Ukrainian servicemen help an elderly woman, in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022. With the Kremlin’s rhetoric growing fiercer and a reprieve from fighting dissolving, Russian troops continued to shell encircled cities and the number of Ukrainians forced from their country grew to over 1.4 million. (AP Photo/Andriy Dubchak)

Ukrainian servicemen help an elderly woman, in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022. With the Kremlin’s rhetoric growing fiercer and a reprieve from fighting dissolving, Russian troops continued to shell encircled cities and the number of Ukrainians forced from their country grew to over 1.4 million. (AP Photo/Andriy Dubchak)

Editorial: Ukrainians seeing true loss of freedom

The situation in Ukraine is hard to understand and it can be draining to keep up with the news, but there is a key takeaway for Canadian citizens; gratitude to live where we live — a free and democratic country, where people do not live in fear of violence from outside powers.

Comments from Canadian protesters about our prime minister being authoritarian have quickly been put into perspective by international headlines. Russian President Vladimir Putin passed a law last year which will potentially allow him to be president until 2036 — this is what an authoritarian leader looks like. It seems he wants to make a legacy for himself. The president is 69 years old and making dramatic moves, which will surely be in history books.

Last week, Russia’s parliament passed a law imposing a jail term of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally “fake” news about the military. (What that means is anyone’s guess.)

Ukrainians have been fighting valiantly against the invaders, but the situation is delicate and unfolding rapidly. On a surface level it looks like other countries should throw military support at Ukraine and take down Putin’s army – but politics is never so cut and dry. This could be done, but at what cost? Putin has threatened countries that support Ukraine in a military capacity with “such consequences that you have never encountered in your history.” It is risky to try to call this a bluff.

So how can we help? B.C. Premier John Horgan has suggested residents with disposal income who want to help look at donating to the UN High Commission on Refugees.

Anyone considering monetary support should be cautious at to where you are sending your money. A couple of sites recommended to the Record as officially recognized by Ukrainian government to directly support troops and wounded soldiers and civilians include the National Bank of Ukraine (bit.ly/3tytvgc) and comebackalive.in.ua

One thing we should all do is be careful with what we share online — now is a time to check sources and be sure to only share accurate, verified information. There is too much information for anyone to keep track of and that is when misinformation thrives.

The world is changing fast and information has never been as readily available as it is today — if it is exhausting to keep up with or causing you undue stress, unplug. Go for a walk, hug your family and be grateful for where we live.

–Black Press