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Will 2024 become the year of Armageddon? Russia’s massive air strike clearly shows why Ukraine aid is so essential

Jan 5, 2024 | Editorials, Featured

First responders work around the destroyed shopping mall that was hit by Russia’s massive strike on Dnipro on Dec. 29, 2023. Russia’s air attack killed at least six and injured 30 people in Dnipro, according to the local authorities. The strikes on Dnipro were part of Russia’s largest air attack against Ukraine that targeted multiple cities across the country with 158 missiles and drones. (Photo by Ozge Elif Kizil/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Marco Levytsky, Editorial Writer.

While world attention has been fixated on the Israel-Gaza war since the horrific October 7 terrorist attack of Hamas and subsequent humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza with the Netanyahu government’s relentless bombardment of that tiny enclave, Moscow on December 29 gave the world a stark reminder that its genocidal war against Ukraine was still raging in full force. On that day Russia launched its largest air attack on Ukraine since the start of the full-scale war.

Moscow launched 158 drones and missiles during the attack, of which Ukraine downed 114. In total, Russia fired 36 Shahed attack drones, as well as at least 90 Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles, eight Kh-22/Kh-32 cruise missiles, and 14 S-300/S-400/Iskander ballistic missiles. As of December 30, the total death toll was 40 people: 16 in Kyiv, nine in Zaporizhzhia, six in Dnipro, five in Odesa, three in Kharkiv, and one in Lviv. Over 160 others across the country were injured.

“We haven’t seen so much red on our monitors for a long time,” Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said, adding that Russia used a combination of hypersonic, cruise and ballistic missiles to strike targets. Among those targets were a maternity hospital, apartment blocks, shopping malls, and train stations.

This marked an escalation of Russia’s continued terrorist campaign aimed at destroying Ukraine’s will to resist, exterminating Ukrainians as a nation and forcing the country to its knees.

“Today, millions of Ukrainians awoke to the loud sound of explosions,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba posted on social media. I wish those sounds of explosions in Ukraine could be heard all around the world. In all major capitals, headquarters, and parliaments, which are currently debating further support for Ukraine. Our only collective response can and must be continued, robust, and long-term military and financial assistance to Ukraine. Only greater firepower can silence Russian terror,” Kuleba said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by several of Ukraine’s allies.

“Ukraine needs funding now to continue to fight for freedom,” U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said in a social media post on Dec. 29.

“Ukraine must get all the military and financial assistance now, this is the only way to stop the war and attacks against civilian targets,” Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics posted on X.

In response to the criminal attack, the United Kingdom announced a substantial new air defense aid package for Ukraine. UK Defense Minister Grant Shapps said London will send “hundreds of air defense missiles” to Ukraine, restocking the air defense systems previously provided by London.

Two days prior to the attack, the Biden administration announced a $250 million military assistance package for Ukraine. The aid package will include arms and equipment, including air defense munitions, anti-armor munitions, ammunition for high mobility artillery rocket systems, and more than 15 million rounds of small arms ammunition.

But this is a mere drop in the bucket when faced with a massive number of missiles that Russia has accumulated over the past year. And the $61 billion in aid that Ukraine desperately needs to defend itself remains stalled in Congress as Republicans continue to hold it hostage to their demands to resume construction on parts of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, curtail humanitarian parole for people who cross into the United States and make it more difficult for migrants to qualify for asylum.

But there is much more to this unconscionable political game than just concern regarding the influx of migrants from Latin America. Led by former President Donald Trump whose admiration for dictators in general, and Vladimir Putin in particular, is legendary, MAGA Republicans have adopted a rigid neo-isolationist stand that harkens back to the far-right “America First” movement of the 1930s. Like today’s Republicans who oppose aid to Ukraine, a majority of Republicans opposed aid to Great Britain when it stood alone against Nazi Germany in February 1941. Fortunately, the Democrats had a massive majority in both houses at that time and were able to easily pass the Lend-Lease Bill.

That is not the case today and it may get even worse. Unbelievable as it may seem considering the mounting evidence of Trump’s criminality and his total disregard for the Constitution of the United States, his re-election remains a very distinct possibility. Not only would this be a disaster for Ukraine, it would also be a disaster for Europe, a disaster for NATO, a disaster for the United States, and a disaster for the entire world.

Like Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany in February, 1941, so Ukraine stands alone against fascist Russia today. And just as Hitler didn’t stop with Czech Sudetenland, Putin will not stop with Ukraine. According to the German tabloid Bild, European intelligence sources suggest that Russia may launch an attack on Europe during the winter of 2024-2025 should Trump win election.

Are so many people blind to the threat posed both by Putin’s expansionism and Trump’s own dictatorial dreams or has a mean-spirited egocentrism overtaken human compassion in the world today? This must change. If people do not come to their senses soon, 2024 may become the year of Armageddon.

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