Ukraine - BCA Statement

BCA Secretary

New member

BCA Statement regarding the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

BCA (in conjunction with BCRA) absolutely deplores the aggressive invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the subsequent war which was entirely fabricated by the Russians without justification. In a civilized society, war has no place in resolving disputes and we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainian people and in particular their caving community in support of their efforts to resist the Russian aggression and reverse the invasion of their country in whatever ways we can.
In particular, we would like to extend a helping hand to Ukrainians in finding a safe haven in the UK and urge our 6,000+ members to do what they can to help these people by offering accommodation or making donations and everything in between.
Having seen the response from the UK caving community in one man?s hour of need during the recent South Wales rescue, I can only imagine the huge amounts of kindness and generosity which can be offered to significantly more people in their hour of need.
Whilst clearly writing this for the benefit of all Ukrainians, it would be even more heartening to think we could extend that helping hand to anyone from the Ukraine caving community and offer them some solace of normality and support knowing they are amongst like-minded people. 
To say this situation is unbelievable is an understatement and not something I imagined could ever happen in my lifetime. I hope that the UK caving community will respond in the best possible way.
My heartfelt support goes to the Ukrainian people and cavers in particular with a wish that this whole ghastly situation is soon resolved in their favour.
Russell Myers
Chair
BCA
24th March 2022
 

Fjell

Member
We are going to have to be nice to Russians (or at least tolerate them) at some point in the near future. Some of this Russophobia is not very helpful and you are going to end up winding it back.

I'm all for giving the Ukrainians large quantities of weapons in order to enable a military stalemate driven by the realisation in Russia they cannot successfully pacify all of Ukraine in the long term. Not enough people have died yet, but they are getting there.

The relationship between Russia and Ukraine is enormously complex and Ukrainians I have worked with can often be very ambiguous as to whether they are Russian or if Russians are really Ukrainians anyway. It is quite reasonable to characterise Russia as a historic colony/offshoot of Ukraine (or rather Rus). Belarus is the northern half of Rus. The Russians have memory muscle for being invaded and it doesn't take much to set them off. They think they need huge buffer zones which is based on the historic reality of such invasions. It didn't help that Stalin nicked a large chunk of Poland and added it to western Ukraine, this being in living memory. No Russian thinks Crimea belongs to anyone but Russia, they shed a river of blood for it. Ditto Odessa to a a fair degree, the southern St Petersburg - be very telling to see if Putin is willing to blow it up if you give any credence to his Russian Empire spiel. Putin has also been going on about how Europe is perennially ungrateful for saving it from tyranny (they destroyed Napoleon and Hitler but people like us claimed the credit, which is as close to the truth as makes no difference). It's not a hard sell to the Russian people, even if they don't particularly want to be poor and/or dead.

You can see SE Ukraine being annexed by Russia and then what does everyone do? It will have a Russian population. In the south you can see the Dnieper river being the new boundary, although Putin absolutely does not think that is good enough as he really wants the entire Black Sea coastline. We might end up with significant population exchange, which hasn't happened in Europe for a while (the Germans losing most of Prussia being the last really). Poland got Prussia to compensate for losing Western Ukraine...

Be good to avoid everyone getting nuked. Not entirely impossible, the current Russian government is not as disciplined (or battle hardened) as the old Soviet ones.

It's not unlikely the UK will need to take at least a million refugees (mostly permanently), so maybe that needs some planning.
 

Fjell

Member
In Nov I listened to the Royal Philharmonic at the Albert Hall concluding with the 1812 complete with bangs and fireworks. Going to be a bit sad if it gets ?culturally erased? as some are already suggesting. And ironic considering the subject matter.
 

Fulk

Active member
I think that you are right, Fjell, but it has already started; I understand that a concert that was to be given in Cardiff that featured Tchaikovsky?s 2nd symphony and the 1812 Overture was scrapped (or re-organized).
 

pwhole

Well-known member
It's bloody absurd and insane, though to be honest I can't see many orchestral composers frantically documenting the siege of Mariupol on their stave sheets just yet - it'll be a pretty monotonous piece if it ever sees the light of day. Funnily enough I once saw the 1812 Overture with monster fireworks at an evening concert at the Hollywood Bowl, on acid, which was pretty wild, and literally packed to the rafters - we had to buy tickets from a tout. I ended up sat next to a woman who had met one of my best friends from Rotherham the week before, at a play by the RSC in Stratford whilst on an English degree course foreign trip - that was weird. We could have also seen The Grateful Dead that night, but that involved a 30-mile drive across town and my friend was incapable - and the Bowl was only a five-minute stroll up the hill. Anyway, I digress.

War used to come up with pretty good tunes in the olden days, but then I guess war itself was more fun then, with far more room for improvisation. Commercialism has even extended into battle technique nowadays. It'll all just be major-chord piano tinkling for the sad bits, and sub-hip-hop for the 'exciting' bits. But constant artillery shelling is a bit limiting to build a symphony around. Maybe Aphex Twin will come up with something interesting. God forbid Adele gets involved, or we are in trouble.
 

David Rose

Member
I am dismayed that some people are arguing about the undeniably complex history of Russia and Ukraine at a time when one of these countries (Russia, of course) is committing war crimes on a massive scale in an unprovoked war of aggression. Right now, that is the only thing that counts.

