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You're not Amazon. And we are not a military training ground

Thursday, 13 July 2023, 18:40

After UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said "We’re not Amazon", meaning that Ukrainians should be more grateful for the help they have been given, a lot of key points that need to be highlighted right now hung in the air. Now, at a time when Ukraine is at a crucial stage of the war for its existence.

And I believe that I, as one of the millions of Ukrainians who could die at any moment during this war, have the right to highlight them.

First and foremost, it is worth pointing out to our Western partners that there are fewer and fewer grateful Ukrainians every day. Because grateful Ukrainians are dying. Every day. Primarily on the battlefield. And I can't stop thinking about the fact that someone who is fully responsible for guarantees and security is still counting possible risks while Ukrainians are counting real lives in hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands.


What is this fight for, Mr Wallace?

Is this a fight for Ukrainian territory, or for the existence of those values that countries such as the UK live by? If you think this is a battle for territory, then what are those values worth?

The democratic world has already proven that Ukraine was wrong to entrust its security to the democratic world in exchange for guarantees of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. We fulfilled our guarantees, but the democratic world did not. Moreover, the situation has reached such a point that every week putin and his henchmen threaten to use those very same nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine, and sometimes on Western countries too.

Perhaps the democratic world, the EU, NATO, the UN and others want to prove that Ukraine was also wrong in 2014, when it refused to become part of the russian world in favour of the Western world? After all, for nine long years, the democratic world has not taken any steps towards it that would be equivalent to what the Ukrainians did in February 2014 and what they still continue to do now.

If a difficult moment has come for the Western world, when it is no longer able, or lacks the courage, to defend the values that created this world for prosperity and freedom, not decline and dictatorship, then perhaps the representatives of these countries should say so directly instead of dropping hints and looking for people to blame.

And first of all, they should tell their citizens. Tell them that the UK's noisy pubs could be emptied at any moment. That British veterans could appear on the streets of London without legs, without arms and without eyes. As they have in Kyiv.

Is a force sufficient if it exists only as long as it is not attacked?

We also thought that choosing the right path would be sufficient for a life of dignity and security.

Ukrainians have already proven they are ready to die to be part of the democratic world and NATO. Which of the NATO member countries has done anything similar? Who has paid a higher price for admission than we have?

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers have already given their lives for values and freedom which, as you understand, will no longer be of use to them. But it is because of them that the freedom of your country remains safe, Mr Wallace.

We are the generation that chose democracy and Western values. We weren't born with them like you were, Mr Wallace. We chose them deliberately. Ukrainians have died for them. But what do we get in response?

For the sake of an ephemeral comatose stability, by satisfying the needs of the aggressor, you were ready to let our country perish at the beginning of the Russian invasion on 24 February of last year. Just as your predecessors did to Czechoslovakia at one time during the Second World War. Then the aggressor only became stronger, having acquired the new resources of an independent country.

I know that the UK has done almost as much for us as any of the allies. That is why in the centre of the Ukrainian capital, you can even enjoy cakes named after Boris Johnson.

And you personally have certainly done a great deal. Thank you.

But the next time you look at peaceful London, at British men of conscription age strolling cheerily through the streets of Soho of an evening, at bridges and railways, at the "beaches, the landing grounds, the fields, the streets, and the hills", ask yourself whether this world has done enough for those thanks to whom it continues its peaceful life? And what are you willing to give to keep it that way?

Because if you see what you see, it means that Ukraine has done and is doing enough. And we are not waiting for thanks – we are waiting, still waiting, for what is due.

Because so far, Russia has been prepared to do much more against Ukraine than you are prepared to do for Ukraine. And it is obvious.

Meanwhile, we are fighting to prove that what you live for has meaning and the right to exist.

We are dying for something that you have been living with since birth. Your generation did not have to fight for freedom, but we are fighting for it – our freedom and yours.

You are not the Amazon of weapons deliveries. But we are not a training ground for spending it in either.

We are a nation that is strengthening the values of the free world with its sacrifices every day. Your losses in this war are money. Ours are lives.

And if you don’t listen to me, then listen to your illustrious forebear. Listen to the man who saved the civilised world. Because he had to and because he could, not because he expected gratitude.

"It is my purpose, as one who lived and acted in these days, to show how easily the tragedy of the Second World War could have been prevented; how the malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous; how the structure and habits of democratic States, unless they are welded into larger organisms, lack those elements of persistence and conviction which can alone give security to humble masses; how, even in matters of self-preservation, no policy is pursued for even ten or fifteen years at a time. 

We shall see how the counsels of prudence and restraint may become the prime agents of mortal danger; how the middle course adopted from desires for safety and a quiet life may be found to lead direct to the bull's-eye of disaster. 

We shall see how absolute is the need of a broad path of international action pursued by many States in common across the years, irrespective of the ebb and flow of national politics," Winston Churchill.

Thank you.

Mykhailo Tkach


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