The bravery of President Zelensky

I’ve spent enough time – not much time, but enough time – reading contemporary media coverage of military events to know how uncertain a guide they can be even when propaganda has not fictionalised the accounts. Reports of dramatic advances when the history books tell us about slow, nearly stalemated conflict. Talks of victorious counter-attacks when the history books tell us about overwhelming, rapid defeat.

So it’s wise to remember how little I or nearly every reader of this knows about what is actually happening and whether Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is seriously faltering or just taking a few days longer, a few days delay that will quickly become forgotten. (And especially given the questions the media coverage so far leaves hanging.)

Which is why Ukranian President Zelensky’s social media videos from the heart of Kyiv are so powerful, so moving and – let us hope – a sign that things are indeed going seriously wrong for Putin.

President Zelenskyy’s party on way to becoming sister party of Lib Dems

ALDE, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party, has welcomed President Zelenskyy's party as an associate member. more

In particular, I wonder if – and hope that – Putin has under-estimated who he is up against in Zelensky. I’d hazard that most of you reading this post would recognise an image of Zelensky but wouldn’t recognise ones of previous leaders of previous countries Russia has invaded under Putin.

The Ukranian invasion is an event that feels much closer to home to so many people here, and in other countries, than Putin’s previous invasions, even – for a bundle of reasons – than his previous invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Again, I wonder if Putin has failed to anticipate this.

In no small part due to this, the pressure on governments in democratic countries across the world is to do more, to get more involved, to take more actions, rather than to stay out of a far-away conflict.

So, while concerns such as about increases in energy prices hitting people in poverty hard are important and mustn’t be forgotten, the pressures on governments is – rightly – to take more action against Russian rather than to prioritise lower fuel bills.

And more action is definitely needed. The bravery of politicians such as that of the leader of the Liberal Democrat sister party in Ukraine is striking.

Far less impressive is the grudging position of our own government.

It’s time to match your grand words with proper humanitarian actions, Prime Minister.

3 responses to “The bravery of President Zelensky”

  1. Progressives, liberals and social democrats share values that promote internationalism, peaceful resolution of conflict and respect for the rule of law. In the face of naked territorial aggression, we have been at the forefront of defending our values, our nation and our neighbours. Redrawing borders by war in Europe requires our most robust responses.

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