half million Europeans who live in Ukraine are ‘internally displaced persons’ – meaning that they are refugees in their own country. The EU does nothing substantial to ameliorate the humanitarian disaster that imperialist war from Muscovy has visited upon Ukraine. The economic toll on Ukraine is estimated to be at least $100 billion so far. The EU fails to demand war reparations from the Russian Federation, nor does it do anything approaching the level of the Marshall Plan the US carried out in Europe after the destruction of the Second World War.
On August 26, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, visited Avdiyivka in Donetsk region. Avdiyivka is directly on the front line where Putin’s army is invading Europe. President Poroshenko spoke about how the EU could provide targeted humanitarian assistance to Donbas. “We have already discussed several times with the leaders of the European Union the program of establishing by individual countries of a kind of patronage over certain towns and villages of Donbas. Let Germany take responsibility for Kramatorsk, let Greece do so for Mariupol, Britain - for Volnovakha... Let other countries take Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Avdiyivka,” he said. This practical, adopt-a-city approach would be symbolic, would be only a start, but it would be better than nothing.
Putin’s War has been raging in the heart of Europe for four and a half years. The EU should be stopping Putin and saving the peace of Europe – but it has proven that it is incapable of doing so. The EU is not even helping a fellow European country to a fraction of the extent that the US helped Europe with the Marshall Plan. This is a black stain on Europe, marking the complete abdication of moral responsibility by EU leadership. If the EU cannot help a few Ukrainian cities get back on their feet after suffering devastation from Putin at war, then it is difficult to see what the EU is good for anymore.