Ukraine won its independece from Russia in 1991 when the former Soviet Union collapsed. Russia then invaded Ukraine in 2014 when Obama was US president. In 2021 when it became clear that fairly elected Biden would continue as US president, Russia launched a full-scale assault on Ukraine. Frontline defenders have held off the Russian incursion ever since.
Frontline soldiers sleep in dugouts and bunkers. At camp they have tents when supplies can get through. When not, they go without food or meds for treating the wounded. Their mates die beside them on battlefield or camp. They do hand-to-hand stealth combat with Russian invaders WWI style. They are the human shield keeping Russia from planting its flags on town halls along the way with the capitol Kiyv as the end goal.
After more than a year of such a life, the frontliners still muster the genuine good spirit neded to keep western supporters still interested in the cause that for them has never wavered. Most have lost family, and many have returned to figh after losing limbs..
“We will never give up. We will fight with our last breath. This is our country. We love our country,” they tweet. They are talking about the land of sunflowers and blue sky. They are defending it against the dour Russian bear with its dark flag over penal colonies.
The Ukrainian defenders who sleep in trenches to protect their country are no rough rubes like the Wagner crew, Ukrainians don’t rape and pillage. They duck through shrapnel to save a drowning in the flood of a dam destroyed by enemy fire. In the down time between skirmishes, they build bird and dog feeders whittled from fallem n ative trees. On lonely nights in camp when they can, they tweet.
“Thank you so much for your love and support. Your encouragement keeps us able to fight.”
“I lost everything in this war, My father, my mother, my wife are all gone. I have one son left, somewhere in a camp.”
“I lost everything. Now I have nothing so I fight for my country’s future.”
The “war” in Ukraine is unique, as is the Ukrainian army itself. Experienced with Russia, Ukraine began preparing for the next invasion after the first in 2014, when Russia illegally but successfully annexed chunks of Ukraine including Crimea and the Domas. While Ukraine accepted that blow, it put its citizens on alert. The next time they would fight to the death to keep their land.
The resultant Armed Forces of Ukraine is an analgam of dedicated Ukrainians living at home overseas, To the one they are patriots, ibcluding the women who shepheded children to foreign lands until those remaining behind secured the country for their children’s future.
Some of those remaining on site include commanders of units and, platoons and battalions charged with everything from tank operations to missile launches. Taking part in operations are career armed services personnel and foot soldiers either conscripted, recruited or welcomed as volunteers. A foreign legion section is open for those moved to take part in the clearly defined pursuit of justice, underscored by training programs held in Allied countries where by all accounts Ukrainians are a quick and eager study. Seems Ukrainians are a testament to the power of a dedicated, coherent drive toward a profound goal. But a year of Rusian bruality can wear on even the staunchest spirit.
“I’m so glad to have you to talk to,” read a tweet after a half dozen exchanges. “I’ve lost everything, my family, my home. We are dying. We lost ten men today. I feel I will die because it is hell but at least my country will be free. And there is someone to tell what we are going through because this is a country where boys are taught not to cry.”That is the sensitive country that Putin wants to eradicate because it is turning democratic.
By all accounts, crushing Ukraine is a first step for Russia’s Vladimir Putin to reestablish thr gruesome Iron Curtain that had trapped Ukraine, half of Europe and much olf Eurasia for 40 years. The oppression is recordedin the real-life novel, Light of a Destiny Dark, based on a memoir of Hungary under Sovie occupation. It is an indication of why Ukraine is fighting so hard against the Russian invasion.
“They came in destroyed the house, took out the men and shot them”
“It ws the worst day of my life. They raped and shot my wife, then stole my child.”
It was to fight such brutality that men put lives on hold overseas to now bunk on the cold ground, rain or wet, then wake in the morning to a cold canned meal until the first barrage sounded from the enemy up ahead.
“We need food. We haven’t eaten in three days.”
“We need meds and touniquets. Many wounded today, no medical team. Send money directly to my commander.”
Real or scam? Interpol is a follower on Twitter. So are the Russians, monitoring tweets for locations. The tweets thin out as the shaping operation proceeds toward the counteroffensive that needs to be quick, dramatic and decisive to keep Ally and donor support flowing. The tweets, however, continue to resonate in the brutal surveillance phase of scouting out the enemy and demining forests to allow a second wave of defenders to advance.
“I’m dying” says one tweet after a dozen exchanges.
“I was so tired this morning I didn’t think I could go out. Then your tweet put a smile on my face. Thank you..
Ukraine has changed world history by stabding up to a global bully invader. It’s courage has won the world’s heart and inspired all the free world. It has brought into focus the value of international law in resolving conflicts.
Now as Allies, rivals and fence-sitters await dramatic results to determine the outcome, it is the frontline defenders who doggedly prepare the way for the big guns. Support for their grueling work can safely be expressed at Ukraine.ua.within the Foreign Ministry office of the government of Ukraine.