Ukraine’s resilience sets a global standard

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A year ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a somewhat unpopular leader in Kiev. regarded by his detractors as a light-hearted joker. Today, after February’s Russian invasion, the wartime president is a global icon, a national hero of Ukraine, the world’s prolific videoconferencer and, yes, the least surprising figure in recent memory to be named Time’s Person of the Year. .

International admiration for Zelensky is ultimately about more than the man himself. His stoicism and courage reflect the spirit of a nation that has withstood the Russian onslaught for almost 10 months at a terrible cost with their lives and resources. Now it’s bracing for a potentially tough winter as Russia launches targeted strikes on the country’s energy infrastructure. At any given time, by some measures, between at least 2 million and as many as 10 million Ukrainians live without electricity, in cold, enveloping darkness. Even then, my colleagues say, many Ukrainians don’t let the Kremlin’s woes cloud their spirits.

Since the conflict began, Zelensky and his allies have insisted that their battle is not simply a defense of their territory, but a broader civilizational struggle, pitting liberal aspirations and nascent democracy against the tyranny and authoritarianism embodied by the Russian president’s Russia. Vladimir Putin.

“We are dealing with a powerful state that pathologically refuses to let Ukraine go,” Zelensky told Time’s Simon Schuster, suggesting that the Kremlin cannot accept a Ukraine that rejects its sphere of influence. “They see Ukraine’s democracy and freedom as a matter of survival.”

Zelensky reiterated what he and many other Ukrainians have been saying for months, fighting for other democracies vulnerable to Russian predation: “If they eat us, the sun will go dark in your sky.

The Kremlin says there will be no peace in Ukraine for Christmas (or New Year).

Dozens of countries gathered around Ukraine at the international conference held in Paris on Tuesday. They pledged more than $1 billion in additional aid to Ukraine in the short term, including strengthening its crumbling power grid and other aspects of its civilian infrastructure.

“More than 440 million dollars of the total aid is expected to be directed to the energy network of Ukraine. French officials said that the final amount is likely to increase,” my colleagues said. “In his video address on Tuesday, Zelenskiy called on the international community to make maintaining the country’s energy supply a priority and to provide at least more than $850 million in aid to the sector.”

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed Ukraine’s “courage and determination” and said the conference held in the French capital was “clear proof that Ukraine is not alone.”

Kiev still believes it needs more weapons and arms to fend off Russian attacks and regain more of its lost territory. “Given the scale of the war and Russia’s unwillingness to accept reality and withdraw from Ukraine, we will have to fight all winter,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told reporters. He added that Russia’s attacks on civilian targets and Ukraine’s energy infrastructure were symptomatic of its broader military failure.

“Such barbarism is Russia’s response to losing the war on the battlefield,” Kuleba said. “They suffered a series of humiliating defeats.”

Ukraine has also been the target of massive Western arms and military aid flows. My colleagues reported on Tuesday that the Biden administration is preparing to send Ukraine the Patriot missile system — its most sophisticated air defense technology.

Western support for Kiev remains steady despite fears of war fatigue in many countries, coupled with the wider economic impact of the war and energy sanctions on the Russian economy.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz “Business. international” wrote in a recent article: “Among Putin’s many miscalculations was his claim that aggression against Ukraine would strain relations between his enemies.” “In fact, the opposite has happened: the EU and the transatlantic alliance are stronger than ever.”

The Pentagon warns of China’s plans to dominate Taiwan and beyond

Thousands of miles away, officials from another country facing a vengeful neighbor are taking notes. The war in Ukraine has echoed in the island nation of Taiwan, which is constantly in China’s shadow and is subject to increasing provocations from the mainland. Beijing’s leaders view Taiwan as an illegitimate state that intends to return to Chinese rule, similar to Putin’s stance on Ukraine.

For Taiwan, Ukraine’s challenge to Russia is a source of inspiration and a model for them to live by. “Ukraine has shown a very strong determination to defend its territory, and it’s clear that Ukrainians have a very strong civil society that helps them resist the occupation,” he said. A major international security conference in Halifax, Canada last month. He added that watching Ukraine’s struggle has inspired Taiwan to implement major long-term military reforms, including extending the mandatory military service expected of its citizens.

Although China’s naval assault on Taiwan is very different from Russia’s land campaigns in Ukraine, Taiwanese officials have used the opportunity to drum up international support for their cause and sound the alarm about the challenges they face.

“We are already facing a smokeless war on a daily basis,” Tsai said, referring to China’s “hybrid warfare” tactics, using increased forms of military intimidation through naval exercises and airstrikes, as well as cyber attacks and online disinformation campaigns. .

“If we don’t stand our ground at this point,” Tsai said, “China will test the result step by step to create a new normal and continue to change the status quo step by step until Taiwan’s sovereignty.” the most fragile.

Tsai said that the experience of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine shows that authoritarian countries do not hesitate to invade the territory of other countries, revise national borders and challenge the “rules-based international order”. He added that the lesson for Taiwan is to prepare for invasion now, not when it’s too late.

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