This is an update to Back to Bucha With the Airports Still Closed originally posted December 2022.
By Steve Richards
As we approach the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, I am kicking off Back to Bucha’s impact campaign with its Ukraine premiere on January 5th being the highlight - in Bucha!
And just like my first trip to Bucha in April 2022 it will take several days of trains, planes, and automobiles to get there. That includes an overnight flight to Warsaw from Boston, a night in Warsaw, an overnight sleeper train to Kyiv, and then a car to Bucha. Which I am thrilled to have by the way. The first time had me hiking from Kyiv (no cars available) with the accompanying low-level threat of stepping on a land mine continually in the back of my mind.
All in all, a three-day journey.
I am halfway this morning and writing this post from the Hampton Inn by the Chopin Airport in Warsaw. I always look forward to this place. I use it to compress as I prepare to enter Ukraine, and again to decompress when I head back home.
But as much as I enjoy coming here I’d rather fly over it. It makes me crazy that I can’t fly to Lviv, let alone Kyiv. It wasn’t so long ago before 2022 that it would have been routine. Even after the 2014 annexation of Crimea, the Maidan protests, and the appearance of little green men in the Donbas flights continued. Even after Putin approved the downing of the Malaysian Air flight that same year.
Patriot missiles systems are in Ukraine now and have been for some time. These reduce the risk to commercial jets to an absolute minimum even if Russia were foolish enough to again target civilian aircraft and risk an escalation with NATO. Putin understands the impact of this economic blackmail – and it costs him next to nothing. It shouldn’t be allowed to continue especially given Russia’s weaknesses.
Stick it to Putin while providing a huge boost in morale to Ukrainians and their supporters? The time is nigh for flights to resume. Ukraine’s economic recovery depends on it.
A direct flight to Lviv and then a train to Kyiv? Sign me up for the first flight.
Because as much as I look forward to going back to Bucha, I don’t look forward to getting there.