By Irene Danysh

Why support Ukraine? We, the US, have spent, given, or lent about $100 billion for Ukraine to fight the invasion of Putin’s Russia. That’s a horrific amount of money. And now, the US administration has announced it will give over $200 million more.

Does it make any sense for the US to keep funding this war?

If we understood the situation clearly, we would give the money in a heartbeat.

If Russia is emboldened with a win over Ukraine, the attacks they’ve already been making on our democracy, on the democracies of Europe and other allies around the world will break out much stronger – like a many-headed monster.

What a claim! Isn’t it an exaggeration?

Here are some facts:

Putin’s authoritarian Russia spans 11 time zones. It’s a real empire, and his favorite thing to do is Empire Building. For Putin, there are enough of his own “expendable citizens,” enough military weapons, and enough friends like China, North Korea, Iran – and even Viktor Orbán’s Hungary which wants to block Ukraine from NATO – to keep up Putin’s assault on Ukraine until Ukraine in finally taken back into the fold of the former Soviet Union – the “Russian world” as they’ve been calling it since the 11th century. 

Unless he is stopped.

If you google Republics of the Russian Federation, you will find that Ukrainians are not the only peoples with their own homeland, language, culture, traditions, and flag, who in all logic long to be free of their dominating “Russian big brother.”  How long will the European and Asiatic peoples of Tatarstan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, Karelia, Dagestan, Altai, Buryatia, and Yakutia, to name a few, have to live under the heels of the injustice of authoritarianism?

And closer to home, we have also experienced what Putin’s authoritarianism – and desire to corrode, crumble, in order to crush other powers – can do.

We have our own experience of Russia’s fake news and interference, which exacerbates political infighting tearing us apart. Has Putin fomented some of this division in our past election? Yes, he did. Did Putin’s Russia play a role in Brexit? You bet it did. Are Latin American and Africa being wooed by Russian and China, turning away bit by bit from the US, Britain and France because of Putin’s planting of ideas, weapons and revolutionaries? You bet they are. 

What is at stake for the US?

The same thing that is at stake for Ukraine.

Nothing short of our most cherished possession – freedom. 

In our case, freedom to pursue equality, freedom to pursue justice, freedom to be a real democracy – freedom to be Americans in the best sense.

In Ukraine’s case – it means purely – freedom – freedom in the most noble sense, and also – freedom from torture, freedom from evil, freedom from horrific injustice, freedom from grinding death – freedom to breathe – the deep breaths, lungs full of peace, relief, and freedom.

This is why Ukrainians are fighting – for their freedom, and for American and European freedom as well. 

Freedom for yourself also means freedom and peace for your children. 

Overwhelmingly, Ukrainian soldiers will tell you that they are fighting so that their children will not have to be on the same battlefield. They will not have to live or die in the same hell in 10 or 15 years. This is what people are fight for – for their children.

They will also tell you that evil needs to be fought – always.

Ukrainians understand the long game. Ukrainians have a long memory, and an extremely long history of resistance.

And that’s why they’re a free people today.

We also have our history of resistance. And we also have our present resistance – we resist when we are threatened by hypocrisy, authoritarianism, evil and injustice.

Would you make peace with evil? No. And this is why Ukrainians are not negotiating for a peace that would amount to modern-day slavery. 

My parents fled such spirit-killing evil in Ukraine in 1944 (body-killing as well) –  and neither the US nor Ukraine need that lying, cheating, barbaric, cruel evil of Putin’s now. Ask any Syrian who was forced to flee their country – they will tell you the same thing about the cruel Russian war machine.

And that war machine reaches us daily – but in virtual forms. 

What we need to realize is that Ukraine is our strong ally, just as we are its strong ally. Ukraine needs us, that is for sure  – but we also need Ukraine to resist the evil that my parents fled, the evil that Gorbachev brought down, that Reagan called by its name and helped give the Russian people at least a window of opportunity back then – a window that is tightly slammed shut right now.

So, while the war in Ukraine may look like a stalemate to those of us with the luxury of purely observing, the luxury to get tired of it, Ukraine’s resistance is ferocious and they are not giving ground – they are still up, still standing, still fighting for their existence.

It is ideal to be peace-loving. But I hope every human being, man, woman, and child, will resist subjugation by others.

Because it is natural – and right – that a human being resists with all their strength when another human being is trying to subjugate them. Because if you do become subjugated, it will be a long, long, painful, cruel and unjust road to freedom again.

Thank goodness human beings long to be free.  

We’re so lucky in the US that we are not yet faced with a cruel, authoritarian power which wants to crush the freedom out of us.

But we might be some day.

Let’s not bring that day any closer.

Let’s stick with our brothers and sisters who are fighting for what all human beings love – freedom.

This is the town of Izium in Kharkiv region where I do trainings. It was a beautiful city when I visited it at the start of the war in August, 2014.

Irene Danysh has been based in Burien most of her life, graduated from Highline High School in 1978, and has been active in civic engagement in Burien for the past seven years. She is a volunteer with...

3 replies on “Why fund Ukraine? Burien resident now living there shares some reasons”

  1. Putin is an international terrorist with weapons of mass destuction and will use them on anyone ,including the USA. Russia must be stopped now before they get too big and powerful. I support both Ukraine and Isreal in thier fit for freedom.

  2. Stay safe, Irene. You are way too close to the fighting. I totally support the US giving more help to Ukraine. We should always be there for our allies, especially when they are in a war – and Ukraine is definitely at war. Those who are tired of helping Ukraine would never have survived WWII; instead they would probably have given in to Germany after a week or two. Sad, and pathetic.

  3. Sense this war affects all of us, why can’t we all come together and fight this war with the Ukrainians NATO or not???? If we don’t, we are next and it will be worse than 9/11.

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