Lost focus. Why are we still afraid to accept the fact that Russia is a terrorist?
A number of international media outlets have published articles comparing the methods used by the Russian army to those of ISIS. The problem is that alongside ISIS, a terrorist organization recognized by international law, and the terrorist state of Russia, another player is being ignored. And this is the Ukrainian army, which has been heroically resisting Russia's unprovoked aggression for more than a year now in front of the world. What is wrong with this?
The Russian army regularly commits war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide, on the territory of Ukraine. Bombardment of civilian neighborhoods with ballistic missiles, destruction of prisoner-of-war facilities, demonstrative brutal killings, mass abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children, rape, torture - all these barbaric actions of the Russian military in Ukraine are long and bloody.
What matters here is that Russia uses violence and threats as a legitimate tool to achieve its goals. So does ISIS and other terrorist organizations. In fact, the manipulation of violence for a specific purpose is what is called terrorism.
The Ukrainian state, the Ukrainian military and civilians are forced to defend themselves against terrorist attacks. The state of Ukraine and the Ukrainian military do not threaten or commit violent acts to achieve any goals. The difference here is as fundamental as between a truck driver driving into a Christmas market crowded with happy visitors and a terrified child who sees the same truck smashing the table where her parents are drinking mulled wine.
In this situation, is it correct to say that the child and the terrorist used, for example, Osama bin Laden's "video technology" when they gave interviews to the media, trying to draw attention to their position?
Is it ethical to write in the same paragraph about the Ukrainian military "using commercial drones to record victories on the frontline" and the strikingly brutal Russian videos, modestly called "more extreme footage," "including videos of executions." Moreover, is it appropriate to combine all this with the clickbait headline "How Ukraine Followed the ISIS Playbook"?
The Common Position on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism by THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION defines the concept of a terrorist act. Perhaps it's time to look at this list again and finally distinguish between aggressor and victim.
Some facts about the Russian "style" of achieving goals:
- Russia was the first country to openly blackmail its partners by blocking gas supplies;
- The Russian army is holding thousands of Ukrainians captive. According to the prosecutor, 1,100 people including mayors, village heads, heads of village councils and their deputies, village elders, 21 deputies of the regional and local councils, 76 law enforcement officers, four clergymen and others were abducted in the Kherson region of Ukraine alone.
- For the first time in the history of mankind, nuclear facilities have been seized by force. In the same way, Russia seizes and holds high-risk facilities, such as hydroelectric power plants, dams, gas distribution stations, etc., demanding to recognize its right to the territories of sovereign states seized by military force;
- At least 131,300 civilian homes, 188,100 vehicles, 934 educational institutions and 2,472 healthcare facilities were damaged as a result of the Russian invasion
- More than 35,000 war crimes have been recorded, over 90% of them against civilians.
- More than 1,000 places of illegal detention and torture of Ukrainians have been recorded in the de-occupied territories;
- About 8,000 missiles of various types of weapons, in particular 750 cruise missiles and the same number of kamikaze drones shot down by air defense forces, were fired by Russia at Ukrainian territory between September 11, 2022 and March 9, 2023;
- In the autumn and winter, Russia deliberately destroyed critical infrastructure facilities completely cutting off power to megacities and entire regions. At the same time, vital facilities, such as intensive care units, maternity homes, and hospitals, were left without electricity and heat. Transportation and communications were interrupted.
- Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Russia has killed at least 483 children;
- Russia is the first and only state in the nuclear club to make direct threats of nuclear weapons against other sovereign states;
All figures are not final as verification in the occupied territories and in the combat zone is currently impossible.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly has recognized Russia as a terrorist state. The European Parliament passed a resolution supported by 494 MEPs, 58 voted against, and one abstained calling it a sponsor of terrorism. The text of the decision recognizes that Russia has been carrying out "indiscriminate attacks on residential areas and civilian infrastructure" in Ukraine, which has resulted in thousands of deaths.
Russians are said to be carrying out "executions without trial, abductions, sexual violence, torture and other atrocities" in the occupied territories mentioning massacres in Bucha, Irpin, Izyum, and Lyman, as well as bombing of the Mariupol theater crowded with civilians and the Kramatorsk railway station, as civilians were waiting for an evacuation train.
The authors of the resolution note that Russia is violating the principles of the UN Charter, has caused a humanitarian crisis in Mariupol and destroyed 95% of the city, and is blocking Ukrainians' access to gas, electricity, water and the Internet, as well as to basic goods and services such as food and healthcare.
The European Parliament has stated that such actions are "acts of terror against the Ukrainian population and constitute war crimes." Consequently, Russia was recognized as "a state sponsor of terrorism and a state that uses the means of terrorism," the resolution says.
It should be added that Russia is taking such actions on the territory of other sovereign states. And moreover, all this was done by a country that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council with the right to veto any decisions of the organization.
And finally, the texts about the use of video content by Russia and ISIS also mention videos made by Ukrainians. It is worth assuming that the footage showing the operation of Ukrainian weapons on the battlefield against the Russian invaders is primarily intended to demonstrate the publicity and transparency of the Ukrainian military. After all, the ability to transmit information directly and without distortion is still an effective method of countering the powerful Russian propaganda machine. It is worth recalling that in 2020, Russia officially spent at least €1.3 billion a year on state media alone. During the full-scale war, the budget of the fully Kremlin-controlled media doubled.
Avoiding the uncomfortable context called truth can easily give the audience a false impression that is unlikely to be the goal of reputable publications.
Furthermore, today all civilized countries are united around a different goal. We share the desire to try to save the planet from the dictatorship of force and lawlessness, and sometimes, to do this, you have to have the courage to call a spade a spade.