Ukraine IS The Free World's Citadel – But It Need Our Cannons

  • National Newswatch

From November 17 to 19, defence and security leaders will once again gather at the Halifax Security Forum, appropriately convened in a Canadian city known for its fortifications and strategic importance. Sitting atop the city is The Citadel, which for decades has been key to our coastal defences.The leaders gather at a time of increasing instability, violence and altercation. At the root of this instability is the confrontation between autocracy and democracy – between despotism and liberty.If the democratic world intends to protect its freedom, we must invest more in our defence and provide more aid to those fighting on the frontlines of this battle. Key to winning this fight is ensuring the victory of Ukraine – the Free World's Citadel.For almost 650 days – Russia has waged a genocidal war of annihilation against Ukraine. The Ukrainian people, through their courage and bravery, and supported by weapons and aid from NATO and the EU, stemmed the Russian onslaught and reversed it.Ukrainian forces have liberated hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and half the Ukrainian territory Russia occupied in the first weeks of the invasion.But to move further and faster the Ukrainians need more help – principally air defences and the ability to strike weapons depots deep in the Russian rear.Emerging on both the left and the right are louder and louder calls for Ukraine to “negotiate” with the Russian invader, and for the West to force Ukraine's hand by cutting off military aid. Those who advocate for Ukraine to negotiate away its territory forget - or choose to ignore - two things.First, Putin's Russia has never negotiated in good faith, and there is no indication that they would do so now. Negotiation would simply give the Russians the chance to rearm, recalibrate and attack Ukraine again – from a more strategically advantageous position than they had on February 24, 2022.Second, and more importantly, abandoning Ukrainian territory to Russian occupation means abandoning Ukrainian citizens to the brutality and barbarism of Russian subjugation. It would allow the Russians to turn occupied Ukrainian lands into a new Gulag. It means – in effect – reconciling with genocide.Recently, Canada's parliament heard testimony from Ukrainian children who were among the thousands abducted by Russia, and who with the assistance of NGOs, were miraculously rescued and returned to their families. These children told of a systemic campaign by their Russian captors to destroy their Ukrainian identity.The Ukrainian people will continue to fight for their children. But we need to help Ukraine win the war. This is the time for Canada and allies to invest in Ukrainian victory – and in our defence. Today the inventory of weapons and artillery is shockingly low, not only in Canada, but throughout the democratic world. We did not heed the warning signs that Russia was not, and never would be, our friend. The time is long past for Canada and its allies to ramp up defence production. In the first days of the war when allies tried to convince President Zelenskyy to leave the capital, he told them, “I don't need a ride, I need ammunition.” He still needs ammunition.Meeting our NATO obligations would allow us to make the case more effectively to our allies in the United States – primarily the isolationist wing of the Congressional Republican Conference who oppose increasing assistance to Ukraine – that ongoing assistance to Ukraine is critical, and that Ukrainian victory is in the security interest of the NATO alliance.In his speech following Hamas' murderous October 7 attack on Israel, President Biden said, “Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy — completely annihilate it.”Recent months have shown us all again how intertwined the world's principal criminal autocracies are. Iran finances the terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah while supplying Russia with drones that attack Ukrainian cities. Russia in turn provides Iran with an “unprecedented level” of technical and military support. China's principal client, the North Koreans, has sent more than 1 million artillery shells and rockets to Russia. The forces of autocracy and tyranny are united in their desire for confrontation.I will be attending this year's Halifax Security Forum. Every time I look out the window and see the city's Citadel, I will think of the Free World's Citadel, Ukraine, and what we need to do to keep the forces of democracy and freedom united.Alexandra Chyczij is the National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.