Hope prevails for former director of Limerick based Ukrainian group

Michael Baskin

AS HE watched news footage of Russian tanks and soldiers invading his home country on Wednesday night, Ukraine national Michael Baskin’s first thoughts were “is this really happening?”.

Baskin, who has lived in Ireland for the past 20 years, is a former director of the Association of Ukrainians in Ireland, which has a base in Patrickswell.

He says his family and friends back home are now extremely worried and their fear has “multiplied” now the invasion has started.

While acknowledging Ireland’s official status as a neutral country, Baskin,  says members of the Irish parliament can help Ukraine through diplomacy.

Citing Ireland’s foreign peacekeeping history, he says, “I’m not a politician, but I know the Irish are probably the greatest negotiators in military conflicts.”

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“Help is always appreciated,” yet the 46-year-old proudly declares “the Ukrainian army are very well trained, prepared, and highly motivated to defend themselves against Vladimir Putin’s killing machines.

“You have to understand, we are not defending an ideology, we are defending the land, our people, our houses, that’s what Ukrainians are doing in Ukraine. The conflict between Ukrainian soldiers and Putin’s animals has already happened.

“These animals, up to 200,000 of them, sat in the fields for the last six months, and they’re armed to the teeth. They have trained mentally as well.”

Baskin, who has a sister and other family members in Ukraine, hopes the invasion can be thwarted sooner rather than later.

“Of course I’m hopeful that Ukraine will be able to stop Russia where they are. I’m Ukrainian and if one of us goes to war, all of us go to war.”