Stealing Land

Stealing Land

Russia already has more land mass (eleven percent) than any other country on Earth. Over the years, stealing land has become a strategy for Russia, as it has launched unprovoked invasions and seized territory from several sovereign powers, and declared the land for Russia, which is a violation of international law.

Russia’s Imperial Ambition

Vladimir Putin has been in power for more than twenty years. During those years, Putin’s lifelong ambition, and Russia’s imperial ambition, has been to unite the Russian Federation into a strong nation and restore Russia’s supremacy as a superpower. However, along the way, Russia’s foreign policy has been viewed as trying to gain influence over post-Soviet countries and deterring the expansion of NATO, as well as blocking anything it does not see in its best interest from its seat on the UN Security Council.

In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia because it saw the strategic value of its location on the Black Sea. Russia annexed the territories it occupied, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In 2010, the Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliament of Georgia appealed to thirty-one countries’ legislative bodies, to declare its territories under Russian occupation illegal, and to recognize the mass displacement of civilians from those regions as ethnic cleansing by Russia. In March 2011, Russia demanded the annexation of the Aibga village on the Psou River.

Then, in 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Russian Defense Minister, Sergey-Shoygu cited the reason for the unprovoked invasion as the threat to Crimean civilians and the danger of a takeover of Russian military infrastructure by extremists.

It’s a Land Grab

As Occam’s Razor suggests… the simplest explanation is most likely the accurate one. All of these invasions are not about Russia’s defense. Russia is stealing land. For two decades, Putin has been on a mission to rebuild the Soviet empire but he needs territory, population, and resources to do that… and he’s behind the eight ball – down nearly thirty percent of the USSR’s peak.

The current invasion of Ukraine is just one more attempt for Russia to annex more territory. Putin suggested that action against Ukraine is for its own self-defense. He has repeatedly threatened the use of nuclear weapons to defend Russia. But what country has been such a threat to Russia that it would need nuclear weapons to defend itself? Certainly not its non-nuclear neighbor, Ukraine.

Since invading Ukraine, Putin has claimed annexation of four regions of the embattled country: Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia – nearly fifteen percent of Ukraine’s land mass. The annexation is indicative of coercion at gunpoint. Despite the fact that many Russians disagree with Putin’s war, and that the US, EU, and the UN have all issued sanctions on Russia; Putin is doubling down on his efforts to seize the territories and rebuild his empire.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged that annexation has no legal value and deserves to be condemned. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken argued that it is a “futile attempt at a land grab.” US President Joe Biden said that “the war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people.” Even Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Putin should work to reduce tensions in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Champion

But everyone needs a hero and Ukraine has a champion in President Volodymyr Zelensky. Yesterday, 21 December, President Zelensky addressed the Joint Meeting of the US Congress in which he thanked the US for the help it has given and asked for additional help in Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion and destruction of his country.

In his speech, President Zelensky said, “Your money is not charity, but rather an investment in global security and democracy… “We have no fear… the Russian tyranny has lost control over us… and it will never influence our minds again… “Russians will stand a chance to be free only when they defeat the Kremlin in their minds.” He stood under the determination of “Ukrainian courage and American resolve.”

“The Russians burn down everything.”

The world has watched as Russian bombardments and shelling have destroyed civilian housing, residential communities, schools, daycare centers, hospitals, maternity centers, a theater, and other places where civilians gather, killing thousands.

Truly, Ukrainians have no choice but to fight. If they stop – the cost will be their end. The world can sit back, watch the end, and do nothing – or it can help Ukraine. Help the people caught in the middle of a conflict NOT of their making – help the brave men and women fighting for their lives, for the lives of their children… fighting for their country.

And pointedly, President Zelensky posited what is stopping Russia after it finishes in Ukraine from invading another country and seizing its territory. If Russia is left to these tactics, unchecked, with impunity, It represents a fundamental challenge to the international rule of law. It cannot be allowed to stand.

Putin is a bully… and like all bullies, he won’t stop until someone, or something bigger makes him stop. #SlavaUkraini (Glory to Ukraine).

With gratitude… Lara

Photo Credit: Bucha after Russian Invasion of Ukraine, President Zelensky and Yermak by Oleksandr Ratushniak. Licensed under CC by SA 4.0

#ThinkingOutLoud #Ukraine #VolodymyrZelensky #SlavaUkraini #landgrab #UkrainianCourage #AmericanResolve #HelpUkraine

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