Ukraine Under Attack

My parents fled Hungary in 1950. They met on the boat coming over to Canada and were married a couple of years later. I’m a first generation Canadian. Ever so grateful to have been born here.

I can’t write about what’s happening in Ukraine.

But I do know this, we looked the other way in 1956 when Budapest was invaded, and in 1968 when Prague was invaded, and in 1981 when Warsaw was invaded.

We can’t look away again.

This entry was posted in Disasters, Politics, War. Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Ukraine Under Attack

  1. Peter Usher says:

    Amen!

  2. Paula Stein says:

    Well said, Susan.
    Everyone loses when dictators and war criminals win. Nothing is ever “just over there.”

    • Paula, I was listening to a radio broadcast in which a politician from one of the non-NATO countries was being interview (I’m afraid I’ve forgotten which one). He said as long as don’t provoke Putin we’ll be all right. It was quite a feat of denial given what was happening in Ukraine.

  3. These people have some relief from shelling:
    https://www.cbc.ca/newsinteractives/features/a-visit-to-donetsk
    Our patriotic state broadcaster does not explicitly say who is doing the shelling. You have to read very carefully, including the image captions.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for sharing this. My roots are of different Slavic nationalities, including having Czech, Slovakian, Polish, Ukrainian, and maybe some Russian. Three of my grandparents were from Eastern Europe. My dad’s parents, and two of his brothers and one of his sisters came from Galicia, which was by the Polish/Ukrainian border. My dad’s parents were mixed, with his mom being half Polish and half Ukrainian, and his father having Polish, Ukrainian, and maybe some Russian roots. I do have relatives in the Ukraine, as well as in Poland and in Austria, on my paternal grandmother’s side. My grandmother was the youngest and the only one of her siblings to come to Canada. Yet, somehow, there are other relatives in Canada, from her. On my paternal grandfather’s side, I have relatives in the Ukraine, as well as here, because some of his siblings (sisters) also came to Canada, as did their husbands. My maternal grandfather was Polish, and came from Poland. Through him, I have relatives in Poland, and in Canada, and in America, because some of his siblings (older sisters and their husbands, and a brother in law), came to Canada and America. My maternal grandmother was born here in Alberta, and her mother was from Prague, in the Czech Republic, and her dad was from Slovakia. Through that grandmother, I have relatives in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, in Canada, and in America. I also may have a very small bit of German on my maternal great grandmother’s side. I see what’s going on and it is very concerning, not just for me, because of my relatives over in these places, but for others who are there. My paternal grandmother had nothing good to say about Poland, the Ukraine, and Russia. My maternal grandfather was glad to leave Poland, and would never want to go back. My grandparents and great grandparents came to Canada for a better life. What’s going on in the Ukraine, certainly isn’t good. I’ll share some fitting music, from a Calgary, Alberta band, The Original Caste. This song, One Tin Soldier, is from 1969. The message is very relevant, even for today.

  5. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I’ll share some more music. I have this in my music collection. This is Fleetwood Mac, doing a cover of a Little Willie John song, I Need Your Love So Bad. It is from 1969. This is the first incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, with Peter Green, on lead guitar, and vocals, and John McVie on bass. Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan were also in the early lineup on guitar. Mick Fleetwood is on the drums. Peter Green, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood were in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, a band that also had Eric Clapton in it, and future Rolling Stones guitarist, Mick Taylor.

  6. Dwayne says:

    Susan: This is the final song I’ll share. It is Masters Of War, from Bob Dylan. It is from 1963. Bob Dylan was only 21 when he wrote this, but he would turn 23 in May of 1963. I also have this in my music collection. Again, this song is fitting for these current times.

  7. GoinFawr says:

    The following quotes written by Sergei Mashinsky “Doctor of Philosophy”, USSR sanctioned and published in 1981, appear to state that Ukraine is sovereign, and was setting its own foreign policy as early as the 16th century.

    From the preface of Nikolai Gogol, A Selection, Progress Publishers, 1981, Moscow, Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Translated from the Russian:

    “These stories by Gogol are frequently described as Ukrainian stories. They vividly reflect country life in (the) Ukraine, the national character, and the mores of its people.”

    Well, that seems to suggest autonomy, especially the use of ‘national’ is there more?

