Ukraine-Russia war: Vladimir Putin holds his own 'Nuremberg rally' as Mariupol becomes a symbol of human suffering – Scotsman comment
Vadym Boichenko, the mayor of Mariupol, told the BBC that about 80 per cent of its residential buildings were either damaged or destroyed. “There’s no city centre left. There isn’t a small piece of land in the city that doesn’t have signs of war,” he said, adding that intense fighting was continuing.
Near-constant shelling of the city by Russian forces was hampering efforts to evacuate civilians, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported, forcing many to attempt to flee on foot.
And, in the words of the Russian defence ministry, they were “tightening the noose” around Mariupol.
Back in Moscow, this vicious rhetoric contrasted with the sea of smiling faces and Russian flags in the Luzhniki stadium, a vulgar, trashy display that some in the crowd claimed they had been tricked into attending.
Putin told them his objective was “to liberate people from suffering, from genocide” – a genocide that exists only in his twisted imagination, a lie he uses in an attempt to justify mass murder. And he lionised his killers, claiming that Russian soldiers were imbued with suicidal, superhuman bravery: “When needed, they shield each other from bullets with their bodies like brothers.”
All of the deaths, all of the destruction because of Putin and his cronies.
However, amid such horror, sadness and grief, came offers from the peaceful, democratic world to help Ukraine when this war is over. Greece’s Prime Minister said it was “ready to rebuild the maternity hospital in Mariupol… a symbol of the barbarity of the war”, a day after Italy’s culture minister said it would rebuild the city’s theatre.
If Putin’s Russia cannot be forced to pay reparations for his war crimes, these small but important offers of help will need to be just the start of the help that Ukraine receives from the rest of the free world.
After he is done killing and destroying, we, the democratic nations, working together, must seek to rebuild in a spirit of friendship towards all – including Russians opposed to Putin – that will demonstrate, for any who still fail to see, the difference between good and evil.
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