On day 57 of the illegal and unconscionable Russian invasion of the sovereign country of Ukraine, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister is working to help citizens flee the besieged city of Mariupol.
It had been planned that the remaining approximately 120,000 still in the port city would be evacuated as quickly and safely as possible. The goal for today was to have been the rescue of 6,000 citizens, but when Russia began shelling close to the site where buses would be loaded for evacuation, only four buses — approximately 80 people — were able to make it out of the beleaguered city.
All of this comes days after Russia rejected a request from both the largely Catholic Ukraine, and the United Nations, for an Easter Cease Fire. Russia dismissed the cease fire request as being insincere, stating that it was a trick to allow Ukrainian forces more time to train.
Rational people, of course, will recognize that the cease fire request was both legitimate and reasonable, and would have allowed soldiers and citizens on both sides to be able, however briefly, to feed their souls as they work towards Peace, which is (as always) the only worthwhile objective.
To put the refusal of a cease fire in perspective, one only has to look back to World War I and the Christmas Eve Cease Fire between the Germans and the British forces. Nothing was formally declared on that night in 1914, but soldiers from both sides just stopped fighting, sometimes meeting in the area between the fortified front lines of each side, in the so-called No Man’s Land, to exchange food (and injured men) and sing carols together.
Similar instances happened during World War II, as witnessed by my best friend’s older cousin, Jack Williams, at a church outside of Paris one Christmas Eve. Jack has told me of sketching the church (the print is shown below) while troops of both sides sang Silent Night.
That Putin refused to allow even a single day of peace on a day that is considered by many around the world to be most holy is both sadly indefensible and a true indication of the lack of human kindness, understanding and basic morality that Putin possesses.
The world should remember this when the day that Russian troops are finally expelled from Ukraine arrives, and it should be yet another of the instances of inhumanity that Putin and the upper ranks of his Army should answer for when they are, inevitably, charged with the War Crimes they have committed.