    “Strategically situated on the trade routes between the Baltic and Black seas, between east and west Ukraine had long excited the inquisitive ambitions of its neighbours…

    The long and bitter struggle between Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine led to the formation in the 16th century of a federative union between these states. In this Union Ukraine retained relative autonomy, which frustrated the expansion of the Polish Warlords to the south-east.”

    Oh I’d bet, and that’s not to mention the trouble Ukrainians gave to invaders coming from the NE, eh?

    Editorial Note: Wherever you see ‘Ukraine’ above, the original text reads ‘the Ukraine’, uno y.

    I have to say, all that together certainly provides evidence that Ukraine has been a sovereign nation since at least the 1500’s, and with that coming from Russia’s state sanctioned historical reckoning circa 1981, well that is some strong credibility.

    Putin was 29 when that was published by Progress Publishers, in Moscow. I can produce the hard-copy.

    The overwhelmingly elected Zelenskyy is a legitimate hero when compared to most, let alone his counterpart. Ukrainians are fighting for all of democracy and their right to simply exist right now, what are Russians fighting for? Putin?

    • GoinFawr: Seems to me we could rephrase your question at the end. The Russians are fighting for whatever cause Putin made up to send them to war. The real question is what is Putin fighting for. We’ve heard a number of explanations ranging from he’s rebuilding Mother Russia to the man has lost his mind. I’m not sure we’ll ever learn the truth about what drives him, but in the meantime, many will perish.

  8. GoinFawr says:

    “We’re living through another Cuba.” – XTC

  9. Sharon says:

    My family roots are Eastern European. My grandparents left so they could have a better life for themselves and their children but also left behind friends, relatives and loved ones. As a child I was always afraid that there would be a world war and that childhood fear is papable right now. We can’t turn a blind eye to freedom, a basic right for all of us. We can’t turn a blind eye to the atrocities that are going on, But our hearts should be lightened by the fact that there are many who are helping in any way they can. Perhaps people will think twice about the freedom they have. Prayers to all of you and to Ukraine.

  10. MICHAEL KLEIN says:

    This is a moving documentary released onto YouTube by Netflix. It brings us into the current times of the Ukraine. Maybe it should not be watched just before attempting sleep.

  11. Beverly Mah says:

    This time we can’t look away. Everything is so delicate now and so important to get right. My love to our Ukrainian family.

    • Beverly, I agree. It does feel like this is about more than the fight for democracy in Ukraine. Perhaps that’s why so many of us feel like we’re not doing enough to help Ukraine in this war.

  12. Lin Lawson says:

    I quite like your soap box. I am disgusted by the war in the Ukraine. I am disgusted by war in general. What is interesting is the muted outcry from the world over the many invasions by the great moral leaders of the world, the USA.I hate war. I am opposed to war…..period. I don’t care if it’s Canada in Afghanistan, US in Vietnam,Irag, miiddle east, South America, Yemen, where ever. I have discovered it is who we are. It is in our DNA. I have very little hope that we can stop killing each other.

    • Lin, I too am disgusted by war. Where I have difficulty is in those cases where tyrants like Putin start wars to subjugate others for their own nefarious purposes. Those under attack must fight back and it’s legitimate for them to call upon their allies for help.
      But you are correct that so many governments have declared war on those weaker than themselves that it’s difficult to find anyone with clean hands.
      I sincerely hope war is not in our collective DNA but rather is a part of the warped psyche of the a few who are willing sacrifice everything and everyone for power. Citizens have to be alert to this and not elect these meglomaniacs in the first place. Sergey Utkin, head of strategic assessment at the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, was on CBC talking about Putin’s war on Ukraine. He said yes, Putin was to blame but added the Russian people were also responsible, saying people deserve the governments they have.
      It’s a wake up call for all of us.

  13. Caron says:

    It all comes down to spheres of influence and national security. Russia can no more allow the Ukraine to join NATO, as it has requested to do, than the US could allow Canada to join the Warsaw Pact if such a thing still existed.

    • GoinFawr says:

      “…if such a thing still existed.”

      Looks like you are beginning to get it. Start from there and follow that perfectly sound line of reasoning to where we are at today.

      This whole ‘Russia can’t be right next to NATO’ is a specious argument. If Ukraine is absorbed by Putin, then the nation adjacent to them will be “Right next to Russia’, and so will have to be absorbed, and so on and so forth, until ocean front is their border, I suppose; it is worth noting that historically such aggression has rarely been contained by coastlines.

