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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Davies

Suddenly, the men you love, can't leave the country

I wonder, are we paying attention to what matters?

There is right now, a rising threat to our family and friends, and we can do something about it.

In the UK, and across Europe, we are at risk that we'll wake up one day, with no notice, and all men aged between 18 and 60 won't be able to leave the country.

NATO action would also involve the armed forces of the USA.

At the flick of a switch, in Europe, we may suddenly learn the meaning of "martial law", or something like it, which was introduced in Ukraine immediately after the full-scale invasion. What's to know, is that your brother or son or best friend, may be called up to the frontline, to fight in a war where, as in Ukraine, tens of thousands are being killed.

What else matters right now, next to that possibility?

And how does your family home stack up against a missile that moves at several times the speed of sound?

I am currently typing from a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, where missiles above are being shot from the sky. Before you look away, understand your government, right now across Europe, is very likely to be considering, and has the responsibility to consider, how to approach the mobilisation of your society in the event Putin's imperial war widens.

When the border closes

In Ukraine, as soon as the full-scale war started, the next day, the borders immediately were closed to men aged 18 to 60.

Many of the men called up to fight, were, at first, those with some military experience somewhere in their past, and, there were many volunteers, at the start. As the war grinds on, politicians are forced to make decisions about extending the mobilisation.

Every family here is touched by war. And for those who have not lost someone in their immediate family, they have a friend who they're helping who has lost a husband or son. And along with the constant sirens and destruction of everything they value, they live with the dread, as each day passes, that the war gets closer and closer to their own family.

War is ugly, brutal, and devastating. We lose the people we love, and if we manage to survive, we can lose our limbs, senses, mental health, homes, livelihoods, communities, and the landscapes and heritage we treasure.

We may find ourselves buying soft toys and flowers on the way to baby funerals.

Are we paying attention?

Clear as day, Ukrainians shoulder an immense and horrific burden while the world has the capacity to stop Putin's regime. Sending faster and greater support to Ukraine, now, can stop his horrific war, restore Ukraine's borders, and signal to all the world that the long-settled rules of peaceful coexistence will be defended.

We can today, urge our representatives - persuasively and peacefully - to send to Ukraine what is needed now.

We can pause from the relative comfort and safety of our lives, and realise the power we have. We can help Ukraine now. They need you, right now.

The elevated risk of nuclear war

We are also at a heightened risk of nuclear war - a prospect that does not bear thinking about, right?

But because the nuclear powers have not continued to reduce their arsenals, we now have a situation where, in a heightened situation like today, we are at an elevated risk of nuclear war.

First, Putin's regime has raised the spectre of actually using a tactical nuclear weapon. A tactical nuke is the size of the bomb that flattened Hiroshima. There is nothing tactical about dropping a nuclear bomb. He has also repeatedly talked about his readiness to use nuclear weapons.

Alongside his threats, the risk is also greater now that a wider nuclear war could result from a miscalculation, especially in the current situation, when a major nuclear power is at war, and is governed by a regime based on fear, delusion, systemic misinformation, and a brutal crackdown on dissent.

One of the many insanities of this scenario is that we won't know the details of the triggering incident and how it happened because by the end of the day, we won't exist.

The existence of Russia's nuclear arsenal has limited the ways the world can help Ukraine directly. But it does not limit us sending to Ukraine, with far greater urgency, what they need to defend themselves and restore their borders, and in so doing, sending a clear unified message to revanchist authoritarians across the world - sovereign borders must be respected: you cannot invade another country.

What's missing is scale and urgency. That's where we can help. We need to let our representatives know, this matters to us, this is important, and we urge them to meet the moment and do more and much faster.

By supporting the brave people of Ukraine now, we are also reducing the very real risk closer to home.

Take a moment to save your world, and tell a friend.

What we say and do matters. We influence the people around us. Our children watch us. Together, you and I, we create our world. Peace is every step.

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