The crisis Ukraine finds herself in has been termed as the worst that Europe has ever seen since the second world war. The city of Lviv is at capacity with internally displaced people. Over two million Ukrainians are estimated to have fled their country—people who, a few weeks ago, lived a peaceful comfortable life are now homeless refugees. The city of Mariupol is reportedly completely isolated and now has had no running water and no power for days. Multitudes of civilians have lost lives and livelihoods in the blink of an eye – children orphaned, parents have lost children, spouses are left mourning, families have been torn apart. People bear unfathomable injuries – broken ribs, raptured limbs, gaping wounds. Hospitals are running out of medical supplies as supply chains stumble in the face of Putin’s cruelty. Surgeons and their enervated patients take refuge in basement shelters.
In talks, Russia promises ceasefire and establishment of safe humanitarian corridors through which women, children, and the aged can escape. Though leery, desperate Ukrainians take the Russians at their word only for the latter to thrust the Grim Reaper right onto the former’s tracks. Overwhelmed by the Ukrainian defense, the Russian military under Putin’s malevolent command take revenge by bombing civilian women and children. Hospitals, Maternity wards, schools, and apartment buildings have been wrecked leaving death and contusion in the wake.
Two villains come to mind when one thinks about Putin’s unfair onslaught on a peaceful Ukraine – Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden. Hitler, who is in a rather distant past, committed suicide when he realized he had lost and was about to be captured. Osama was captured in a smart, professional, top secret military operation, stopped in his evil tracks, and silenced forever.
What should Putin’s fate be? This question should be in every serious world leader’s mind. The dictator seems to be hellbent on obliterating Ukraine. And it has been predicted that he is not stopping at Ukraine. How much more suffering is he supposed to cause before a solution is sought? The sanctions imposed on Russia seem to have invigorated rather than deterred him. Today, the White House warned that Putin is likely to use chemical weapons on Ukrainians. Are world powers going to just sit and watch with bated breath as the situation unfolds only hoping that the dictator does not confirm their worst fears?
Russians have been demonstrating in masses in objection to the war even as they are intimidated, beaten, and arrested. Up to now more than thirteen thousand Russians are behind bars for protesting Putin’s brutality on Ukraine. Despite the knowledge that they could be arrested and subjected to fines and jail time, they took the bull by the horns. Theirs is a cry for help. Not only on behalf of their Ukrainian brothers and sisters but on their own behalf as well. It remains to be seen whether this cry will be heard.
Russia’s possession of nuclear weaponry no doubt makes Putin akin to a suicide bomber. Approaching him can mean death. Poking him may bring about woe and anguish. But isn’t tiptoeing around a terrorist akin to massaging a crocodile’s tail?