Russia's Looming Offensive Against Ukraine Will Be Defeated. Here's Why | Opinion

As we approach the one year anniversary of the full scale invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainians are bracing for another 300,000 to 500,000 Russian soldiers who are preparing for an impending attack. This coming offensive will be bloody, it will cost thousands of lives, but it will ultimately fail because the free people of Ukraine will not be defeated.

In the last eleven months, I've been to Ukraine on three separate occasions. I've delivered aid with funds donated to our church, I've listened to many personal stories, and I've shared messages of encouragement and hope with the people that I love. It's difficult for many people in the West to understand the incredible scale of this war, but it shouldn't be difficult to understand why Ukraine will never surrender and why Ukraine will ultimately win.

Freedom is a fundamental, God given, human right. Every human being—regardless of their gender, skin color, socio-economic status, language or country of origin—deserves dignity, justice, and access to true democracy.

Taken Out
This aerial photograph shows a destroyed Russian tank sitting in a snow covered wheat field in Kharkiv region on Feb. 22. IHOR TKACHOV/AFP via Getty Images

The citizens of the Russian Federation lack some of these fundamental human rights, as did the citizens of the former Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, my parents were not permitted to freely work and worship. Their opportunities were limited.

And the stench of the Soviet Union continued to linger over Ukraine for many years after its independence. The corruption that President Volodymyr Zelensky is currently working hard to address was normative during the Soviet Union and likely inherited from years of Soviet oppression and twisted indoctrination.

In 2022, Russia launched its "Special Military Operation" under the pretense of liberation—a "liberation" that has claimed thousands of innocent Ukrainian lives, has led to nearly 200,000 dead or injured Russian soldiers and has forced millions of Ukrainians to flee their homes. The Russian propaganda machine is working hard to justify its aggression against Ukraine. The Russian Federation wants everyone to think that this war is about contested regions, alleged persecution of native Russian speakers and military threats on the border. All of that is a smokescreen. This unjust war is about contrasting values and a contrasting way of life.

I was born in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Communism promised human flourishing by forcing equality and uniformity on people. Everyone had to speak the same language and conform to the Party. If a person was deemed valuable by someone in power, loyalty to the State was rewarded, but any departure from the Party line was severely punished. That system instilled fear and fueled oppression. Ukrainians, along with other former Soviet Bloc countries, left that broken system in the early 1990s, but the Soviet way of life never really came to an end—it simply found new expressions within the Russian Federation.

Someone has to have the courage to face the Russian bully, or the bully will continue to antagonize and terrorize everyone around them. Someone has to tell the bully that oppression and terror is unacceptable, and it will be held accountable. That's what Ukraine is doing right now. Zelensky stayed in Ukraine and stood up to the bully. Brave Ukrainian soldiers (men and women) have paid an incredibly heavy price defending Ukraine and the dignity of all human beings. Civilians all over Ukraine, and some from different nations, have sacrificed their time, money—even their lives—to defend freedom from the threat of the Soviet-Russian regime.

A few days after 46 innocent people were murdered by the Russian Federation in Dnipro, Ukraine, I stood in front of their shattered apartment building. My heart filled with sadness and anger. The rubble was nearly cleaned up, but the gaping multi-story hole left a knot in my stomach. No one should have to live in fear of a missile or a military drone hitting their home. Peaceful human beings shouldn't live in fear of torture, rape, and other war crimes. Yet, that's the reality of the war today in Ukraine.

However, fear does not define the Ukrainian spirit. All over Ukraine, the overwhelming sentiment is defiance and courage. There's no going back to the way things used to be. Ukrainians will never again be enslaved by the Soviet Union or by the Russian Federation. Ukraine will not be defeated.

If military analysts are correct, the situation will likely become harder, and bloodier, before it improves. Ukraine needs our prayers and tangible support. Ongoing military aid and humanitarian aid is critical. Every government that values democracy and every human being who values the dignity of human life must stand with Ukraine. Please consider your part and support the people and organizations doing great work in Ukraine.

We are stronger together. Bullies and terrorists can intimidate us, but they will not defeat us. Not when we stand together.

Ukrainians are showing us what is possible when there's unity against evil and injustice. Let's use our collective resources, and collective influence, to be ambassadors for justice in Ukraine and let's mirror Ukrainian courage in the fight against injustice all over the world.

Andrew Moroz is a Ukrainian-American pastor in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.