We are all Ukrainians now

Watters: Zelenskyy has become the face of Ukraine’s resistance

The ‘Jesse Watters Primetime’ host shows the importance of protecting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his opening monologue.

Inspiring. That’s the word for what we’ve all seen and heard on social media and TV of the Ukrainian resistance to the brutal Russian invasion, from Ukraine’s Winston Churchill, President Zelenskyy, down to 75-year-old women and mothers with babes in arms toting their AK-47s to defend their families, communities, and their country. 

Their resistance has become an international force for good.  The bravery of the Ukrainian people has not only stymied the Russian invasion but galvanized the governments of the West into action.  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stands alongside other government officials in a video posted to social media Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, vowing to defend the country from a Russian invasion. 
(Armed Forces of Ukraine)

Germany is breaking with its 75-year pacifist past and sending anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine and planning to triple its own defense budget. The Biden administration has just shipped another 800 anti-tank missiles and has pledged another $300 million in military aid. Great Britain has been sending Javelin anti-tank weapons and other defensive equipment; conservative MP’s are even talking about providing air support against Russian attacks while drones manufactured in another NATO country, Turkey, are taking out Russian tanks and trucks. 

But the Ukrainians are also giving the world a powerful moral example. They have shown how ordinary citizens can stand up to defend their homes, families, and communities, and not just against dictatorships like Russia and China. That same commitment is needed to stand up against authoritarianism wherever it raises its head and makes unreasonable demands on citizens to “comply or else.” 

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    Thousands of protesters supporting Ukraine gathered in Washington, D.C. and demanded the Biden administration provide more help (Fox News Digital/Lisa Bennatan)

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    Ukrainian-Americans hold giant Ukraine flag in Washington, D.C. (Fox News Digital/Lisa Bennatan)

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    Supporters of Ukraine wave giant flag in Washington, D.C. (Fox News Digital/Lisa Bennatan)

The deep history of this Ukrainian resistance is fascinating. Not many people realize that Kyiv was originally a Viking capital and trading center, established in the ninth century. Although the Vikings vanished long ago, some of that spirit which I’ve dubbed the Viking heart—self-reliance, courage, the willingness to risk everything for family and community—clearly still lives on and has emboldened ordinary Ukrainians to take control of their lives and their country.

That same spirit also showed itself eighty years ago in another David and Goliath struggle. That was Russia’s brutal invasion of another peaceful democratic country, Finland, in December 1939, when the Finnish people rose up and against all expectation halted the invader in his tracks. 

Ukrainians have shown how ordinary citizens can stand up to defend their homes, families, and communities, and not just against dictatorships like Russia and China. 

It was that conflict that saw the birth of the Molotov cocktail, when Finns named their gasoline anti-tank bombs after the hated Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov, as stout groups of Finnish soldiers turned the tide of war against the hapless Red Army.

Like Ukraine, the bravery of the Finns triggered a wave of international sympathy and support.  Americans organized fundraisers in Madison Square Garden; volunteers flocked from neighboring Nordic countries and from France, Britain, and the United States to fight in Finland. President Franklin Roosevelt ordered fifty warplanes for the Finnish Air Force.  

Only five arrived in time to fight. It was all too little, too late.  In the winter of 1939 America was still too mired in isolationism, and France and Britain too distracted by the “phony war” with Hitler after the fall of Poland, to commit the resources needed to sustain the Finns. The Red Army eventually brought its full weight to bear, and Finland was forced to surrender while half a million refugees had to flee their homes.

This time it’s not too late to learn the right lesson from Ukraine, and not just in stopping Putin. It’s no coincidence, for instance, that the Finnish parliament is right now debating joining NATO.  Thanks to Ukraine, we can all rediscover the virtues of self-reliance and courage in the face of those who threaten our safety, our families and communities and our well-being. 

Whatever happens on the ground out there, we are all Ukrainians now. In America, Europe, and around the world we are learning what the citizens of Kyiv and Kharkiv and Lviv already know: we can never take anything for granted in the perpetual struggle to defend our homes, families and nations from enemies inside and out.

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