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Let’s support Ukraine in its fight for freedom

The Ukrainian government is attempting to repress its 45 million citizens from aligning their hopes for a more dignified life with better economic opportunities and personal freedoms with the European Union and the West, rather than once again being clawed back into the clutches of the oppressive sphere of influence by the Russian bear in the form of Vladimir Putin.

Talk about profiles in courage. Imagine the prospect of having to submit to extortion by a very powerful, oppressive foreign power on your border, intent on assimilating you, your family, your language and your customs. If you do not agree, your only access to fuel for your homes and businesses will be shut off. And, by the way, loans needed to stabilize and grow your economy can only be obtained from the very same foreign government. If you fail to comply, your loans will be called and your gas shut off. In spite of what I have just stated and the carnage suffered by the Ukrainian people as part of the former Soviet Union, these citizens are willing to give a resounding “nyet” to Putin and to their own government as well.

I am realistic enough to realize there are limits to what the West can do to assist the Ukrainian people in their fight to lead a decent life free of fear and economic suppression. But I am also convinced that efforts to date by the West have not risen to those limits. Putin is very interested in retaking Ukraine, one way or another. It is a vital piece to his puzzle to restore Russia to the totalitarian state it was prior to 1989. If maintaining a Ukrainian democratic government is deemed as not in our national interest, we are making a grave mistake.

Edward F. McKee

East Amherst