The Ukrainian Odyssey

Image: Mathias PR Reding
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By MARCIO SALGADO*

Ukraine needs its Trojan horse to win an unwinnable war in real terms

Allegations of war crimes multiply in the invasion of Ukraine. The country's government counted more than 1949 civilians dead in Kiev and in the suburbs of the capital. The images of bodies dumped in the streets and the facts reported by survivors are terrifying and will be analyzed by international human rights organizations. War crimes were delimited in the Geneva Conventions, in XNUMX, and ratified by the Member States of the United Nations (UN).

This is an unjust war – like other wars – against a country that chose to live in freedom, without surrendering to those who today try to massacre it. It didn't start now, it's true, in 2014 the Crimean peninsula, which then belonged to Ukraine, was invaded and annexed to Russian territory. The US and the European Union protested and threatened sanctions in vain. But there is no possible comparison with what happens today, because at that time the then president of Ukraine acted as a puppet of Vladimir Putin, and to the world that act seemed like a consented invasion.

Ukrainians have shown extreme courage to face a military power like Russia, which is far superior in number of soldiers and war technology. They resisted heroically, although they suffered immense material and human losses. And it is not possible to estimate what the Russian army's strategy will be from now on, but the attacks will certainly be highly destructive.

With the beginning of the conflict, geopolitical analyzes were published that justified this violent aggression due to Ukraine's identification with the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This rapprochement with the West and its economic consequences would have motivated the invasion. They also argue that the US invades countries around the world and nobody reacts; that the embargo imposed by that country on Cuba has lasted six decades; that if the aggression was against a country in Africa they would be silent. These are well-known truths, which do not serve as arguments against trade sanctions imposed on Russia, nor do they justify war. It is worth noting that the General Assembly of the United Nations has already spoken out, on several occasions, against the embargo on Cuba.

Do Ukrainians have an obligation to align with Russia because they were once one country? With the end of the Soviet Union, in 1991, fifteen independent countries emerged, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belorus, Georgia and Ukraine, in addition to Russia itself. We are in the middle of the XNUMXst century, the self-determination of a people cannot be violated in this way.

Russia today is not an example of freedom, quite the contrary. Its population does not follow the news of the war, for the simple fact that they were prohibited by the government, nor does it exercise its right to free manifestation and expression. In Moscow, thousands of protesters were arrested. The main opposition leader to the Putin government, Alexei Navalny, was recently sentenced to nine years in prison. He was poisoned before, in an episode that was not clarified, but he managed to recover in Germany, when he returned to Russia he was arrested. It's hard to make opposition there, life hangs by a thread.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, on the other hand, acts like a leader, he did not flee Kiev, and, with his ability to react, he became the unlikely protagonist of the political scene. Not about war, because he did not invent it, and he is aware that he is waging a fight between David and Goliath. Zelensky tries to open spaces for an agreement with the Russian president, while he dialogues with the heads of states of the West. Further on, Vladimir Putin – the lord of that war – will be taken to the International Criminal Court.

A moving image, among many others from the invasion of Ukraine, showed little Odysseus, at the age of ten, moving along a highway among hundreds of refugees towards the Polish border. He carried a backpack in one hand and what could be his ID in the other. And he was crying. Apparently, he was alone in that world of afflictions that wars provoke. A week after the release of the images that circulated the world on the media and social networks, news emerged that his mother was waiting for him ahead. It wasn't fake news, there was a glimmer of hope in the encounter between mother and son. This boy will one day return to his destroyed country. What is expected of him when he wakes up from the nightmare of war, that he loves Russians?

Odisseo is a legendary name in poetry for all time. It is found in the epic poem Odyssey, from the Greek Homer, who lived around the eighth century BC, and tells of his return to the kingdom of Ithaca, after the Trojan War. This war was a bloody conflict between Greeks and Trojans that lasted ten years. The siege of Troy is in another Homeric poem entitled Iliad. It is in it that the famous story of the Trojan Horse is described, which was offered by the Greeks to their enemies and proved to be the key to the Greek victory. Inside the huge horse were hundreds of soldiers who left at dawn, opened the city gates, while the Trojans slept drunk with a false surrender of the Greek warriors.

Ukraine needs its Trojan horse to win an unwinnable war in real terms. Vladimir Putin's attack has always been a delusion from the times of grandeur of Russia's tsars. Perhaps he will never wake up, and in this case, it is the whole world that will live his nightmare.

In addition to human losses and the suffering of millions of refugees, the war will cause commercial difficulties in a context of a globalized economy, food shortages and changes in global warming rates. European countries will be the most affected, including due to the import of Russian gas. The autocrat Putin, who has ruled the country for twenty years with absolute powers, will be taken to the bars of international courts accused of crimes against humanity, but the consequences of this process are long and uncertain.

*Marcio Salgado is a journalist and writer, author of the novel The Desert Philosophermultifocus).

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