Editorial: The Kyiv Independent’s response to the New York Times editorial board

KYIV INDEPENDENT

The New York Times editorial, “The War in Ukraine Is Getting Complicated, and America Isn’t Ready,” published on May 19, immediately caused an uproar in Ukraine. 

A veiled manifesto of appeasement from a newspaper known for its stellar coverage of Russia’s horrific invasion has disappointed many. 

In the editorial, the New York Times editorial board argues that it’s too dangerous to assume that Ukraine can win the war. It says “Russia is too strong,” that Ukraine should make a “painful compromise” and give up some territories to Russia. The U.S. must understand the futility and stop “taunting” Russia, the editorial says. Meaning: Ukraine will lose anyway, stop helping it so it’s over faster.

In short, the editorial attempts to pass off appeasement and betrayal of the free world’s values as pragmatic reasoning. 

Dark times have always shed light on those willing to compromise their values to preserve their daily comforts. Neither a French president, a German intellectual, nor an award-winning American newspaper are exempt from being wrong.

As a newsroom witnessing the war from inside Ukraine, we want to set the record straight. 

Ukraine winning the war with Russia isn’t “unrealistic” or even “likely.” If we want the world to be anything like what we know it to be, then Ukraine winning is the only option. 

And Western financial and military support for Ukraine is the only way to establish “long-term peace and security on the European continent” that the New York Times editorial board is rooting for.

Ukraine’s belief in its victory isn’t based on overconfidence. It’s based on necessity.

Any concession to Russia now will lead to another war sooner or later, while Ukrainians stuck in any region occupied by Russia will be tortured, raped, or killed. The New York Times is running story after story about the living hell through which Russia puts Ukrainian civilians in occupied territories. Meanwhile, its editorial board is suggesting that Ukraine should cede territories to Russia, where more atrocities will undoubtedly happen.

Appeasement isn’t the voice of reason. It’s fear and short-sightedness that will only make things worse, something we’ve all seen too many times in the past. 

Allowing Russia to annex Crimea emboldened Russia to try to swallow the Donbas. When it invaded in 2014, carving up a sovereign state and killing civilians, the other world leaders’ tepid response made Russia’s bloody dictator feel empowered to do more. 

It’s obvious that he’s been planning the full-scale invasion of Ukraine ever since. It’s often been said by world leaders and analysts that one of Vladimir Putin’s main miscalculations was assuming that the West would let him take Ukraine easily. It didn’t. 

Now the New York Times is calling for the West to do what Putin expected and give up. 

Make no mistake: If you appease a dictator, whose troops regularly indulge in war crimes, it will lead to a catastrophic geopolitical shift. 

A Russian military victory would lead to land grabs and brutal conquest becoming the new norm. Allowing a power-hungry fascist dictatorship to succeed will encourage other dictatorships to try. 

Telling the U.S. and NATO to ask Ukraine to sacrifice itself for the delusional hope of “long-term peace and security on the European continent” is the same as urging them to cede Taiwan to China. It’s the same as averting eyes from the rape, torture, and what appears to be a planned-out genocide committed by the Russians in Ukraine and by the Chinese in Xinjiang.

It’s a deal that shouldn’t be taken.

Nor are we forced to take it. The assumption that Russia, despite its colossal battlefield losses, is still a superpower with a potent military is a lie groomed by Russian propaganda over the past 15 years. 

It’s a lie many in the West still believe, in spite of Russia’s modest-at-best progress in Ukraine and its losses of tens of thousands of soldiers and thousands of vehicles. 

Russia has already lost over 40% of the territories it invaded since February. And yet, some continue to think that the Russian military is unbeatable.

The reality is that Russian corruption, theft, mismanagement, and lack of transparency led to the country’s military being poorly trained and equipped. Highly-motivated soldiers could have offset these problems. But Russia has no viable justification for the war it could feed its demoralized soldiers, who are often used as cannon fodder. 

The Russian military is weak, its command structure is abysmal and it can very well lose the war to the smaller but much more motivated Ukrainian forces willing to defend their homes, families, and country until the last breath. 

Meanwhile, following the New York Times’ advice will lead to more war, more destruction and a heavier burden on American people in the long run.

But perhaps one of the most striking features of the editorial is the complete lack of understanding of Ukraine and Ukrainians. 

Ironically, the New York Times makes the same mistake that the Russians did when they attacked Ukraine in February. The Russians assumed that Ukrainians would welcome them or surrender. The New York Times editorial board should know better than to make similar assumptions about Ukrainians now. 

If anything, the Gray Lady should learn from its mistakes, like when it ran a story about how modern and lethal the Russian military is, a month before the invasion would prove otherwise.

Because here’s the thing. Ukrainian society will never agree to any concessions. Those who don’t understand this simple fact don’t understand Ukraine at all, and perhaps shouldn’t share their uneducated speculations in one of the world’s leading media publications. 

Even President Volodymyr Zelensky, however popular he is now, wouldn’t be able to persuade Ukrainians to concede. According to a recent poll by the Kyiv International Sociology Institute, 82% of Ukrainians believe that Ukraine should not give up territory for peace under any circumstances. 

