Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 21.12.2017
The shock of Russia’s attack on Novoluhanske is still fresh. Russian armed forces invading Europe in Ukraine fired 40 rockets at civilian targets in the small town on December 18. They launched the rockets from Grad multiple-launch rocket systems located in Russia-occupied Horlivka, a little over 10 kilometres away. Eight people were injured – six of these were elderly ladies and one was a six-year-old child. 50 buildings in Novoluhanske were damaged, and some were set on fire in the attack. Russian rockets exploded in the area of a school, a kindergarten, and an outpatient clinic. Electricity and natural gas supply to the town are disrupted, and Ukrainian emergency services have set up warming stations for residents to shelter from the winter cold. A field kitchen has been set up. Because there are many unexploded rockets, Ukrainian ordinance disposal teams have begun their essential work.
Ukrainian television has been showing scenes of the aftermath of Russia’s attack. Some of the wounded were shown and spoke of their ordeal. Returning residents were shown surveying the damage to their homes. Seeing the tears and the anguish of these innocent people is heart-wrenching to any observer. For Ukrainians it will also bring about great anger and hatred towards the Russians who are invading their country and attacking them for no reason whatsoever.
Russia is deliberately targeting and shooting rockets at civilians. Russia is doing this while it is invading the largest country that is wholly within Europe – Ukraine – in its regions of Crimea and Donbas. Ukrainians know that they are in a war for their very existence, against an enemy Russia which will stop at nothing to destroy them. Novoluhanske tears away all illusions: Russia’s invasion of Europe in Ukraine is an international war. In this war, the Russian aggressors will never respect any of the rules of war, any agreements, or any norms of decent human behaviour. Until Russia is defeated, Russia will always shoot rockets and fire artillery at European towns. Novoluhanske is the potential fate of all of us in West, until we achieve victory over Putin at war.