WAR WATCH - Putin may not quite be Hitler, but he is using der Fuhrer’s playbook.
He is using his own version of the Gestapo to bust demonstrations in the streets of Russia’s major cities and in Ukraine to eliminate those who he feels are a threat to his unabashed goal of subjugating free people.
Regardless of the level of carnage, Putin, his field commanders and government officials are war criminals. Why President Biden and some other leaders are afraid to call Putin out as one, or worse –murderers in the first degree – is a sign of cowardice.
Despite the outpouring of military and humanitarian aid from the West, more substantial assistance is required to help fend off atrocities being committed by Russian fascists. And it must happen soon, before Putin calls in Belarus’ army.
The most controversial measure would be the declaration of a no-fly zone. Will it lead to a risk of escalation in the war?
Yes, but we are already at war and Putin is driving it.
A no-fly zone over all of Ukraine is impossible. We simply do not have the means to support it, but establishing one over Western Ukraine is not only doable, but vital. As I stated in my last article, Putin would scream bloody murder about such a move, but he will not challenge US or NATO aircraft; he has enough on his plate, not to mention he does not need that portion of Ukraine to fulfill his objectives.
Controlling the western region would allow refugees another haven, a large one which could be sustained by aid through neighboring NATO countries. It would also discourage Belarus from invading. Belarus is on the northwestern boundary of Ukraine and its army could threaten Lviv.
The US and UK would have to commit the aircraft. They can do so under the provisions of the Budapest Memorandum, which allows both nations to guarantee the sovereign borders of Ukraine.
In addition to a limited no-fly zone, NATO needs to supply more robust air defense and longer-range ground weaponry. The US has already moved Patriot missile batteries to Poland. Ukrainian soldiers should be trained to operate them, then transfer the batteries to Ukraine. Surface-to-surface missiles also need to be provided to counter Russian artillery, which is pummeling civilians trapped in cities.
The US and its NATO partners have to counter the tragic consequences of Putin’s invasion and do everything to prevent its success. Sanctions, however painful, will not deter the jackal in Moscow.
(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and former NC Valley Village board member and treasurer. He blogs at Village to Village and contributes to CityWatch. He can be reached at: [email protected])