Village Of New Arc Angel

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Hymie’s van was emptied of supplies, and it was time for us to depart Mykolaiv and Kherson to return to Kyiv. On the way back, as we stopped to get gas and food, we met a church group heading into Kherson that was due at the same Baptist Church where we had dropped off supplies. I also met an Australian landmine clearance expert in Ukraine on assignment.

But mostly, it was miles and miles of farmland. Nothing but farmland. After seeing so much destruction, Hymie and Mark wanted to show me a village they had visited on one of their previous missions that had not been touched by war, at least physically, the Village of New Arc Angel. We stopped off and had a coffee, and I filmed a wrap-up interview with the two of them to garner some insight into their thoughts on the success of the mission we’d just completed. However, when we visited the Memorials of recently killed local soldiers, it reminded us there is no place in Ukraine untouched by war.

These Memorials are contrasted with the still-standing World War II Memorials that the Soviets put up all over the former Soviet Union, spreading the propaganda and myth that the Soviets saved the world in World War II. Many in Russia have no idea that Russia contributed significantly to causing WW II when Stalin teamed up with Hitler until Hitler double-crossed him. This part of history is NOT taught in modern-day Russia, as evidenced by the dates on the Memorials, which don’t list the actual start date of the war (1939) but list the war as beginning years AFTER Russia and Germany jointly invaded and occupied Poland (1941).

Of course, Ukrainians and most of the world know better. However, many Russians still credulously believe their government’s propaganda, as evidenced by the 75% who agree that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is somehow justified. Russian propaganda has been doing its dirty work for nearly a century now, and it’s hard for some to break these chains of disinformation.

Still, it’s 2023, and truth is available for those who seek it. I am not sure how one can justify the murder, wounding, kidnapping, displacement, and traumatizing of innocent children in their own country. However, the cynical and thuggish Russian government has either done an excellent job at stopping dissent, or the Russian people still left in Russia are very, very susceptible and lazy thinkers and potentially complicit in Putin’s war crimes. Putin doesn’t do this alone.

No, I’m not Ukrainian, but I’m furious at the cynical attempt to justify the slaughter of innocent children as somehow pre-emptive. It’s propaganda reminiscent of Stalin’s Russia in World War II, updated to modern times. Unfortunately, some in the U.S. ignorantly (I assume) repeat this, adding insult to injury. They should be ashamed, but somehow, I think they’re not, so we’ll do it for them. Stay tuned to see our HALL OF SHAME coming soon.

man ridng bike