‘We Will Fight Till the End’ | National Review

‘We Will Fight Till the End’ | National Review

Ukrainian servicemen attend a prayer service in Kyiv before going into battle, March 13, 2022. (Thomas Peter / Reuters)

There is a man in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, who goes to his balcony every day and plays the national anthem on his saxophone. See it here. Love of country in the midst of hell.

• The vice foreign minister of China, Le Yucheng, has delivered himself of the opinion that NATO should have been “consigned to history alongside the Warsaw Pact.” As it happens, Communist rule in China is exactly the same age as NATO. I hope that NATO outlives it.

• Sometimes, a single phrase encapsulates a horror — mass murder — visited upon a place. A morgue director in Kharkiv said, “There are no coffins left in the city.”

• The Belarusian journalist Hanna Liubakova writes,

Russian troops shot at buses trying to evacuate from Donetsk region of #Ukraine. Four children have been injured. Why do you even shoot at children and their parents fleeing and trying to rescue their lives? What kind of army is this?

I regard that as a very good question.

• A Ukrainian journalist, Anastasiia Lapatina, reports that there was “a message in the group chat of my village, on the outskirts of Kyiv.” That message was: “My mother was killed and she is laying on the stairs of our house. I need to get her body somehow. I understand that it can be problematic . . . but what should I do?”

• You may have heard about Borys Romanchenko. I will quote the foreign minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba:

Borys Romanchenko, 96, survived four Nazi concentration camps: Buchenwald, Peenemünde, Mittelbau-Dora, Bergen-Belsen. He lived his quiet life in Kharkiv until recently. Last Friday a Russian bomb hit his house and killed him. Unspeakable crime. Survived Hitler, murdered by Putin.

• Russia claims to be “denazifying” Ukraine. Discussing Borys Romanchenko’s death, Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, said, “Each passing day makes clear what this ‘denazification’ is.” Yes. (Zelensky is Jewish, by the way. So is Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov. So are other important officials in government.)

• Candace Owens wrote,

President Zelensky is a very bad character who is working with globalists against the interests of his own people. I will not move one inch away from that assessment — ever — no matter how flowery the media depictions of him are.

There’s that word again: “globalists.” People offering alliance with Ukraine? Assistance to Ukraine? People who think some things are connected to other things?

Ms. Owens is a darling of the American Right, with 3 million Twitter followers. She is far more influential than most of us will ever be. I am hesitant to discuss Ukraine (and other matters) with my fellow Americans, many of them: because I don’t know what media they are consuming. And this makes all the difference. We live on different planets.

• Vladimir Putin stands in an old, mephitic tradition. Listen to him, in a televised speech: “Any people, and particularly the Russian people, will always be able to tell apart the patriots from the scum and traitors and spit them out like a fly that accidentally flew into their mouths.” Putin continued, “I am convinced that this natural and necessary self-cleansing of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, cohesion, and readiness to meet any challenge.”

As Radek Sikorski said in a podcast with me, Putin is half czar, half Mussolini.

• “What I saw, I hope no one will ever see.” Those are the words of a Greek diplomat, Manolis Androulakis, who was the last EU diplomat evacuated from Mariupol. He said, “Mariupol will be on the list of cities in the world that have been completely destroyed by war.” These include Grozny and Aleppo — two more works of Putin.

• Think of Soviet depredations in Budapest, in 1956, or the same in Prague, in 1968. Do they not pale in comparison with Russia’s current actions in Ukraine?

• On Twitter, Paula Chertok, of the Euromaidan Press, wrote a moving note, saying,

I don’t know what to do. So I will share some beautiful photos of my mom’s beloved #Mariupol, before the fascist from Germany invaded. This is my mom’s middle school. She loved to sing. Even won a song contest on the local radio. This is her music club.

See the photo here.

• Have you read about Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeniy Maloletka? Oh, my gosh.

If it were not for two Associated Press journalists in the besieged city of Mariupol, the world might not have learned what has been happening there as immediately as we have — nor in such irrefutable, horrifying detail.

(For that article, from the Washington Post, go here.)

• A note from the U.S. embassy in Kyiv:

According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Russian forces have illegally removed 2,389 Ukrainian children from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to Russia. This is not assistance. It is kidnapping.


Here are George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, visiting a Ukrainian church in Chicago. Everyone has a different idea of how ex-presidents should behave. This is mine.

• Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a perfect — perfect — speech to the Russian people. Full of admiration for him, for doing it.

• And did you hear Bruce Pearl, the coach of the Auburn University basketball team? Magnificent.

Listen to Hanna Liubakova, the Belarusian journalist, once more:

#Belarus Lecturer Natalia Dulina was arrested for anti-war rallies. She says that for 3 days before the trial, she wasn’t given food. There were 25 women in the cell for 6 people. One woman asked for a painkiller. The guard took her to another room & hit her head against the wall.

Something else, from Ms. Liubakova:

The head of the Ukrainian Railways Alexander Kamyshin confirmed that there is no railway connection between #Ukraine and #Belarus “thanks to Belarusian railway workers”. They’ve indeed launched what they called “a railway war” with many acts of sabotage to stop Russian equipment.

Marvelous. Hats off.

• Russia’s ministry of foreign affairs tweeted a hashtag: “#StopRussophobia.” Ivana Stradner, of the American Enterprise Institute, commented,

Russophobia has long been a powerful weapon for manipulation by the Russian KGB/FSB. They use American sensitivity to racism to peddle their message. Don’t fall for it.

Yes, don’t.

I’ll tell you something personal. In Cold War days, I was called a “Russophobe” by one crowd; in recent years, I have been called a “Russophobe” by another crowd. (A Russophile is what I actually am — as my music and book collections can attest.) Rulers in the Kremlin are not the only Russians. Think of their political prisoners, for one thing. Are they not Russian? And in many cases, the best?

• Here is a moving report, from Sophie Pinkham:

Boris Nikolsky, a classics professor, spoke to me from the Armenian capital Yerevan, where he had fled with his family. “The plane from Moscow to Yerevan was packed with people I knew,” he recalled. “Lots of young people — the future of Russia is leaving.”

(For the article in question, go here.)

• I wish to recommend an article by Daniel Hannan: “Identity politics is eroding the values which set the West apart from Putin.” That is the heading of the article. Its subheading is, “Our belief in liberty and individual responsibility is all that stands between us and tribal barbarism.”

“The oldest ethic was ‘my tribe good, your tribe bad,’” writes Hannan. He asks, “Could we be returning to that older ethic?”

In the course of his article, he says, “Putin’s aggression against a country that offered him no threat has jolted even the far-Right Continental parties out of their grotesque admiration for him.” I think these parties have merely paused, and that their grotesque admiration will resume.

In any event, Hannan says, “Liberty does not come naturally. Unless we acculturate each new generation, we will revert to the tribal instincts encoded deep in our DNA.”

I think this is exactly right. Reagan used to say, “Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.” More and more, I see the truth of it.

• I am amazed — amazed — at the sheer courage and hardy spirit of Ukrainians. A soldier named Arthur told Jane Ferguson of PBS NewsHour, ““We will fight till the end. It’s our land, it’s our villages, it’s our people. We can’t leave it just to the enemy.”

May justice prevail, for Ukrainians and Russians, and all of us.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.