Lvov into NATO!

What to do when the suffering lose their cool


L a d u s h k i n -- It goes without saying: One must empathise with the victims of war, one should help and care for them, try to alleviate their suffering. But war also appears to make its victims headless, and Christianity cannot afford to follow the advice of the “headless”. In a report by the German "Gustav-Adolf-Werk" from 27 Jan. 2024 („glaube-verbindet.gustav-adolf-werk.de/2024/01/die-gefluechteten-aus-schlangendorf-wollen-frieden-in-freiheit“), Lutherans who have fled are calling for the war to continue. These Ukrainians live - or lived - in the midst of war, and yet they provide the recipe for its continuation. In this article they assert: "We need your support from the West for our soldiers." Peace is only possible against Russia: "There is no peace with them." We want to live in peace and freedom: "This is not possible under Russian rule."


Hopelessness creeps through when they talk about their relatives in Russia: "It's no longer possible to talk to them. . . . They are under the massive propaganda influence of the Putin regime."


Unfortunately, there is also an element of racism in the article: It reports on the "raw and brutal violence" of Asian soldiers from the vicinity of Mongolia. That was a familiar topic in Germany both before and after 1945. Alcohol abuse was also a cause of the recent misbehaviour. But substance abuse cannot of course be restricted to the Donbass or the peoples of Russia.


A warning that must be heard

GAW articles give these headless a voice. What is missing, however, is a necessary corrective. The assurance of refugees that negotiations with Russia are pointless, is worrying. A quote: "There is no dialogue! How can you talk to someone who doesn't want to talk, who only wants to use force?"


However, it was Kiev that declared negotiations with Russia illegal in its decree from 3 October 2023. When the French defence minister recently held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu, he was acting unconstitutionally from the Ukrainian point of view.


Security or geography

Vladimir Putin repeatedly assures us that Russia is interested above all in security guarantees, not in territorial gains. Russia has sufficient land – what it doesn't have is security. The West and its headless turn this around: "Putin" only wants to conquer, he has no security interests.


As of April 2024, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken are still assuring that Ukraine will end up in NATO. In doing so, they are inevitably contributing to the downsizing and westward shift of Ukraine’s remaining territory. Without security guarantees, Russia intends to insure that as little of rump Ukraine remains as possible. "Lvov into NATO!" could become a fitting slogan. Russia could perhaps live with that.


In August 1939, after the West’s refusal of security guarantees, the USSR opted for a Hitler-Stalin-Pact in hopes of encountering the German Wehrmacht as far west as possible. The situation is similar today.


It is undeniably true that peace in Europe can only be achieved together with Russia. There can only be security if there is security for all. It is incomprehensible that the admonitions of world-renown diplomats such as Egon Bahr, George Kennan and Jack Matlock (both USA) are old hat today.


One needs to think about the interests of all. This also applies to churches if they aspire to be present across borders. However, the Lutheran pastor Alexander Gross, who still resides in Odessa, assures us that “compromise with Russia” is unwanted (see „glaube-verbindet.gustav-adolf-werk.de/2024/02/eine-botschaft-aus-odessa-zum-2-jahrestag-des-kriegsbeginns-in-der-ukraine“). That leaves us with the option of absolute Western victory. But what do the five-million-or-so Ukrainian citizens who have fled eastwards think? What do the Lutherans of Donbass who prefer the Eastern side feel? More about these Lutherans must be reported on soon.


The accusation of "propaganda" has already been levelled here. The West is clearly not ashamed of the "information war" it has developed over recent decades. Is such a “war” even conceivable without sophisticated propaganda?


Because of the extremely inflationary nature of its usage, I remain reluctant to revert to the term "propaganda". In addition, for us inhabitants of Russia, partisan depictions in Western media are already quickly shattered by the reality we experience on the ground every day. To amuse their audiences, Russian talk show hosts run unedited Western commentaries on life in Russia (see "gilbertdoctorow.com/2023/09/28/sixty-minutes-holds-up-the-mirror-to-the-west-and-the-picture-in-the-frame-is-ugly"). When propaganda self-destructs, there is no need for Russian counter-propaganda.


Germany and the USA repeatedly warn their citizens not to risk visiting Russia. Why is that? Visits usually lead to fraternisation and that diminishes the will to defend. Visits to Russia destroy propaganda. The sanctions curtain of today fulfils a purpose similar to the Iron Curtain of yore: to hamper encounters.


The most outrageous fact

Profoundly criminal is the fact that this war could easily have been avoided. Above all, the Russians have demanded security guarantees. See, for example, the Russian draft treaties of 17 December 2021 and the Istanbul negotiations of March 2022.


Is the USA really the Ukrainians' best friend? Dear Ukrainians: The war you have paid for with your own blood and treasure is considered a cheap bargain by leading US-politicians (see "news.antiwar.com/2023/08/30/sen-blumenthal-us-getting-its-moneys-worth-in-ukraine-because-americans-arent-dying"). Your blood and property are absent from their cost column. You apparently don’t count much.


This catastrophe could all have been avoided. But the USA wanted to try one more East European rollback with the blood and lives of others. A very bitter truth about my country of origin. Perhaps it is those citizens of the world demanding peace negotiations who are your only true friends. Please think about it, especially those of us who see ourselves as Christians.


Of course, the Protestants and Greek Catholics (Uniates) loyal to Kiev see things differently. They care little about geo-strategic issues. They are concerned about extricating themselves from their historical, Orthodox-Eastern Slavic environment and its grip.


William Yoder, Ph.D.

Ladushkin, Kaliningrad region, 08 April 2024


A journalistic release for which only the author is responsible. It is informational in character and does not express the official position of any church organisation. This release may be reprinted free-of-charge if the source is cited. Release #24-05, 965 words.