Ukrainian engineer Taras Ostapchuk was recently revealed to be heading to his home country after a high-profile incident in which he tried to sink a pricey yacht belonging to a Russian weapons dealer. On Monday, the Majorca Daily Bulletin reported that Ostapchuk “left Mallorca this afternoon bound for Ukraine where he intends to take up arms against the Russian invaders, according to an interview with our sister newspaper, Ultima Hora.” Ostapchuk was originally arrested in Spain, where the incident unfolded, but he said in court: “I don’t regret anything I’ve done and I would do it again.” The vessel that Ostapchuk targeted, which he’d serviced for years, is owned by Alexander Mijeev, the CEO of a company called Rosoboronexport.
I am grateful to Romania for its significant contribution to the defense capabilities of our country. I am grateful to @KlausIohannis for supporting Ukraine's membership in the European Union. We feel the political and defense support of our partners.🇷🇴🤝🇺🇦
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 28, 2022
Ostapchuk told a judge that he “watched the news about the war. There was a video of a helicopter attack on a building in Kyiv. The armaments used are produced by the yacht owner’s company. They were attacking innocents.” Hundreds of Ukrainian civilians have died amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country, and those numbers could substantially under-represent the full scope of the sobering destruction so far. Additionally, over half a million Ukrainians and counting have been displaced amid the conflict. Talks between Ukrainian and Russian teams regarding potentially ending the war began on Monday, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy initially wasn’t optimistic about how those negotiations would turn out — although he said to “let them try, so that no citizen of Ukraine doubts that I, as president, tried to stop the war when there was still a chance, however small.”
“Mechanical engineer Taras Ostapchuk, 55, today revealed that having scuppered the vessel in Mallorca he now plans to fly home this afternoon to fight with the brave soldiers fighting Vladimir Putin's invaders.” https://t.co/EjEw1TdKiQ
— Calder Walton 🇺🇦🌻 (@calder_walton) February 28, 2022
Protests against the unfolding Russian attack on Ukraine have taken place in Russia itself, where mass demonstrations without prior government approval are illegal, with thousands of demonstrators arrested. Anti-war protests have also unfolded in Belarus, a country with an authoritarian leader closely allied to Russia’s Vladimir Putin and where there have also been detentions in connection to the demonstrations. Elsewhere in the world, protests have been seen in the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi, Berlin, Geneva, Tehran, New York City, Washington, D.C., and other locales. In the U.S., former President Donald Trump has stuck by calling Putin “smart” or some variation of that descriptor; at the latest installment of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump said that the “problem is not that Putin is smart, which, of course, he’s smart… The problem is that our leaders are dumb… and so far, allowed him to get away with this travesty and assault on humanity.” Besides the fact that the “assault on humanity” phrasing doesn’t sound like something Trump wrote, you don’t have to hand it to Putin for invading Ukraine — and this shouldn’t be difficult!
do not be afraid
to stand up to evil
no matter how powerful it seems
at the dawn
the flag 🇺🇦 will still be there
— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 27, 2022