May the Holy Spirit touch Putin’s heart

By Alex P. Vidal

“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.” – Saint Augustine

AS a Catholic, I believe in the Holy Spirit. I also believe in Divine Intervention.

But no one can predict when and how the Holy Spirit works; no one can tell if the Divine Intervention will come or not.

Before thousands more will be killed, let’s hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will touch the heart of Vladimir Putin and withdraw his troops from Ukraine as soon as possible.

God works in mysterious ways. Everything that is about totalitarianism, dictatorship, cruelty, subjugation, injustice is ungodly. Good will always triumph over evil.

People around the world, including those from the Philippines, who have rallied behind Ukraine in solidarity, will need to strengthen their faith more.

If this bloody invasion could happen in Ukraine, Europe’s second-largest country, this could also happen in other countries, not only in Europe but also in Asia, Africa and even America.

Prayers are okay. Sanctions from the West are okay, too, and appear effective; but the greatest miracle is Putin changing his mind, halting the carnage in Ukraine, going back to the negotiating table, and embracing peace unconditionally. Impossible?

With God, nothing is impossible.


For two consecutive Mondays (February 21 and 28), I dropped by in the United Nations (UN) headquarters in the morning on 1st Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.

My visit on February 28 was very significant: I wanted to see the flags of both the warring Russia and Ukraine among the 193 flags, including the Philippines’, flying outside the 73-year-old UN building.

Later in the day, two big stories came out from the U.N.: 1. The expulsion of 12 Russian diplomats based at Moscow’s U.N. mission here in New York for engaging in espionage activities; and 2. The revelation by Catherine Russell, the newly appointed Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), that the situation for boys and girls caught up in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict grew worse by the minute.

“The United States has informed the United Nations and the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations that we are beginning the process of expelling twelve intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission who have abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security,” U.S. Mission to the United Nations spokesperson Olivia Dalton said in a statement.

“We are taking this action in accordance with the U.N. Headquarters Agreement. This action has been in development for several months.”

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters that the U.S. gave them until March 7 to leave the country.

He said that it is a “hostile action” by the U.S. government and violates Washington’s obligations as the host country of the United Nations.


Nebenzia also called the order “sad news” and said the U.S., the host country, was showing “gross disrespect” to its commitments “both under U.N. Charter and the Host Country Agreement, and Vienna conventions.”

The Vienna Convention also applies to the treatment of diplomats.

“Children have been killed. Children have been wounded. And children are being profoundly traumatized by the violence all around them,” Russel said in a statement.

UNICEF has renewed a call on all parties to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. Hospitals, schools, water and sanitation facilities, as well as orphanages, have come under fire, according to reports.

Explosive weapons in populated areas, along with explosive remnants of war, represent “real and present dangers” for children, said Russell.

She appealed for suspension of the ongoing military actions, which would facilitate humanitarian access to people who have been cut off after five days of intense airstrikes and ground fighting.

“It would also allow families in the worst affected areas to venture out to get food and water, to seek medical care, or to leave in search of safety,” she added.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)