Jamie Peipon: I’ve shared both of these pictures before and I am so glad to be sharing them again. Back on June 17th I wrote about how I knew Andy Hyunh and about how he was a US Marine that had volunteered to fight in Ukraine. He had been taken by russia as a prisoner of war and his fate was being discussed on russian TV. The woman in the picture is Kateryna ‘Ptashka’ Polischuk. I wrote about her on May 10th. She was a medic for the heroes of Azovstal’ in the city of Mariupol. One of her fellow soldiers recorded her singing a song in the bowels of the metallurgical plant and she became known as “ptashka” (little bird). The guy taking the famous video asked her how it feels to be a star. She responds with a smile, “A star? Stars burn out… but Mariupol and Ukraine are going to live forever.”
Thankfully, both of these heroes were part of a prisoner exchange and are on their way home. This is truly an answer to prayer. They’re coming home. In fact, a total of 215 heroes are coming home; many of them are the defenders of Azovstal’. They were exchanged for 55 russian POWs. One of them included a weasel of a Ukrainian oligarch and close friend of putin named Medvedchuk that was detained after trying to leave the country. He’s now done the very best thing he’s ever done for Ukraine: he’s been sent as a coward to russia in exchange for real Ukrainian heroes.
The timing of this prisoner exchange is actually a little bizarre. It comes on the day that putin has mobilized his country for war and engaged in nuclear sabre rattling. Many in russia absolutely hate the Azovstal’ defenders so it is strange to give them up on a day when putin is trying to make a case for the mobilization of the country.
The absurdity of putin’s speech this morning could be dissected, but it seems to me that almost nobody believes his threats anyway. Ukrainians certainly are not afraid. Meanwhile, russians are afraid. There are reports of lines at the border crossings and prices over $10,000 for a plane ticket to a neighboring country. They’re all trying to get out before they get drafted.
In something of a bright spot, there have been protests against the mobilization in cities all over russia. Usually, there are at most a couple hundred people in attendance. I will admit, there is some bravery in participating in these protests as people are being arrested in russia for even wearing a coat that has the colors blue and yellow in its design. But… what are these people actually protesting? If they were against war, genocide, torture, rape, and murder; wouldn’t these people have been protesting for the past seven months of this war? But, it does not appear that they have. Instead, as it turns out, they are protesting the fact that they might be required to go and participate in the war, not the war itself. This type of selective outrage will make it difficult for any Ukrainian to muster even a droplet of compassion for these “activists” who appear to only be looking out for their own interests.
“You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.”