      Is Ukraine sovereign, or not? I have provided evidence, sanctioned by the former USSR in fact, that proves Ukrainians have been setting their own autonomous foreign policy for centuries, what gives Putin, or anyone, the right to abrogate that sovereignty?

    • Carlos says:

      Caron I fully understand what you mean and I never understood why Canada was pushing so hard for the Ukraine to be part of NATO. Of course Russia was going to react ferociously against that and your exempla illustrates that well.
      I fail to understand why our leaders find that so hard to figure out. I understand that in a perfect world the Ukraine should decide whether or not to belong to NATO but we live in a very imperfect world and Western leaders are pushing NATO too hard and the consequences are obvious.

  14. ronmac says:

    I assure you Canada is not looking the other way. Since Feb 2014 when the US instigated a violent coup which overthrew a democratically elected govt Canada and other NATO countries have rushed in to arm and train far right openly neo-Nazi ultranationalists in an attempt to provoke Russia. The ultranationalist groups trace their heritage to WW2 who murdered a hundreds of thousands of Jews in the summer of 1941 in the wake of the German invasion.

    Today these groups have become entrenched in Ukraine’s security and military bureaucracies and act on their own without democratic oversight. In the last eight years they have been conducting a campaign of indiscriminate shelling in eastern Ukraine which has killed an estimated 13,000 civilians. In 2019 Zelensky was elected on a platform of better relations with Russia but it soon became apparent he had very little power as he faced death threats and a backlash from the far right. One leader boasted Zelensky will be found “hanging from a tree” if the tried to implement any peace accord.

    https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/allegations-of-canadian-troops-training-neo-nazis-and-war-criminals-sparks-military-review

    • GoinFawr says:

      So your contention is that Putin is destroying Ukraine and Ukrainians in order to restore a democratic gov’t?

      Go on ron’, pull the other one!

    • GoinFawr says:

      ANyone seen the latest RT endorsed CT being promoted: Flocks of poison birds of mass destruction!
      How thin does the bs have to be stretched before it simply doesn’t fool anyone anymore?

      @ron: The truly Honourable Mr. Zelenskyy has already directed his administration in multiple rounds of peace talks, and yet he is still heroically alive and righteously defending the folk who elected him, last time I checked.

      Canada has ‘ultranationalist’ antidemocratic, theocratic fascist groups, including some with whom an Ontario MP will apparently pose with them and their flag, and I can assure you law enforcement are working hard these days to root them out and prosecute them fully. But I don’t think we’ll need Russia to come over the North Pole and destroy the entire nation along with our democratically elected government in order to do so, thank goodness.

  15. Dave says:

    Ukraine became an independent country over 30 years ago with the breakup of the Soviet Union, it is a real country with its own language and culture. Despite the current government there not being as friendly as Russia would like, there is no Nazi regime running it, it is led by a Jewish person. As for the threat NATO supposedly posses to Russia – NATO hasn’t attacked Russia, nor has Ukraine. Also, Ukraine’s interest in NATO membership which goes back many years has never really been seriously pursued by NATO, in large part because of fears it would provoke Russia. All the lies spread to to support the invasion do not stand up to any serious scrutiny. Of course, in Russia now, no scrutiny is allowed.

    I don’t know if Putin has become a victim of his own megalomaniac, paranoid delusions he tried to peddle and came to believe this invasion would be quick and easy, but Ukraine is resisting with some success and the west has imposed harsh punitive sanctions on Russia. Perhaps Putin thought that because he got away with many previous incursions to neighbouring countries with little military or economic cost, he would again. Around 90% of Russia’s military is tied up in Ukraine now and it is not going well for them. Putin and Russia are paying and will continue to pay a high price for this evil folly.

    • Caron says:

      With apologies to our much abused First Nations, it is often said of Canada that we have too much geography and not enough history. Eastern Europe is exactly the opposite. If you go back to 1900 Russia has been invaded several times by the west, including armies from Canada and the US. So they take having buffer states very seriously. If you go back a bit further to the1700s the Ukraine was a food growing area owned by the Polish/Lithuanian Commonwealth and the eastern half was mostly controlled by Russian speakers under Catherine the Great. It has always been a contested land and a wise Ukrainian leadership would have been better advised to seek a more neutral status after the fall of the Soviet empire. Of course a wise Soviet leadership would have been better advised to take the Soviet speaking areas east of the Don River and call it a day instead of invading the whole Ukraine.

