It was the late afternoon of a wintry Friday – February 25, 2022 – when Ukraine won the all-out conventional war that Putin’s Russia had started against it just a day-and-a-half earlier.
In fact, this may be one of the cases in human history in which a major war started by an overwhelmingly stronger power was won by the victim in the shortest possible time.
Because the fact of the matter is that Ukraine indeed won in 1.5 days. Not militarily, sure, or at least not yet.
But Ukraine won this quickly in two even more important aspects of waging war: morally and politically.
How could one make sure a bold claim? Isn’t that exaggerated or even crazy?
After all, the war that Russian leader Vladimir Putin started on February 24 is still going on. It’s been more than 5 months of intensive fighting now, no end in sight, and it can still go either way.
Not to mention that even as he was and still is eager to conquer Ukraine for a Soviet empire 2.0 or a Russian empire 3.0, Putin appears to be actually waging war on the entire West. On the entire Free World. On the United States of America. On NATO. On the European Union. On liberty, human rights, freedoms, and democracy.
Nevertheless, Ukraine did win morally and politically the war on its second day – and it did so simply by virtue of not caving, not giving in, not allowing itself to get intimidated, and demonstrating unconditionally that it was standing its ground and fighting.
A day-and-a-half. That is how long it took in the wake of Russia’s February 24 early morning attack to become crystal clear that the Ukrainians are resolved to fight.
That was when they showed that they had accepted the life-and-death struggle, and would sell their lives and freedom very, very dearly to the invaders.
That was when the initial shock fog cleared here and there, and all that could be seen in the ground and in skies, and in the stormy waters of the Black Sea was the Ukrainian will to fight.
And to fight Russia, the nation that Ukraine had been dominated by for 350 years, give or take.
Zelenskyy not only hadn’t fled but was deliberately boasting on social media about staying. The well-dug in Ukrainian troops in the Donbass weren’t flinching. Other Ukrainian detachments were flocking to plug the gaps that the leadership in Kyiv had left exposed in the north, south, and east.
The gaps were there simply because even after having fought the Russians for 8 years, since the original 2014 invasion, even the Ukrainian leaders kept doubting that Putin would launch a full-scale attack. Encouraged by the will to fight demonstrated by the nation’s leadership, civilian volunteers were starting to swarm the first military volunteer centers.
In all fairness, the late afternoon of February 25, 2022, was teeming with very enormous question marks.
Wouldn’t the Russian military steam roller still crush Ukraine in 3 days? It still had 1.5 days to do that.
Would the decades of Moscow’s propaganda about Russia’s invincibility prove correct?
Would the hundreds of billions of petrodollars poured in Russian defense spending, particularly after the war against Georgia in 2008, bear fruit?
Where was Putin really headed?
The Suwalki Gap?
The Turkish Straits?
The Fulda Gap?
The shores of La Manche, i.e. the English Channel?
Would the West even lift a finger to help this nation on its fringes that had been doomed to be the first to meet the onslaught against the Free World from the east?
Would the West even be capable of lifting that finger to help Ukraine even if it wanted to?
And even after they had just actually demonstrated the will to fight, would the Ukrainians even be able to pull it off politically, militarily, logistically, organizationally, psychologically?
After all, it was that same Ukraine known as a post-Communist nation with roughly the same oligarchy and corruption problems as Russia – minus the oil, gas, and mineral revenues.
Those and so many other trillion-dollar questions notwithstanding, the very fact that in the dusk on the second day after they came under attack by Russia, the Ukrainians could be felt to be mustering any courage, any resources and any cool minds that they had in order to fight a titanic, ferocious enemy even as they were tremendously outgunned and outmanned.
The enemy in question was deemed at the time the second strongest military in the world, and the same country and power center that had dominated Ukraine since the 17th century, save for the past 30 years.
The sheer scope, amount, and depth of the will that the Ukrainian nation mustered back then is practically impossible to fathom. It was just as irrational as it was rational but the irrationality in it only served to reinforce thousand-fold the reason that those who dared to defy Putin’s onslaught had invested in the stances they were making.
That was how in the late afternoon of February 25 won the war against Putin’s Russia morally as well as politically.
Even more boldly, the moral and political victory of the Ukrainians could perhaps be timed to sometime between 5 pm and 6 pm Eastern European time on that day.
More than five months later, with the remarkable albeit still erratic and insufficient support of the Free World, Ukraine is still fighting, with the main purpose of winning the third most important aspect of any war there ever was: to win militarily.
In the mind-blowing sequence of events that has followed since the late winter darkness that Moscow used in order to attack, the Ukrainians have demonstrated time and again that they are fully capable of winning on the battlefield.
That is, as long as they keep getting the “tools to do the job,” as Winston Churchill once told the American Republic on other side of the Atlantic as Britain was the last one standing in the way of Hitlerism’s quest to conquer all of Europe and control the world.
Unfortunately, the bulk of the Free World still remains quite unappreciative of the gigantic feat that the Ukrainians have managed to pull off since they stood their ground and won morally and politically, and have been fighting to win militarily as well.
The Western nations are still failing to comprehend or perhaps to even properly ponder over how very different the world that they live in would have been today, hadn’t the Ukrainians risen to the challenge on February 24-25.
What would have happened if Putin had won in three days, as he seemingly had planned?
The new Soviet and/or Russian empire could have already been formed of out of Russia, a conquered Ukraine, a willing Belarus, a semi-willing Kazakhstan, Armenia, and all sorts of other remnants from the former Soviet Union.
Russia’s military could have been unscathed and able to march beyond the boundaries of the former Soviet Union.
NATO could have fallen apart – say, if Moscow had attacked the Baltic states and a confused US and European leadership had failed to act.
The European Union could have been reduced to a rich tributary to Moscow – and that’s assuming that it could have even somehow survived a factual collapse of NATO.
The United States could have beaten back into a humiliating self-isolation that it may never have recovered from.
Overall, the Free World would have had it much, much worse than during the Cold War when Western nations weren’t preoccupied with gender, woke, and other Marxist non-issues but were well aware of who they were, what they stood for, and which the real threats were.
For Europe, the situation would have been abysmal – it could have practically had to live solely at Moscow’s mercy.
With their moral victory on the second day of the invasion, the Ukrainians simply didn’t let that happen. Sure, they weren’t thinking about any of that, they were only defending themselves. But that may be the even more significant result from their brave stance.
In the winter of 2013-2014, literally for the first time ever, dozens if not hundreds of Europeans died with the EU flag in the hands during Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity, the same even that provoked Putin to intervene in Crimea and Donbass in order to keep Ukraine from slipping for good from Moscow’s orbit.
Eight years later they went all the way as tens of millions mobilized to defend those very things that that very blue and yellow flag stands for. Actually, both of those flags.
There is a long road ahead but the moral victory that Ukraine reached quite quickly is paving the way towards a renaissance of freedom, democracy, and the Western civilization.
The West and any other people around the world who love freedom first and foremost are yet to realize how much meaning they can see in saying,
“Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.”
Joe E.U. West
(Photo: Social media video grab)