The BDN Editorial Board operates independently from the newsroom, and does not set policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.
Reckless and insane. That is how Russian President Vladimir Putin recently described sanctions leveled against his country because of its invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
These two words more accurately describe the invasion itself. What could be more reckless and insane than waging war against a neighbor, killing thousands of civilians, devastating cities, all supposedly in the name of protecting Ukrainians and a shared history with Russia?
Sanctions from the international community are a rational and appropriate response to such brutality. So too are the ongoing war crimes investigations into Russian actions, the prospect of Ukraine joining the European Union, and the move from other European countries to join the NATO security alliance.
These steps of statecraft and bureaucracy, however, take time. They don’t change the horrific reality for Ukrainians on the ground now, still very much caught up in the dangerous fallout of Putin’s aggression.
Fierce fighting has continued in eastern Ukraine, where Russia has focused its attacks as of late. The Associated Press reported last week about residents there who are caught in the continued violence.
“We are old people, we do not have a place to go. Where will I go?” Vira Miedientseva asked in the city of Lysychansk.
The U.S. and the world cannot forget that Ukrainian people are still having to ask these painful questions every single day. The Russian invasion stretched past the 100-day mark earlier this month, and the longer the violence lasts, the greater the chances that the world becomes fatigued in its outrage.
This could be part of Putin’s calculus. U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told Congress in May that Putin is “probably counting on U.S. and EU resolve to weaken as food shortages, inflation and energy prices get worse.”
Americans and freedom-loving people across the globe must prove him wrong by staying outraged and staying engaged. This must happen at both the government level and among individual citizens. The Biden administration continues to send military aid to Ukraine, and Congress has approved over $50 billion in assistance for the besieged country.
“The United States stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine in the face of Russia’s continued aggression and assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a June 21 statement as part of a visit to Ukraine to support efforts to identify and prosecute war crimes. “America — and the world — has seen the many horrific images and read the heart-wrenching accounts of brutality and death that have resulted from Russia’s unjust invasion of Ukraine.”
The flow of those images and accounts may have declined on our TV screens and news feeds compared to the start of the invasion. But the instances of despicable Russian aggression and inspiring Ukrainian resistance continue. So too must our outrage.