The situation in Ukraine is dire and worsening by the hour. Russia’s vicious dictator, Vladimir Putin, is determined to eliminate Ukraine as a free and independent country no matter how many innocent women and children die in the process. His strategy: civilian slaughter. Putin intends to turn every Ukrainian city into rubble and declare victory.
Ukraine’s courageous President Volodymyr Zelenskyy begged NATO to declare his country a no-fly zone and allow Poland to donate MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine’s Air Force. He knows his nation and countrymen are in an existential battle for survival. The dithering, pusillanimous Biden administration claims both measures risk “provoking Putin” and has thus far vetoed the requests.
A nationwide no-fly zone is problematic, but not because of Putin’s thinly veiled bluster about a “nuclear alert.” Putin may be crazy, but he’s not stupid. His invasion force is suffering serious attrition. At least three Russian generals have been killed in action. Conscript mutineers have reportedly disabled scores of Russian vehicles and deserted.
Highly effective short-range anti-aircraft weapons including U.K. Starstreak and U.S. Stinger surface-to-air missiles have transformed much of the country into a “target-rich, free-fire zone” for Ukrainian defenders. Poland’s offer to provide Ukraine with used MiG-29s is a different matter.
Over 30 countries are providing defensive arms and equipment to Ukraine. In addition to air defense ordnance, thousands of shoulder-fired anti-armor weapons, including sophisticated U.S. Javelins and Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat “drones” armed with guided munitions, are regularly destroying Russian tanks, trucks and killing Putin’s invaders. Despite serious losses, Putin’s goal of decapitating the Ukrainian government and killing civilians remains intact.
To that end, Putin is “importing” fighters from Chechnya, Libya and Syria. Putin has also met with his sometimes lapdog, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, to urge his neighboring despot to join the Ukraine invasion.
At this point, President Joe Biden’s woke warriors at the Pentagon and indecisive diplomats at our State Department should be working on a “Plan B” to save as many Ukrainian lives as possible and their government. Zelenskyy has bravely vowed to stay in Kyiv until the Russians depart his country. But even if he survives the coming onslaught on the capital, Putin’s increasingly destructive siege may soon make it impossible for Zelenskyy to effectively communicate or govern.
The Russian assault on Ukrainian cities has already created the most catastrophic humanitarian crisis since World War II. Three million refugees — mostly women, children and the elderly — have already fled. As many as 6 million Ukrainians are internally displaced — their homes, schools and hospitals intentionally obliterated.
How to save them — and their country?
Inspired by Daniel Henninger’s recent Wall Street Journal column about how the U.S. and our WWII allies prevented Josef Stalin from annexing West Berlin in 1948-49, we watched the Fox News Channel “War Stories” documentary, “Outpost Berlin,” first broadcast in 2004. This study of the past as a guide for the present prompted this fast-track proposal:
No. 1: The United Nations General Assembly and the European Union should designate Lviv, Ukraine, and a 100-mile arc of Ukrainian territory around it to be a humanitarian sanctuary.
No. 2: The U.N./EU resolutions should call for NATO to protect this sanctuary from attack.
No. 3: All parties to this conflict must ensure safe conduct for properly identified refugees fleeing to the sanctuary.
No. 4: When Belarus enters Putin’s war, the Polish MiG-29s should be immediately transferred to Ukraine and the humanitarian sanctuary surrounded with long-range anti-aircraft and anti-missile protection.
This proposal will require coordination and consultation in Washington, Kyiv, the U.N., Brussels and NATO. Expeditious U.N. and EU resolutions and implementation could save tens of thousands of lives — and prevent a free nation from being obliterated. Beijing is watching.
Oliver L. North is a combat-decorated U.S. Marine, No.1 bestselling author, and founder and CEO of Fidelis Publishing LLC and Fidelis Media LLC. Find out more about him at www.olivernorth.com. David Goetsch is a Marine Corps veteran, member of the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame, professor of business, Christian counselor, and author of 76 books. Find out more about him at www.david-goetsch.com.