Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in the op-ed section are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of the Kyiv Independent.
In the words of U.S. President Joe Biden, on Feb. 24, 2022, Russia launched a genocidal war against Ukraine “to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian.”
Since then, Russia has fired over 3,500 missiles at Ukraine’s cities and towns as of early October, and the world has witnessed with consternation devastation in Ukraine unseen in Europe since the Second World War.
Despite this war between David and Goliath, Ukraine’s Armed Forces, with the full support of the Ukrainian people and aid from the West, particularly the U.S., are surely and systematically regaining Russian-occupied territories at an impressive pace.
This has prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to take three recent acts of desperation.
First, threatening, once again, the use of nuclear weapons that the global community called out as self-destructive.
Second, ordering a mobilization that has sent hundreds of thousands of Russians fleeing the country – not due to their moral opposition to the war against Ukraine, but because they do not wish to be Russia’s cannon fodder.
And third, running internationally condemned pseudo-referendums and proclaiming a so-called annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson oblasts while Ukrainian forces are actually liberating those regions – a further demonstration of Putin’s state of delusion.
Frustrated by the pitiful outcome of these desperate measures and exasperated by Ukraine’s amazing military success in reclaiming Russian-occupied territories, Russia unleashed its most intense aerial assault on Oct. 10 against Ukraine’s civilian population, critical energy infrastructure, and densely populated areas.
On that day alone, Russia fired 84 missiles and deployed 24 kamikaze drones across Ukraine.
This utter brutality unequivocally demonstrates the Kremlin’s intent to punish and terrorize Ukraine’s civilian population to avenge Russia’s military defeats. It is now unconscionable for the West to continue withholding from Ukraine any weapons necessary to help it ensure a no-fly zone and fully regain its territorial integrity.
Over the course of Russia’s genocidal war, the West has also felt the sting of Russia’s hybrid aggression as the Kremlin continues to weaponize everything it can, including gas, nuclear power stations, energy infrastructure, food, refugees, and information.
For instance, Russia’s Oct. 10 attack on about 30% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure was also meant to disturb Ukraine’s electricity exports to European countries that help them save on Russian gas.
In addition, three of the missiles fired by Russia from the Black Sea on Oct. 10 violated Moldova’s airspace, a country that was granted EU candidate member status in 2022. This is another manifestation of Russia’s dangerous disregard for the airspace and territorial integrity of independent states.
This is why, during their summit on June 29, 2022, in Madrid, NATO member states rightfully declared that: “Russia is the most significant and direct threat to their security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe.”
Russia’s genocidal war against Ukraine has reached a critical moment that will define the course of history and determine whether future generations will continue to be exposed to the dangerous and insatiable imperialist appetite of the Kremlin or live in a much safer, prosperous, and stable world.
The choice is obvious, and time is of the essence.
The West must now act with resolute determination and provide Ukraine with all the weapons necessary to ensure a no-fly zone that will help Ukraine win this war against an unprovoked and ruthless aggressor and stop a genocide.
for an independent Ukraine