By editorial board • 

Russian invasion of Ukraine holds implications for us all

Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe by land area, after Russia, and seventh largest by population, after Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.

It covers 233,000 square miles, roughly equivalent to the three Pacific Northwest states. That makes it larger than California but not as large as Texas.

It has been inhabited by modern man since 32,000 B.C., and was inhabited by Neanderthal predecessors for 13,000 years before that. The prevailing language and heritage of its 40 million-odd residents runs 4-1 Ukrainian over Russian, and its most recent run as an independent state dates back to 1991.  

But since the sacking of the capital of Kiev by Mongol invaders in 1240, Ukraine has been attacked, invaded and/or subjugated by successive waves of Huns, Goths, Tatars, Cossacks, Byzantines, Bulgars and so forth. In recent centuries, it has been absorbed by turn into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Empire, Third Reich and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Besides, it remains one of the poorest countries on the European continent, and suffers from some of the continent’s lowest rates of literacy and life expectancy. What’s more, it lies almost 6,000 miles east of Oregon — quite a distance by any standard.

So why should we feel such grief and outrage over last month’s invasion by Russian troops? Aside from the natural human revulsion to gross injustice, wanton bullying and unprovoked aggression — simulcast in vivid color for all the world to see, thanks to modern technology — two reasons come foremost to mind: 

n Like it or not, the world is engaged in a cataclysmic battle between the forces of autocracy and democracy. And despite our own near-fatal flirtation with autocracy during the reign of Donald Trump, whose minions invaded the Capitol in an abortive attempt to return him to power, we continue to lead the democratic camp.

Russia’s savage and ruthless campaign to re-annex Ukraine threatens to destroy a NATO partner where democracy was successfully introduced several decades ago. It also threatens to position one of the world’s most powerful and dangerous autocracies hundreds of miles closer to Western Europe, a key ally in our devotion to democratic principles.

What’s more, naked aggression against the sovereignty of any independent nation threatens a delicately balanced world order at a time when nuclear proliferation makes such threats potentially cataclysmic.

n Then there are the shared human ties, which are vastly more extensive in the modern era of wide-open trade, travel and immigration.

Here at home, we have Linfield scholar Dawn Nowacki, who holds a degree in Russian and has studied, worked and traveled extensively in Russia and Ukraine, bemoaning, “It’s like attacking your own family.”

And then we have Moscow-born music prof Anton Belov, whose mother fled Ukraine to escape the clutches of Adolf Hitler. It’s equally personal for him — to the point where he’s been organizing Ukrainian benefit concerts in McMinnville and Portland. After all, he said, “I’m a child of a survivor.”

The international ties reach beyond the campus and into the larger community as well. Among others, they extend to:

n Natalia Anesashvili, who still harbors vivid childhood memories of Russia’s brutal invasion of her homeland of Georgia, lying to the south of Ukraine. Now an exchange student at Mac High, a Russian bombing campaign forced her family to pack up and flee when she was 4. “I feel so bad,” she said.

She bristles when her accent is mistaken for Russian. “I don’t want to be called Russian,” she said. “It’s not a joke.”

n Anne Falla, a victim assistance advocate with the Grand Ronde Tribe, who spent three years serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine.

She worries about the many friends she made there — “just regular people who are standing in front of tanks,” she said. “I’m getting videos of dead bodies,” she lamented, noting the village where she worked had been overrun early on by invading troops pushing north from Crimea.

Like Belov, Falla has been engaging in direct action. She has been working in concert with other former Peace Corps volunteers to help Ukrainians find safe havens abroad. She’s also been writing letters to public officials, including the Yamhill County commissioners, seeking support.

In addition, the Yamhill Valley Peacemakers have been holding rallies from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. every Wednesday at Second and Adams, by the library and police station. The Salvation Army is soliciting relief funds at And Musicians United for Ukraine has a benefit concert set for 8 p.m. Saturday in the Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave. in Portland.

It’s a worthy cause on all counts.


David S. Wall

The Oregon Legislature should expedite permitting meat processing facilities and above all...stop residential and or any other Urban Growth Boundary expansions into farmlands.

Oregon is an agricultural is good.

Other big lessons...tank and other armored warfare (even with infantry support) has seen its' last days. So has operating low flying helicopters in the battle space.

David S. Wall


I am very sorry for the losses that these friends and family members are experiencing, but no more. You made several emotional arguments and did not make one point as why the USA has any reason to be there. People are dying and that is tragic, but people are dying all over the world. Where does it end. We have been feeding young men and women into a wood chipper for worthless wars for the last 20 years. How many globalist wars need to be started to line the pockets of corporations, politicians and despots? How many more families will we drone strike? When does this stop?

Are the Yamhill Valley Peacemakers really calling for us to get into a shooting war to protect one of the most corrupt countries in the world?

I have been really stunned when the war drums started beating months ago. Hyping a war that we were sure was going to start any day now. Maybe Wednesday? And to see the pompoms waving in the air on the left and right, US senators on both sides of the isle saying "you know that the tactical nuclear option is on the table here". The media foaming at the mouth at the prospect of another war. Really? Do you want to send your kids over? your brother or sister?

How in the world can we trust one thing that comes out of the Biden administration, especially about Ukraine? The Biden family has deep corrupt ties to Ukraine. Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerri and Mitt Romney all have one thing in common, well the one thing I'm referring to here anyway. They all have had kids serve on the boards of Ukraine energy companies. What a coincidence. I am sure these were on the up and up and they had loads of energy sector experience to actually be appointed to corporate boards and these were not 'no show' jobs.

No more globalist wars. No more dead American kids for corporate profits. No more greedy bloodlust.


I sure hope things calm down sooner rather than later. I was born in the late sixties and believe this is strategically the most dangerous period of time in my lifetime. People have forgotten the power of nuclear weapons with all of the glitz surrounding modern conventional munitions. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki would only be considered tactical nukes today - firecrackers compared to strategic warheads.

My biggest concern is an accident as tensions increase and hair trigger alerts become the norm - the inadequacy of Russia's early warning system compounds matters. If we get a repeat of 2005 (see link) it could very well lead to the end of the world as we know it.


No argument was made for U.S. military involvement because none was intended. Our call was strictly for civilian support -- holding rallies, raising relief funds and the like.

No one here called for sending anyone's son into battle in the Ukraine. No one hear is beating any war drums. Our call was limited to humanitarian aid.



Steve, if that was your intent I missed it. Please accept my apology.

This is a horror, there should be no more wars but we have to live in a world where those decisions are made by people unworthy of the job. Two things that should never have a PR department, pandemics and wars.