You have a neighbor who is a bully and has been repeatedly trying to tell you how to live your life for as long as you can remember. 8 years ago he broke into your house and never left, taking up residence in two rooms. None of your other neighbors really cared about what happened, so you had to deal with it on your own. A couple of months ago the bully decided he wanted more. He wanted to run your life completely, so he started beating you, shooting your family members, trashing the place, and raping your wife and children. He also installed explosive devices in several rooms. It took community leaders a couple of weeks to make up their minds regarding the due course of action. Since you insisted on fighting back, it just got too bloody and loud for them to be able to ignore what was going on. Occasionally they would bring you some cash, food, and means of protection like pocket knives, stun guns, and baseball bats. However since this whole mess is nowhere close to being resolved, the fighting keeps disturbing their comfortable lives, and the bully keeps threatening to blow the whole neighborhood up, some of the leaders decide to take matters into their own hands. They start calling you to persuade you to try to appease the attacker and suggest giving him more room. For the greater good, of course. While he is still raping your family members. And after he murdered your parents, your brother, a couple of cousins, and kidnapped your sister and her children. All real-life similarities are intentional.
More and more people around the globe are finally realizing that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not just a Ukraine problem. And it’s not because of the fact that more than 230 Ukrainian children have been killed. Nor because Russians have openly announced that they will be stealing agricultural produce from occupied regions (some of it is already being sold in Crimea). But because Russia is basically holding the threat of hunger over the heads of millions by blocking Ukrainian ports and about 90 million tons of agricultural products in them. No one could have possibly predicted this at a stage when a certain country was gearing up to invade its neighbor that coincidentally feeds 400 million people around the world. Oh, wait a minute! Just another reason why Russia needs to be stopped.
Near-frontline living 24 towns and villages in the Kharkiv region have been freed. In one of them, about 170 inhabitants spent more than 2 months in the basement of a kindergarten. Among them were 40 kids, the youngest 3 months old. Some basement walls tell occupation stories, through timelines and lists of those who found shelter or their final resting place there. A lot of those stories we will never get to see, due to Russians pursuing civilian targets. Just within 24 hours 14 towns and villages in the Donetsk region were shelled, damaging 40 civilian objects, including a kindergarten.
Nataliya Melnik is a longstanding partner of the Free Market Road Show. She lives in Kyiv and is sharing her Facebook diary.
We wish her all the best!
If you want to support the Ukrainian people, have a look at http://helpukraine.center/en
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