Gary Horton | Rethink Our Detachment from Ukraine

Gary Horton

Regular readers of this column know the Naumenko family in Irpin, Ukraine, are friends of ours. Irpin is located close to Kyiv and is again in Russia’s crosshairs as that terrorist state has launched massive new missile and Iranian “Shahed” drone attacks against their invasion target, Ukraine.  

There is death by the hundreds of thousands as a stoic but outmanned and outgunned Ukraine fights for survival and the lives of its people. 

Here, we think of foreign wars in the abstract, scanning horrific stories before flipping to the sports page. There, they’re begging for the U.S. to honor its pledges for military assistance while the country remains under massive recent aerial barrage. 

And yet, while knowing the mayhem and suffering, Congress dithers over funding delivering on our prior pledges. 

Below are actual clips of communications with the Naumenkos as Russia launched unrelenting aerial attacks on Ukraine from the holidays, onward. Understand that the Naumenko family and most Ukrainians are like families here in the Santa Clarita Valley. Except for what follows: 

Gary [Dec. 28 at 10:50 p.m.]: Juliya, how are you? 

Juliya [Dec. 28 at 10:50 p.m.]: We are sitting in the basement. 

Gary [Dec. 28 at 10:50 p.m.]: You know the basement too well. I’m so sorry.

Juliya [Dec. 28 at 10:52 p.m.]: They write that another plane has taken off, which means there will be rocket launches again. I don’t remember such a number for a long time. There is already a lot of destruction and death. It’s good that our basement exists. Many Ukrainians do not have it. However, it will not help from a rocket hit. It only protects from fragments on top. 

As for the shelling, you probably already know that this was the most powerful missile attack in the history of Europe. We were terrorized for six hours straight. All attacks were aimed at Kyiv. Ten pieces of scarce Daggers were launched, 70 X-101/X-555/X-55 cruise missiles, 59 of which were shot down by the American Patriot system, and three Kalibr rockets. There were an unlimited number of Iranian Shahed drones.  

Tonight, one of them flew right over our house and I saw it for the first time in the beam of the detection spotlights. All I prayed for was that God forbid, it wouldn’t be shot down right above us. Fortunately, it was shot down outside the city line. After that, we went down to the basement and listened to the terrible explosions from rockets from 3 until 9 in the morning. You probably already know everything about the catastrophic consequences of direct hits and shrapnel. They are terrible.  

The Russians are trying to wipe Kyiv off the face of the Earth. In their crazed impulses, they even dropped one rocket from their side directly on their own village, where 11 people died and 80 houses were destroyed. I don’t think that’s going to stop them. 

Gary [Dec. 28 at 10:58 p.m.]: It’s not in the news here yet. Would you please give me the link to your news source?  

Juliya [Dec. 28 at 11:05 p.m.]: Military Scout Vanek Nikolaev on Telegram.

(Selections from Nikolaev:)  

Dec. 28: Guys, there are nine TU-95ms and nine TU-22M3 aircraft in the air. Two TU-22M3 aircraft in the Voronezh region. Please wake up and respond to alarms. There’s a flight of missiles through the Sumy region towards Poltava, to shelters!!!!! Mirgorod — run for the corridors!!!!! 

Jan. 1: Takeoff of seven TU-95ms aircraft from Engels. There are a total of 16 confirmed TU-95ms aircraft in the air, and a high probability of a rocket attack in the morning. In case of launches, I will inform you. 

The first missile launches from about five sides of the TU-95ms took place at 05:20. A total of 16 TU-95ms aircraft were observed in the Caspian Sea area. The approach of missiles to the borders of our state is expected by 06:30-07:00. There is still time to move/go to safe places or think about which of the safe places you will need to spend about an hour of combat work. 

I remind you of the simple rules of conduct during rocket attacks, considering that Russia is actively aiming at civilian objects: 1. Don’t worry. 2. Be in safe places. 3. Don’t remove any clothing to sleep. 

Your life is the most precious thing you have. Our fighters are all ready and in positions, they will work on missiles, and I repeat once again, it is NOT known how many missiles were fired … probably the rockets will come in gradually, in waves, let’s see soon. THE NUMBER OF MISSILES IS UNKNOWN!!! 

Jan. 8, 2024: The enemy launched a massive strike on Ukraine, using cruise, aviation, ballistic, anti-aircraft guided missiles and attack UAVs. A total of 59 enemy air attacks were recorded: 

• Eight Shahed-136/131 attack UAVs from the Primorsko-Akhtarsk-RF area.

• Seven s-300/S-400 anti-aircraft guided missiles from the Belgorod region.

• Four X-47M2 Kinzhai aerobic missiles from four MiG-31K aircraft (launch area-Ryazan, Tambov). 

• Twenty-four x-101/x-555/x-55 cruise missiles from 11 Tu-95MS strategic bombers (launch area – Engels-Russian Federation). 

• Eight x-22 cruise missiles from TU-22m3 bombers from the Belgorod region, Russia. 

• Six Iskander-M ballistic missiles from Dzhankoy, Chauda-Crimea areas. 

• Two guided aircraft missiles X-31p from Tactical Aircraft (launch area-Belgorod region). 

Readers, all this is simply horrific! For the USA to slow walk or even default on pledges in defense of these brave people is pathetic, weak, callous and inhumane.  

Congress must step up and act now, assisting Ukraine to achieve a just peace, lest we witness the death of millions as we turn our heads, and our European allies also begin to falter. We’re a “Beacon of Freedom.” Let’s act the part.

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

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