      • Carlos says:

        Caron I agree with you that Russia has been invaded several times but when was Canada part of an invasion of Russia?

      • Dave says:

        Pretty much every country in Europe (except maybe Britain) has been invaded a number of times. The rest seem to have gotten over it and are now trying to co exist peacefully. Of course, you are correct in so far as part of the reason bullies attack others is because they are unable to resolve their own insecurities.

    • Caron says:

      Carlos: Canada sent soldiers on an expeditionary force to overthrow the Russian revolution after the first world war in 1918. Canadian army members were moved across Canada by train and sent by ship to Russia along with American troops. The troop trains dropped soldiers infected with Spanish Flu at stops across North Am as they got sick.

      • Carlos says:

        OK thank you – I was not aware of that

      • Caron says:

        Carlos: George F. Kennan, a former US ambassador to the Soviet Union after the second world war and a long serving US State Dept. official wrote a short book titled “Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917 – 1941” where he covers the abortive attempts to over-turn the Russian revolution in which Canada and its soldiers took part under British leadership.

      • Carlos says:

        Thank you Caron for the book reference – appreciate it
        Always great to have good book suggestions

  16. GoinFawr says:

    The results of the UN resolution on ending Russian aggression against Ukraine:

    That majority is overwhelming.

  17. Carlos says:

    Interesting to note the countries that abstained from voting

    • GoinFawr says:

      China and Cuba are huge abstentions in favour of the resolution, for sure. The others abstaining for other reasons send a different message, obviously.

      • Carlos says:

        Well GoinFawr the only message they sending to the world is that you agree with the invasion but do not have the guts to say so or you are in debt to Russia and cannot say anything at all, like the cases of Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and others in Africa that had communist governments and owe them the war they run against their own people even after Russia sucked as much resources as it could. China took their place after their failure.

  18. Linda says:

    I read a quote recently that possibly explains the current crisis: “With the Ukraine Russia is a United States; without the Ukraine Russia is like Canada, mostly snow”. While Russia has plenty of resources the Ukraine has “the most arable land in Europe”, year round open sea access & a much longer growing season. Plus plenty of resources, including people. Russia, like many countries, is facing a demographic time bomb. By 2030 – a mere 8 years from now – an estimated 30% of Russians will be over the age of 65. They are not having enough babies despite incentives & it is expected that Russia’s population will decline from some 145 million today to around 123 million by 2050. Did anyone catch the offer to open the Russian border to Ukrainian refugees? Is this invasion actually some kind of gigantic kidnapping attempt? Regardless of the ‘why’ these kind of conflicts are bad for everyone. Hopefully the sanctions will bring an end sooner rather than later.

  19. Carlos says:

    Amazing how many times WordPress sends my emails to la la land – let me try again

    Our Prime minister, as usual when he goes abroad, has beautiful speeches about issues he does not care at all when he is at home. The latest is about Democracy. He just loves to to be who he is not. He loves to tutor others on what he does not do at all.

    ‘Trudeau made the comment after delivering a foreign policy speech in Berlin on the need for democracies to make a “constant effort” to counter apathy, disinformation, low voter turnout and the rise of populism that may have strengthened the hand of authoritarian leaders like Putin.’

    I would like to know what we, as a country, have done to strengthen our democracy? Nothing, on the contrary, we have pushed our democracy into oblivion every single day. Our parliament is basically a meeting point of people that have no say on anything. Other than the government itself, parliamentarians are just Babushka dolls. We have liars and opportunists sitting as members of parliament trying to push their interests. We have a government run by lobbyists from corporate Canada and whoever else has enough money to seduce our ministers. We have done nothing at all to make our democracy more accountable, more transparent and fairer by changing the voting system. In summary, our democracy is dying of neglect and our leaders seem to be more interested in its weakness then changing it to make it stronger and closer to the people that it is supposed to represent.
    Then we have our prime minister, as usual, preaching something he does not do at all. Justin Trudeau if anything, is an expert on teaching others what he has in his mind because he reads about it rather than what he actually does. To be fair he is not the only one. For the last 30 years nothing has been done to make our democracy relevant.

    Justin Trudeau along with most politicians in Canada and around the world have made democracies weaker. Years and Years of abuse, lying and following the only thing that excites them – MONEY.
    Then he goes to Europe and tells others we have to stop being aloof. Excuse me Justin, wake up because if you do not you will find yourself one of the main causes of a failed democracy.
    The only reason they have not done anything at all is because they enjoy having the power our failing democracy gives them on its way to a failed state.

