Death is far away from Europe for as long as there are Ukrainian soldiers between them. Meanwhile, we can only count on ourselves

“How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.

However much we may sympathise with a small nation confronted by a big and powerful neighbour, we cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole country in war simply on her account. If we have to fight it must be on larger issues than that.

I am myself a man of peace to the depths of my soul. Armed conflict between nations is a nightmare to me. War is a fearful thing, and we must be very clear, before we embark on it, that it is really the great issues that are at stake…”

This is not a speech by some of the modern Western politicians. These are not the words of some of the PACE deputies who voted for the return of Russia to the hall. These words are not even about Ukraine.

These words were read by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in September 1938 while explaining to his citizens why their country had allowed Hitler to occupy the Sudetenland.

Back then he hoped that by giving the Czechoslovak sacrifice to the aggressor they could satisfy the latter. Chamberlain even said that this decision would bring peace. “Peace for a whole generation.”

But the aggressor can never have enough of someone else’s blood. By eating weak victims, he grows stronger and will certainly come for you. This is what happened to Britain. Instead of the peace for generations, it received both shame and war. It fought in the Second World War the longest – for 6 years. It lost 400,000 people in that war.

Making friends with the evil brought no peace. It brought death. It brought about Treblinka and Sobibor, Babi Yar and Auschwitz. It brought about the Holocaust.

Such a friendship of Europe with the evil will not produce anything else than death this time as well.

So far, the evil and the death caused by it are far away from Europe. They are alien to it and things will remain like this for as long as there are Ukrainian soldiers between them. For as long as there is Ukraine. Once the evil completes its doings in Ukraine, it will go to the West, the way it has done before.

So why doesn’t Europe hear us? Why doesn’t it understand? It’s simple. Their politicians and businessmen are the same as ours – they do not see beyond their own pockets. They choose to trade with Russia, to turn a blind eye to the interests of Ukraine, Georgia and other countries of Eastern Europe. At first, slowly, until the moment when Russia completes the Nord Stream and Ukraine will cease to be valuable as a transit country. And then everything will speed up. Once the Molotov-Ribbentrop gas pact is completed, we will only have ourselves to count on.

Do not harbour any illusions, Ukraine is an acceptable price for a compromise for Europe. None of them will protect us. If we want to survive, we must build a strong army and government institutions. All we have is each other. And we have to be strong and united in order to survive.

PACE decision is a matter of price. Independent Ukraine is a matter of our values and shed blood. No war can be won only in a politico-diplomatic way. We must hold together and prepare to polish the boots of our soldiers.

Iryna Podoliak
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