Dr Robert Aquilina

Russian Embassy, Kappara – 8th March 2022

On behalf of all peace-loving people of Malta, we call once again on the Russian authorities and the Russian military to stop the illegal and brutal aggression in Ukraine. 

We gather here again to mourn the victims of the aggression ordered by Vladimir Putin, the children, women and men killed by the fire that has rained on them, the bullets and the bombs thrown at them as they tried to escape for their lives.

We gather in solidarity with the millions of refugees who were forced to leave their homes and to abandon their ambitions by violence they did not provoke.

We gather to stand in sympathy with the Ukrainians who have made Malta their home. We cry with them over the loss, the waste, the violence suffered by their homeland.

We gather here to tell Vladimir Putin that his tanks can roll over our brethren but that will never mean he’s right. We tell Vladimir Putin that justice will prevail and that a day will come when his tanks will be rolled back and history will roll over him.

We gather here to tell Vladimir Putin we do not believe his lies. We see through the propaganda that accuses his victims of provocation. At the wrong end of Putin’s bayonets, we see no Nazis. We see innocent and peace-loving people.

It is true that Ukraine was a threat to Vladimir Putin. Every democracy is a threat to Vladimir Putin, especially countries close to him. Every country that struggles through its challenges without disrespecting human rights and the rule of law is a threat to Vladimir Putin.

The people of Ukraine have shown the people of Russia that they do not need bullies and tyrants as leaders to prosper and live in peace. The people of Ukraine have shown Vladimir Putin that heroes are not moulded out of the congealed blood of other people they kill. The people of Ukraine have shown Vladimir Putin that kleptocrats and criminals, billionaires who have robbed their own countries, make for bad political leaders.

The real heroes are the children who respond to bombing by breaking into song. The real heroes are the mothers who carry their children on their backs keeping them safe as their towns and villages are destroyed around them. The real heroes are the teachers, the doctors, the workers, and the students who until now have lived peacefully but who now take up arms in defence of their country. Their courage and patriotism makes up for their lack of resources and training. They have heroically bogged down a professional army armed to its teeth because the invaders are deprived of any moral justification for their criminal acts.

Vladimir Putin falsely accused his victims of being Nazis. He should know what Nazis really are. His country fought them bravely and sacrificed so much to wipe them away.

Nazis glorify the triumph of the will of the leader and crush the rule of law beneath his feet. That is what Vladimir Putin has done.

Nazis order the killing of their critics or throw them in prison en masse. That is what Vladimir Putin has done.

Nazis spread lies about their victims. That is what Vladimir Putin has done.

Nazis target civilians, destroy cities where people who have done nothing to deserve it are killed in their thousands. That is what Vladimir Putin has done.

Nazis value power, greed, violence, and the destruction of anyone in their way, over the rights of all humans, the brotherhood of neighbourly nations, and the rule of law. That is what Vladimir Putin has done.

Eighty years ago, we fought Nazis in what we hoped would be the last world war. Another world war would destroy life as we know it in Europe and beyond. We must resist Putin’s aggression and we must avoid a world war. That is not a paradox. We know what we must do.

We must stand together with Ukraine. We must stand together with the people of Russia who are also victims of Vladimir Putin’s blind and violent ambition. We must uphold democracy wherever it still stands, even if battered and bruised by the backsliding of little Putins around the world who haven’t gone quite as mad, but would if they could.

Vladimir Putin, silence your guns, call back your armies, release your prisoners, and face your doom. Justice will come to your door.