    • GoinFawr says:

      …?

      So Alberta had an NDP admin. for four years, they started taking “MONEY” out of Alberta politics. That’s way less than 30 years ago. If the UCP undid it, it can be done again.

      JT expanded civil liberties, which is something libertarians better start acknowledging.

      Work has been started at reconciliation between Canada’s indigenous and settler populations. Not finished, started. Eg. While it may be a small thing in the big wide world, I know what it meant for life long Edmonton Elks fans to change their team’s name.

      I mean does way more work need to be done? Yes. Democracy failing with Canada on her way to a failed state? Nah.

      • Carlos says:

        So you think that our Democracy has evolved? Is that what you are suggesting?
        If that is the case I think you should really look at what Democracy is about and then tell me we have a functional one. If it is functional to you then I apologize but I disagree profoundly – Reconciliation was brought about because we had to admit to the rest of the world that we committed cultural genocide as many other nations because of the pseudo soon failed democracy we have. Reconciliation is not a consequence of our democracy. It is a consequence of not being able to hide anymore.

  20. GoinFawr says:

    From the preface of Nikolai Gogol A Selection, Progress Publishers 1981, Moscow, regarding the tale of “Taras Bulba”:

    ” In 1569 the so-called Lublin Unia was proclaimed, which confirmed the unification of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine into a single state with a single senate army and treasury. In actual fact, the Unia for Ukraine and Lithuania meant the complete loss of national independence and subordination to Poland…

    The peasants put up a bitter struggle against the Poles and those who could fled south, to the Zaporozhye region, which in the 16th century became the centre of Cossack territory. Thus did Cossackdom come into being.

    “This was…a flame struck on the flint of misfortune,” writes Gogol. The Zaporozhians were distinguished by their shared contempt for riches, their bravery, love of freedom, boundless energy and fervent patriotism.

    Everything about life in the Zaporozhian Setch was unusual. The Setch was a great military camp. Old and young Cossacks lived in it, but without their families. In the intervals between their military campaigns they sometimes farmed, but more often hunted and fished. Discipline in the Setch was severe, especially during a campaign. Each troop unit (kuren) was headed by an elected ataman, who himself answered to the main ataman, the koshevoi — also elected — of the community. The Zaporozhian army consisted of regiments which in their turn were subdivided into smaller units. All the command posts, right up to that of hetman, were elective.”

    – Professor Sergei Mashinsky, Doctor of Philosophy

    So even in the 16th century Ukraine enjoyed their democratic institutions, judging by the way they were running their armed forces. And Mashinsky’s use of the clause,

    “loss of national independence”

    is an explicit admission of statehood; Ukraine must have been a separate autonomous state for it to have been at risk of losing that sovereignty. So the question remains, is contemporary Ukraine sovereign, or is it simply a province belonging to Putin?

    That excerpt was published in 1981, sanctioned by the USSR. Putin was 29 years old.

    Editorial Note: Wherever you see ‘’Ukraine’ above, the original text reads ‘’the Ukraine’, uno y.

  21. GoinFawr says:

    How about this ‘off ramp’ for Putin:

    Let’s say he is 2 billion percent correct and historically Ukraine and Russia are sister nations (with Russia springing from Ukraine) if he truly wanted to unite the two he could dissolve Russia’s federal government, then Russia would be free to join Ukraine!

    The nascent state could have some tasty, internationally monitored general elections!

    Sorry, wait…I doubt vicious war criminals and murderers will be considered eligible candidates, so that leaves some folk out. sigh.

  22. Carlos says:

    The UCP just raised some tuitions at the University of Alberta 100% and at the same time throws money at subsidizing gasoline and cut corporate taxes.
    Who the heck wants to live in this province anymore? Vengeance against Edmonton is OBVIOUS and no respect for anything other than themselves who are of course representatives of God and its market fundamentalism. This is criminal and we continue to take it as if it does not affect us.
    It is sick and destructive.

  23. Carlos says:

    Read this and YES get mad and do something – write a email telling them what you think of their absolute retarded government – not crazy by the way – RETARDED

    https://albertapolitics.ca/2022/03/exceptional-tuition-increases-to-hammer-university-of-alberta-students-in-12-professional-programs-this-fall/

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