Putin seeks to intimidate the West as he has done on successive occasions

The F-16s and the Russian desire for fear to take the place of the sense of Justice

In a few days it will be one year and three months since the start of the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022.

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This week the Ukrainian people, who continue to heroically resist against a much stronger and better armed country, received a new message of hope with the news that the US will not veto the export of F-16 to Ukraine . News that could lead to the delivery of such fighters to the Ukrainian Air Force this year, offering Ukraine new means to defend itself.

That announcement has already been answered by the invaders with the only language they know: that of threats. The Russian government said yesterday that the delivery of those fighters carries "colossal risks" for the West. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko stated: "We see that Western countries are still adhering to the escalation scenario." This statement is as cynical as abusers complaining that someone accuses helping a child who is being beaten up, accusing the helper of wanting an "escalation".

It is time to answer these cynical statements emphatically: it is Russia that started an escalation of war by invading Ukraine and it is in its hands to stop it. It could do so tomorrow, if it really wanted to prevent this escalation from continuing: it would suffice to announce its complete withdrawal from Ukrainian territory, including areas it has illegally annexed since 2014. It seems unlikely that the Russian government make that show of common sense, so the West is within its rights to help Ukraine defend itself, just as the United States helped the United Kingdom by sending military aid when that country was attacked by nazi Germany.

It could offer strong strategic reasons to justify the West's interest in a Russian defeat, a scenario that would serve to discourage Putin from ordering new aggressions against other countries. Weaken Russia, moreover, would help to reduce its attempts to destabilize the West itself and also Africa. But there are more powerful reasons than strategic interests: they are moral reasons.

If the West does the right thing by sending military aid to Ukraine, it is, above all, because Russian aggression and its crimes against the Ukrainian people are worthy of the absolute rejection by anyone with a correct sense of Justice. and of reason. For the defenders of Freedom and the sovereignty of nations, in addition, Ukraine champions the just cause of a people that fights for its sovereignty and its independence against an invader, an invader who believes himself right to wipe Ukraine off the map for reasons terribly reminiscent of those put forward by Adolf Hitler to invade Poland in 1939.

What Russia seeks with its threats is to instill fear in the West and for that fear to take the place of our sense of Justice. They want us to look the other way while the Russians rape, deport, torture and murder the Ukrainians, trying to convince us that if we help those attacked, all kinds of evils will befall us and we could even start a third world war. In addition to trying to feed on fear and cowardice, Russia also tries to take advantage of the bad memory of many.

And it is that Russia has already launched similar threats when the sanctions began, when the West sent light weapons, when it began to send heavy weapons, also when it sent missiles and later also when it sent tanks. Subsequently, Russia and its propagandists (also those it has in the West) have warned us that we could freeze to death last winter, that Russia could resort to its nuclear weapons (as if the West lacked it to give an immediate response) and other crude attempts to intimidate the United States and NATO. At this point, Russia has already shown two things: that it always lies -even when it threatens- and that you just have to be afraid of living under its boots.

Just as it was not intimidated by a criminal dictator like Hitler, the free world cannot be intimidated by a criminal dictator like Putin. The more strength the West shows in the face of the threats of that tyrant, the closer the day of the long-awaited defeat and expulsion of Russia from Ukrainian territory will be. And that day will come. Russia will be defeated and Ukraine will win, no matter how much some setback delays that Ukrainian victory and no matter how hard the Russian propagandists try to instill fear, defeatism and discouragement in us.

Russia has already suffered enormous human casualties and material losses in this invasion, and the more time passes, the greater the Russian military disaster and the greater the aid Ukraine will receive. Furthermore, this Ukrainian victory could not only be the end of Russia as a power, but also the end of Putin. If the Kremlin had any sense left, it would order a withdrawal tomorrow. The more time he lets go without doing it, the worse it will be for Russia and for Putin.


Image: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Artist's rendering of two F-16 fighters with Ukrainian roundels.

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