Many Ukrainians repeated the same defiant message during a two-day visit here last weekend: We’re not afraid of Russian nuclear threats; we’ve suffered too much to make concessions; we want the world’s help in ensuring the defeat of Putin. A wall mural downtown summarized the public mood: “Be brave like Ukraine.”
What became clear after several dozen conversations here is that for Ukraine, there’s no middle ground. The resiliency and resolve I heard reminded me of Londoners during the Blitz in World War II. For Ukraine, there’s no turning back, and I was asked repeatedly why some in the West still talk about compromise with Putin.
Ukraine’s determination to go all the way worries some in the Biden administration, who believe that the war must be settled through negotiations and that the United States has a responsibility to contain this conflict before it expands into something much worse. I share those concerns, but it’s hard to make arguments for conciliation to Ukrainians whose nation is being hammered by Russian attacks. [Continue reading…]
The people of Kyiv, who survived weeks of Russian onslaught at the beginning of the war, seemed largely unphased by the latest assault, singing songs in the metro stations where they took cover, while cafe workers handed out drinks.
Oleksii Striapko, who works for an IT company, recently moved to Kyiv from Kharkiv, because it had seemed a safe haven from missile attack. “I lived in Kyiv for two peaceful months without explosions or deaths,” he said. “I’d just started getting used to living again, trying to make plans for the future. But Russia is destroying everything again, killing, stealing, terrorising every Ukrainian without exception.” Nevertheless, he added: “The understanding came to me today that I no longer feel fear, as I did at the beginning of the war. I know what to do and how to behave in a dangerous situation.” [Continue reading…]