Tag Archives: Ukraine

War crimes and the problem of false equivalency

Supporters of the territorial unity of Ukraine in the face of an unprovoked Russian onslaught may have been saddened to read accusations about the Ukraine national army of using cluster bombs against the Russian thugs who have tried to usurp government rule. Missile attacks, supposedly coming from the general vicinity of the Ukraine Army, were said to have contained shrapnel designed to spray indiscriminately over the rebel soldiers.

The American public should understand the concept of false equivalency in comparing a national army struggling to defend its own territory against Russian thugs who halted international efforts to investigate a plane crash, impose their will by force of arms and claim to want to separate huge sections of the eastern half of the nation and join with mother Russia.

One is reminded of the efforts of Bashar al-Assad in Syria to claim his chemical attacks against his own people were perpetrated by rebel forces instead. The war crimes in the Ukraine conflict are predominately coming from the Russian side, not Ukrainians. And there is no way for the Ukraine government to investigate the matter and serve justice on the perpetrators.

Trying to turn the tables on the accuser has been used as a propaganda technique in many other conflicts as well when the usurper is accused of unconscionable actions. Observers of the international community should keep this in mind when evaluating recent accusations.

It was the kind of day when the gray seeps into your soul

A Boy and a Bandage

Last Friday I had one of those experiences that put a face on the current conflict in Ukraine.

Our SUN team traveled to a refugee center outside of Kyiv run by a courageous, young Orthodox priest—Father Nicolay. It was a cold, gray day, the first real day of fall in Ukraine, a day that reminds you that the damp cold will soon give way to the bone-chilling cold of winter. It was the kind of day when the gray seeps into your soul.

Father Nicolay took us through what had been a rehabilitation center for drug addicts and alcoholics, a facility that comfortably housed 35 men and women but now provided a home to more than 150 men, women and children.

We walked into a room filled with squealing, laughing children. Oddly, most of them were playing under the tables, pretending that they were being bombed— imitating their real-life experiences in eastern Ukraine.

Being an over-grown child myself, I waded into the group and joined the game.

After a few minutes, one little boy, maybe five or six years old came to me and inspected my right arm. He began to pat it and shook his head. He told me I was going to be alright and not to cry.

He then took a roll of surgical gauze out of his pocket and wrapped it around my wrist, tying it off as best as a five-year old can. He looked up and smiled.

I thanked him and started to take off the bandage, but he patted my arm again and told me I had to wear it until it was better.

I fought back the tears.

Here was a little boy who should be playing with trucks and instead he was playing a game that he had learned when his housed was bombed.

And I realized why Save Ukraine Now is important.

We are not trying to save a geo-political unit; we are saving the future of children like that little boy and the other boys and girls who are in that shelter and in scores of other shelters across Ukraine.

I have been carrying that gauze with me every day since that visit and I will carry it to remind me that the face of war is the face of a little boy in a refugee center.

Ukraine: A Warfront Perspective

I am asked everyday why Save Ukraine Now is important. There are so many good organizations. Is one more really necessary?

Today we received this email from a woman who has directed a home for troubled youth for more than 15 years. She describes the situation as it is today. It will only get worse when the weather turns cold in a few weeks. This is why Save Ukraine Now is important.

 Gary Kellner
Save Ukraine Now

A Call to Action

The situation in eastern Ukraine is dire.

According to the UN, more than 1,000,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, leaving everything they had behind. Many more are without water and electricity. Food and medical supplies are running low and in a few weeks the weather will become bitter and the suffering will become deadly.

Without such assistance, thousands of individuals will get sick and many — especially the old and infirm—will die.

Because of the many years I have worked in Ukraine on charitable, educational and political projects, I believe that a synergy of government, NGOs and faith-based organizations offers the best hope for relieving the suffering of the population in the present crisis. I am hopeful of success because every sector of society has committed itself to cooperation, beginning with the Office of the President and including business leaders, charitable organizations and churches.

Responding to the humanitarian crisis alone is not sufficient.

It is time to tell the world the truth about Vladimir Putin and the threat he represents not only to Ukraine, but also to Europe and the US. The response of the Western democracies to Russian aggression in Ukraine makes it obvious that many of the leaders of these governments do not possess the historical perspective or an understanding of what is at stake. We need to help them understand that the place to stop Putin is the Donbas, not the Vistula.

A tragic and under-reported dimension of the crisis in Ukraine is the war being waged against the religion by the separatists.Bishops and pastors have been abducted, tortured and beaten. The murder of five pastors and deacons has been confirmed. Hundreds of churches have been closed, with many churches either destroyed or taken over by terrorists, leaving whole congregations without places to worship.

Persecution has not been experienced to so great a scale since the days of Communism.

This is the situation that gives rise to Save Ukraine Now, an organization that will provide direct aid to the Ukrainian people in the recently liberated areas of eastern Ukraine and will be a strong and aggressive advocate for Ukraine to the Western governments, the media, NGOs and wider public.

Dr. Gary Kellner
Save Ukraine Now