By Michael Levitt
On Sunday, as agonizing images and reports emerged from Bucha, Ukraine of Russian atrocities, earnest Western officials, including some in Canada, called for those responsible to be held accountable. Clearly, those behind the butchery of civilians in Bucha must be brought to justice and pay a heavy price.
There will be a time to focus on accountability but right now we need to do whatever is necessary to stop the killing. Bringing people to justice is a long-term process. We need to intervene immediately to help Ukrainians, both those defending their land, and those forced to flee with virtually nothing except their children and elderly parents.
We must not look away from the horrific pictures of torture and murder in Bucha. It must harden our resolve to do more, much more. It must galvanize the world to respond to this moral imperative. Timing is critical as with each new day, Russia is killing, wounding and traumatizing more Ukrainians and destroying more of their country in a savage, unprovoked onslaught.
What happened in Bucha is straight from Russia’s military playbook. Sadly, it’s no aberration. In recent years, Moscow has committed similar barbarity in Crimea, Georgia, Syria and Chechnya.
While coming as little surprise, Moscow’s brutality in Bucha should heighten the urgency and motivation for Canada and other countries to do more. That determination, so strong in the war’s early days, seems to have waned in recent weeks. The haunting scenes from Bucha must be a wake-up call for the world to be more forceful in helping Ukraine and reaffirm our collective responsibility to protect a democracy under attack.
For Canada, we need to intensify our actions to support those under siege defending Ukraine and the more than four million refugees who have poured mainly into neighbouring Poland. Recently, I saw for myself the humanitarian crisis there.