Photo by Hans-Jurgen Mager on Unsplash
The Russian State Duma committee for state building and legislation has reviewed draft laws that introduce amendments to martial law. These amendments give the Russian authorities freedom of action regarding the occupied territories of Ukraine and their residents. Declaratively, they refer to the possibility of holding elections under martial law, which was introduced in the autumn of 2022, but in reality, this is nothing else but official permission to plunder the occupied territories of Ukraine and to forcibly deport Ukrainians to Siberia.
The spectre of Soviet totalitarianism and mass crimes is again looming over Europe, reminiscent of the worst excesses of the USSR. In the occupied territories of Ukraine, the Russians have introduced censorship and the fight against dissent, Ukrainians have been detained, many arrested, and brutally interrogated. In order to improve the demographic situation in the Russian Federation, Russia is removing Ukrainian children en masse. Since the start of their unprovoked invasion at least 19,500 young Ukrainians have been taken to the Russian Federation with further distribution throughout its vast territory. In addition, Russian administrators in the occupied territories have imposed a kind of extortion system, where tribute is exacted from local businessmen and very often their property is simply taken away in favour of Russian officials or the military. This is by no means a complete list of the suffering that Russian occupation has brought to Ukraine.
Putin is finding it increasingly difficult to convince Russians that his special military operation is going according to plan: the deteriorating situation of the Russian army on the front lines, losses that can no longer be concealed, obsolete tanks from World War II being sent to the front lines en masse, the retreat of Russian troops and the open admission of Russian State Duma officials that the Russian army is in worse shape than the Private Military Companies. After such revelations, the Kremlin has decided to officially legalise looting and deportation from Ukraine and adopted amendments to this effect. This means that in the near future, the number of war crimes committed by the Russian army in the occupied territories of Ukraine will increase dramatically, as well as the number of Ukrainians deported to the Russian Federation will grow by many tens of thousands.
Putin has inflicted the greatest tragedy of all time upon the Ukrainian people. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have become a shield for Europe, defending peace in Europe at the cost of their lives for over a year now, fighting an asymmetrically strong enemy. Putin’s Russia is an unprecedented threat to humanity and is constantly threatening to bring catastrophe to the West. The system of imperialist territorial expansion sponsored by Putin has no way back. The Russian army, despite its losses, will continue to advance, even if the Kremlin dictator has to kill virtually the entire male population of the Russian Federation to do so. Putin leaves the West with no option but to respond with force. Urgent delivery of essential weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be the main component of triumph over the aggressor and a route to peace, failing which war and catastrophe await Europe.