Just how bad has the Russian invasion of Ukraine become? Even the Taliban thinks Russia has gone too far. In a statement this morning, the terrorist group decried “the real possibility of civilian casualties” in Russia’s attack, although they called on both sides to show “restraint”:
— Abdul Qahar Balkhi (@QaharBalkhi) February 25, 2022
The Taliban are hardly in a position to complain about civilian casualties, but it doesn’t make them inaccurate. Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky went on television late yesterday to accuse Russia of purposefully targeting civilian populations, calling it “villainous”:
“They are killing people and transforming peaceful cities into military targets,” he said. “That’s villainous and will never be forgiven.”
Mr. Zelensky said he had spoken with many Western leaders, adding that he had asked some whether they would admit Ukraine to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
“Everyone is afraid. They don’t answer,” he said. “But we are not afraid. We aren’t afraid of anything. We aren’t afraid to defend our country. We aren’t afraid of Russia.”
However, Zelensky did offer to discuss terms with Putin on an agreement to halt the fighting:
At the same time, he appeared to leave some room for talks with Moscow. “We aren’t afraid of talking about anything. About security guarantees for our country,” he said. “We aren’t afraid to talk about neutral status; we aren’t in NATO at the moment. But what guarantees and, most importantly, which precise countries would give them to us?”
None, apparently. The NATO project for Ukraine had been long dead, at least since 2014 and likely long before that, only no one bothered to tell Ukraine. There is zero chance that NATO will admit someone who’s already under attack, either; that would require going to war immediately, and in a position with dicey lines of communication at best. In fact, that’s surely one reason NATO dragged its feet on following up on the 2008 Bucharest Declaration, although the immediate invasion of Georgia was likely another.
The casualties on the Ukrainian side have gone well into three figures in official statistics released by Zelensky, but are probably far higher in reality. That includes 13 defenders of “Snake Island,” who gave a brave valediction to the Russian warship that snuffed them out:
According to a purported audio exchange, as the Russians approached Snake Island, also known as Zmiinyi Island, the Russian officer says: “This is a military warship. This is a Russian military warship. I suggest you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and needless casualties. Otherwise, you will be bombed.”
A Ukrainian soldier responds: “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”
Those were the final known words heard from the island.
All 13 Ukrainian defenders were killed in a Russian bombardment Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
“All border guards died heroically but did not give up. They will be awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine posthumously,” Zelensky said.
Worth noting: Zmiinyi Island is just off the coast of NATO-member Romania. That’s certainly worth watching.
Speaking of which, I’ll be filling in for our pal Hugh Hewitt this morning on his syndicated radio show, airing from 6-9 am ET, live from the home studio deep in the heart of Texas! We will have a great lineup of guests and regular contributors:
- Former US ambassador Ric Grenell on Ukraine
- Bearing Arms’ Cam Edwards
- Sonny Bunch on the movies
- Tarzana Joe
We’ll also take your calls to the show at 800-520-1234, and you can watch the show live at The Hughniverse. There’s a great chat room that goes with it, and lots of original content in the troll-free websurfing experience for subscribers. The audio also streams at HughHewitt.com.