By Barbara Heimlich
Editor Stratford Crier
The Stratford Crier, as is most of the nation, is appalled and horrified at the invasion of the Ukraine by Putin and the Russian Military.
We are amazed at the courage of the Ukrainian people in their fight for democracy, and support them in what seems to the outside world a “David and Goliath” fight. The consequences of their fight for freedom will be high, as they are outnumbered in a fight orchestrated by a ruthless authoritarianism regime.
March 3rd marked the 8th day of the invasion. To give some perspective to what is currently underway; the website iCasualties.org lists 2,455 service members and 10 CIA operatives as having died in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, including 49 who died in support of other OEF operations. This is a total of 2,406 deaths of servicemen in support of operations in Afghanistan. A military deployment lasting over 13 years.
In comparison, the Russian Defense Ministry released a casualty report on March 2nd, and according to The Associated Press and NPR, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said 498 Russian soldiers have been killed and 1,597 wounded.
Ukraine disputes this number. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that nearly 6,000 Russian troops — a figure 12 times higher than that provided by Konashenkov — have been killed since the invasion began, CNN reported.
Realistically, the number of casualties will only increase. Who has not watched the heart wrenching videos of women and children fleeing the Ukraine and been touched?
According to the New York Times, The Ukrainian government initially put the number of civilian deaths at more than 2,000, but Ukraine’s emergency services agency later called that figure “approximate,” and said: “It is unknown how many people are actually still under fire and debris. There is no exact figure.”
On Wednesday, Liudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, said in a Facebook post that 21 children had been killed and 55 injured since the invasion. She said that figure had been calculated through “the analysis of information from various sources,” but it was not immediately possible to reach her for further information on her sources.
Connecticut is divesting Russian-owned assets from its retirement plans and trust funds following Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, state Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden said Tuesday. State investment in companies in Russia and government debt issued by Russia amounts to $218 million, less than half of 1% of the state’s retirement funds valued at more than $47 billion. Wooden’s decision to drop the investments are as much a business decision in response to the collapsing value of Russian investments due to sanctions squeezing its economy as a protest against Russia’s attack on a democratically elected government.
The Town of Stratford plans to hold a vigil in solidarity with Ukraine on Wednesday, March 9th at 5:30pm on the steps of Town Hall, 2725 Main Street. The vigil will include a proclamation from Mayor Laura R. Hoydick and remarks from Pastor Ivan Mazuryk of the Holy Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Stratford members of the Ukrainian community will be invited to raise the Ukrainian flag on the Town Hall green. Stratford Town Hall will act as a backdrop for the vigil, as the building will be lit in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. All those who are available and wish to attend the vigil are invited to do so.
We at the Stratford Crier stand with Ukraine, and are sending our thoughts and prayers to those in the Ukraine and all of our Stratford Ukrainian community. Peace Be With You All.