As the saying goes, when someone shows you who they are, believe them.
And Russia has shown itself, on numerous occasions now, to be a habitual liar.
It started before the war in Ukraine even began, when Russia insisted the forces it had amassed on the border would be falling back; troops invaded soon after.
Since then, Russia has promised multiple ceasefires — only to start shelling and bombing the very areas it swore to leave alone. This includes agreed upon humanitarian corridors, designated as such because they were routes refugees could take to flee the violence, that Russia then shelled anyway.
The latest bait-and-switch was Russian diplomats’ oath to reduce military activity around Kyiv and other key cities, including Chernihiv this past Tuesday. Within 24 hours, Russian troops bombarded both cities, destroying homes, libraries and other civilian sites, according to the Associated Press.
The AP also said the promised reduction in Russian forces was met with “deep suspicion” from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Western nations.
Forget “deep suspicion.” At this point, if a Russian government official says it, everyone should just assume it’s a lie and act accordingly. (The lying is so bad that Russian officials are reportedly lying to Vladimir Putin.)
Promised ceasefire? Shore up the barricades and reload your weapons, because enemy fire will be coming down hard any second.
Designated humanitarian corridor? Take a different route, because that one definitely isn’t safe.
Looks like Russian troops are retreating? Watch your back, because they’re likely just circling around, hoping to catch you unawares.
As frustrated and outraged as we are here, in America, tucked safely into our homes and watching the horror play out in 2D on our screens, we can barely imagine how irate Ukrainians must feel. It’s their homes being destroyed, their towns razed to the ground, their lives gone up in smoke.
Our hearts break for the people fighting in Ukraine, for all the men, women and children who have had to flee their homes and for everyone who has lost a loved one to the war.
In a war that is being fought with tanks and bombs and lies and misinformation, average Americans can only do so much. But we can donate to aid organizations that have boots on the ground. And we can do our part to battle falsehoods by calling them out and replacing them with the truth.