After seeing the atrocities committed by Russian troops in Borodyanka, Bucha and Mariupol, the Ukrainian people see very clearly that this is a war for survival against a fascist regime that denies Ukrainians the right to exist. Concessions would be a swift death sentence for thousands of Ukrainians. This fact apparently escapes the New York Times editorial board.

The newspaper doesn’t have to go far to find some clarity.

As professor Timothy Snyder pointed out in his spectacular guest essay, published on the same day as the controversial editorial, “so long as Nazi Germany seemed strong, Europeans and others were tempted. It was only on the battlefields of World War II that fascism was defeated.”

Ukraine will win, sooner or later, because no fascist state has ever truly prevailed over a free country. 

The democratic world can make this victory come sooner and be less costly for the people of Ukraine and for the world. It can do so by stepping up military support for Ukraine and pressure on Russia. 

Ukraine is fighting this war on behalf of the free world – to make sure it remains free. The free world must at least try to match the Ukrainians’ bravery. 

Author: The Kyiv Independent

8 comments

  1. Article is full of resonant quotes, such as this one:

    “After seeing the atrocities committed by Russian troops in Borodyanka, Bucha and Mariupol, the Ukrainian people see very clearly that this is a war for survival against a fascist regime that denies Ukrainians the right to exist. Concessions would be a swift death sentence for thousands of Ukrainians. This fact apparently escapes the New York Times editorial board.”

    People like Biden, Boris and Duda need to be using this type of language all the time, until the world finally understands the horrific truth that putler is indeed running a fascist regime that denies Ukrainians the right to exist.

    So far, the response from the allies has been woefully inadequate. As for the rest of the world : indifference. The two biggest countries in the world; China and India, are still backing Russia to win. No one should buy any goods or devices from those rotten shitholes ever.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Reading this makes me ASHAMED! I find the suggestion made by the NYTimes offensively vulgar, and I am an American! I’m willing to bet that someone with “pull”and links to Russian elite, is behind this insulting piece of trash.
    I think that UN/NATO should have given long range, OFFENSIVE weapons to Ukraine from the onset of Russia’s Murderous Invasion of Genocide! That very hesitation is costing Ukraine dearly, but in no way should Ukraine change strategy, give one inch or lessen its fighting forces. I believe in Ukraine and the Heart that is the driving force of Ukrainian People! Victorious Glory to Ukraine, with heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for every sacrifice being made on behalf of world freedom! Ukraine is Righteously Leading the Globe!

    Liked by 4 people

    • The NYT has a long and disgusting history of acting in the interests of Russia, going back to Walter Duranty. This time it seems to be taking its cue from Noam Chomsky.

      Liked by 3 people

    • This isn’t the first time Ukraine had to stave off an evil horde but I pray this will be the last. You’re right, there can be no quarter for the evil this time. This time the bear must be killed and then torn to pieces. Faint-hearted arm chair generals are not helping those they intend to help with their weak cowardly predictions and I for one AM SICK of people trying to tell Ukraine what to do. Ukraine knows better than anyone what Ukraine should do.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. When a rag like the NYT is unqualified to form an opinion, it should refrain from printing it. Clearly, those people don’t know what in the hell they’re talking about. It’s easy to blather nonsense about something 10,000 miles away. Would they say the same thing if mafia troops were in Main and Vermont, murdering and raping and looting Americans while leveling one city after another?
    The opinion of those morons that Ukraine can’t win and that Russia is too strong totally ignores two facts, in which Ukraine threw out their troops from the regions around its two biggest cities. This can be repeated until the war criminals have been eliminated or thrown out of the rest of the country.
    Being appeasing AGAIN won’t solve anything. When will certain factions in the West FINALLY learn this???

    Liked by 1 person

    • The NYT occasionally publishes mildly pro-Ukraine pieces, but only from a lofty philosophical perspective. But most of its stuff sits on the fence. It also publishes putinoid slurry.
      I have a Jewish liberal friend who lives in LA. I remember he sent me an article from the NYT in 2015 that claimed that Ukraine was persecuting Jews. It did a lot of damage. I pointed out to him that Ukraine had a Jewish PM; the only one outside Israel. (Groysman). Plus : that Ukraine was receiving incoming Jewish immigration, whereas Jewish emigration from RuSSia was, is and will be one way only. I also pointed out that Jews in full religious regalia can walk freely on the streets of any Ukrainian city without fear of intimidation; again the opposite of Russia.
      The Ukrainian embassy should demand the right of reply.
      I wrote to the Ukrainian embassy in London about the activities of kremkrapper shill Peter Hitchens, but they decided to do nothing. That was last year and Hitchens has intensified his attacks on Ukraine since putler’s genocide started. They need to go on the attack much more against political and media friends of putler.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What you are saying about Jews in Ukraine is true. I’ve seen numerous synagogues in the country, which never have any graffiti or any other derogatory things happen to them, and I often see Jews walking about in their traditional garbs without any problems whatsoever.
        At any rate, the NYT is losing its credibility and rightfully so, if it publishes such garbage as it did about Ukraine and ceding territories. According to Statista, just 24% say that it’s very credible, while only 28% say it’s somewhat credible. This is from a survey from Feb. 2022. If it keeps writing garbage, it really will be only another rag.

        Liked by 2 people

        • New York Times has come to be known as the New York Slimes, for a good reason. They long ago lost credibility and anyone depending on their “reporting” is accepting mostly lies.

          Like

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