Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 19.02.2018
Russia is at war with Ukraine. Since the start of 2018, 21 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in action, and 90 have been wounded in action. These casualties occurred on the battlefront in Luhansk and Donetsk regions where Russia is invading Ukraine. The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was obliged to give this grim news at a luncheon given by Ukraine at the Munich Security Conference, called “Ukraine on the Frontlines of a New Kind of Warfare: Lessons for the West and Prospects for Peace,” on February 17.
Ukrainian soldiers, sailors, and airmen have been defending the homeland – and defending Europe – since Russia’s unprovoked invasion began on 20 February 2014. The first battlefront in Crimea has been relatively quiet since the end of March 2014, apart from a brutal occupation by Muscovy and gross violations of human rights, especially against the Crimean Tatars. The second battlefront in Donbas has been an active hot war since April 2014. Russia attacks regularly and violates the three year old Minsk Agreement ceasefire with impunity. Russian armed forces attack with rockets and artillery and mortars and grenades and heavy machine guns and small arms every day and every night. They attack along a battlefront that runs from Stanytsia Luhanska near the Ukraine-Russia border, west to Horlivka and Donetsk, and south to near Mariupol. Four years of static trench warfare in the heart of Europe has returned – thanks to Russia – a century after the First World War.
President Poroshenko stressed to his audience in Munich that Russia uses regular troops in its war of aggression against Ukraine. The “little green men” of the Crimea campaign and the “pro-Russian separatists” of the Donbas campaign are utter fabrications of Kremlin propaganda. “Tens of thousands of the Russian military have come to kill Ukrainians,” said Poroshenko.
Ukraine honours its servicemen for defending the homeland, and acknowledges casualties. President Poroshenko was doing that in a prominent international forum. Putin didn’t dare show his face in Munich. Russia has declared that its casualties in the invasion of Ukraine are a state secret, and it severely punishes groups like the Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia which try to help families of killed and wounded and missing and captured Russian servicemen. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an evil war. Ukraine’s defence of the homeland and defence of Europe is the good fight.