It is so disturbing watching the situation unfolding in Ukraine. This is an unprovoked and brutal assault on the part of the Russian government that violates not only international law and norms, but the very values of liberty and humanism that we and many others cherish. It is a harsh reminder that without constant fortification of those values, whether it is through national processes or global cooperation, we risk the loss of peace that has taken generations to build.
Perhaps most harrowing is reading the words of Ukrainians currently under siege. Terrified and alone, it is always regular citizens who suffer the most:
'I'm sitting here with my wife, waiting for full scale war to begin. We have no means to leave country and no where to go...And from this perspective every previous problems in my life now feel so... meaningless, it's 2022 in Europe, but here it's 31st of August 1939 here in Ukraine.'
'Guys I don't know what to do, it's so scary to be here. I woke up at 7 am because of the sirens wailing. My parents are sitting in the kitchen and discussing what to do and where to go. People are running towards the roads to the west, it's panic all over the city.'
'I woke up to the sound of explosions. (Dnipro city). The people are panicking. I still can't believe it's possible in the 21st century.'
This invasion, far from projecting strength, underlines the inherent weakness of Vladimir Putin and his kleptocracy. Such a regime cannot be maintained without regular reinforcement of the “strong man” image, which is exactly what he is trying to achieve. The very fact that he must shore up that image demonstrates his position of internal weakness. But, it will have the opposite effect: the sanctions that must now be imposed to deter other nations from aggressive war will be so harsh that Putin has almost guaranteed the destruction of Russia.
At this moment, the people of Ukraine need our support, materially and morally. As individuals, it is difficult to determine how exactly one can help in situations such as this, but for our part Citizen State will be ceasing cooperation with all Russian-based partners and organizations which support this hostile action.
To be hopeless in the face of such unforgiving violence is natural, but we cannot afford those thoughts. We must keep the fire burning inside – of liberty, of freedom, of cooperation – so that we have the strength to stand against the bullies of the world.