Many international and national bodies have, rightly in my view, decided that at this time, there is no alternative but to suspend contacts and membership with their Russian counterparts. That is not "Russophobia" and it does not imply that every Russian supports or is implicated in the crimes being committed against Ukraine and its people. That is clearly not the case.

There will be a time to welcome back Russian cavers into the international caving community, but it can only be contemplated when the shooting has stopped, assuming that happens in a way that leaves Ukraine as a functioning, independent state with a democratically elected government. 

Which is what it was before Putin launched the invasion.
 

Fjell

Member
We did the same to Iraq in 2003 with arguably far less justification, and remarkably little consequence to us (except maybe Brexit, which is pretty minor). We killed 30,000 Iraqis in the first few weeks alone. The knock-on consequences have been a geopolitical disaster.

I was subsequently involved in negotiations with the new government. They were not exactly overwhelmed with gratitude for what we had done. Lots of people they knew were dead, millions of families were destitute.

We have a clear need in NATO to deter Putin for our own survival, most of the rest of the world are not going to put themselves out over this.

 

mikem

Active member
It's known as collateral damage: "According to Iraq Body Count, between 2003 and 2011, U.S. coalition forces killed at least 1,201 children in Iraq alone."
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/where-is-outcry-over-children-killed-by-u-s-led-forces/

"US aircraft hit a Red Crescent maternity hospital in Baghdad, the city's trade fair, and other civilian buildings today, killing several people and wounding at least 25, hospital sources and a Reuters witness said."
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/apr/02/iraq.simonjeffery
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
There's a world of difference between "collateral damage" and a deliberate policy of targeting the innocent and vulnerable.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
What - children? Pregnant women? You think they're fighting the Russian army? Even if they were, they've every right to. The Ukranian's aren't the aggressors.

There is no possible excuse for what the Kremlin scum have been doing. The BCA is right to denounce it.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
There's a useful piece just come out by the ever-reliable Nick Cohen in The Observer on the RT situation and the massaging of facts into opinion:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/mar/26/collaboration-built-on-everyday-vanity-ambition-look-at-rts-wannabes

Craig Murray is an equally symptomatic figure. I defended him in 2002 when he was Britain?s ambassador in Uzbekistan and found the moral courage to criticise the tyrannical practices of the Uzbek dictatorship. It was pouring boiling water over prisoners while remaining the west?s ally in democracy?s war against radical Islam. Naturally, Murray didn?t last long in the Foreign Office after that outburst. If you had asked me at the time, I would have said that, as a brave and principled figure, Murray would go on to defend human rights whether the west or the west?s enemies oppressed them.

But like so many others he was prepared to expose western crimes while covering for Putin. If I make him sound a hypocrite, then he is hardly an exceptional hypocrite. The west kids itself if it thinks Ukraine enjoys global support. Millions in Africa, Asia, South America and in the west itself will excoriate the double standards of democracies while excusing or ignoring the crimes of dictatorships.
 

mikem

Active member
Pitlamp said:
What - children? Pregnant women?
No, the Russians. We just bombed others from altitude & at range. The policies of the West are at least partially to blame for the current situation, but Putin has to shoulder responsibility.
 

2xw

Member
Whilst it's pretty normal to criticize the war in Iraq as being pretty terrible all round, there's no comparison between the invasion of Iraq and the Invasion of Ukraine, and in fact any equivalence is somewhat disgusting. Saddam Hussein undertook genocide, including the use of chemical weapons, against the people of Iraq, including the systematic use of torture. There are still tens of thousands unaccounted for even after the discovery of the mass graves. Hardly comparable to the modern day governance of Ukraine is it, and dare I say it a fallacy of hypocrisy.


"policies of the West are at least partly to blame" is tripe; they might be a cause but Putin's choices are his own - and the idea that deliberately shelling apartments is the same as 'collateral damage' sounds like it's straight from the Russian embassy twitter account  :LOL:
 

mikem

Active member
There are several other countries involved in genocide that the West did nothing about & studies reckon that over 1 million Iraqis died as a result of the war, 200,000 of them violently (& these could well be underestimates). From Putin's point of view, why should we be able to invade a country we've never had a claim over? Neither should be acceptable in today's world.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Ah, I think I see your point now.

But this discussion is about the Ukraine situation, not other conflicts.

Whichever way you look at it, the only possible conclusion is that what the Kremlin is doing to innocent civilians cannot be justified.
 

mikem

Active member
"But whether or not these attacks constitute war crimes has been debated. U.S. officials and the United Nations have been more reserved, saying legal assessments must be done..."
https://www.abcnews.go.com/amp/International/civilians-war-amid-ukraine-conflict/story%3fid=83178098
 

Fjell

Member
When we invaded Iraq we tore up the UN Charter. The principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries was there for extremely pragmatic reasons - without it there will never be agreement, and it is anyway in the eye of the beholder.

You could take a contrary view that Hussein was suppressing Islamic fundamentalism and keeping the lid on. This was the Israeli view and they certainly weren?t besties; they pleaded with the US not to stay in Iraq after smashing them up a bit. In my view the UK is almost entirely responsible for the clusterfuck called Iraq that we created in a fit of arrogance.
 
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