«Let’s Keep Some Surprises for the Russians»: Five Q&As to Explain Ukraine-Russia Tension

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Imagine you live in a wonderful house with a wonderful family but you have a violent drunken asshole of a neighbor. You try to live your life in peace and happiness but you’re ready to defend your family.

Opinion by Taras Byk

1. Is Russia going to start the war on Ukraine?

No, it’s impossible as Russia has already started the war. In 2014 Moscow brutally violated international law by occupying Ukraine’s Crimea and parts of Donbas and now has killed already over 13,000 people.

Taras Byk, government relations director, Wooden Horse Strategies in Kyiv

2. Will Russia a launch large-scale military operation against Ukraine?

If we use rational analysis of the situation, the answer is No, as this would be quite illogical and pretty suicidal step for the Kremlin. However, we should remember that we have to deal with a monkey with a grenade (moreover, with a nuclear grenade), so this scenario should not be excluded. 

As it should not have been excluded since 1991. The most likely scenario is further hybrid warfare conducted by Russia, including cyberattacks, usage of energy resources as a weapon, other numerous means to destabilise Ukraine and possible limited military activities.

Read more: «Midnight in Lviv: The Story of Ukraine’s American Expats.»

3. Looks like you live your life in the business as usual mode?

Pretty much. Imagine you live in a community you adore in a house of your dreams with a family you love. The only problem – your neighbor is an asshole. Usually, he is drunk and trying to provoke you into a fight. 

Sometimes, he throws manure on your side or deliberately sends his pigs to your garden. Oh, and once he grabbed several square meters of your garden and told neighbours it wasn’t him. 

But it doesn’t mean you have to live your entire life in fear of your neighbor. Yes, you will sue him, build a bigger fence from his side, fight back when he poses physical threat, but most of your life you’ll insulate and decorate your house, you’ll enjoy time with your family, you’ll invite your friends for a barbeque, you’ll practice your hobby etc. That’s what we do in Ukraine.

Read more: «Zelenskiy: They Are Attacking Our Nerves, Not Our Land»

4. So, you are not doing anything to prepare for possible war?

Quite a lot. From having additional supplies of food at home to recollecting first aid skills and learning basic warfare theories. By the way, today, among the most popular websites in the country are those devoted to NLAWs [a British-Swedish anti-tank missile system] and Stingers [surface-to-air missile] for Dummies. Besides, we... oh, let’s keep some surprises for the Russians.

A Singer | photo by Maryu, taken 2005/10/09

5. Where will you run if Russia does attack Kyiv?

It depends. If Russia attacks from the West, then to the 131st territorial defense unit defending Western outskirts of Kyiv; if from the East – then to the 127th territorial defense unit which will be fighting on the East. Or any other position which will be useful in defending my country. And I know that hundreds of my friends in Kyiv will do so as well. And hundreds of thousands of citizens all over Ukraine. Russians will have a very warm welcome here.

So, keep calm and support Ukraine!

Taras Byk is the government relations director of Wooden Horse Strategies, a Kyiv-based consulting firm focused on USAID and EU project development, political strategy, strategic communications, and more. 

Find more stories about the Russia threats at our Defending Ukraine page

Joe Lindsley, an American journalist (follow on Instagram or LinkedIn), is editor of Lviv Now.

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Lviv Now is an English-language website for Lviv, Ukraine’s «tech-friendly cultural hub.» It is produced by Tvoe Misto («Your City») media-hub, which also hosts regular problem-solving public forums to benefit the city and its people.

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