Ukraine war latest: Zelensky criticizes Russian plan to evacuate civilians

People attend a rally against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Taipei on Sunday © Ann Wang/Reuters

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Wu Hao-chin had never heard of Javelin anti-tank missiles. Now, Wu is discussing their merits in urban warfare with his friends and argues that Taiwan should train its reservists to use them.

“Taiwan is very peaceful, so I never thought about war. But watching the Ukraine war on the news, it is dawning on us that this could happen here, too,” said the 22-year-old economics student.

“It is heroic how the Ukrainians are defending their homeland. We may have to do the same when China attacks, but we are not ready.”

Russia’s assault on Ukraine is serving as a wake-up call for Taiwan, where there is now greater awareness that the Chinese Communist party could make good on its warning to take by force the island it claims as its own.

“This Ukraine crisis reminds us that this threat is very real,” said Ho Cheng-hui, a law professor who last year founded Kuma Academy, which aims to educate the public about fighting and strengthen its will to resist. “A lot of people are suddenly paying more attention to self-defense.”

Enoch Wu, a former special forces officer who has trained more than 8,000 people on defense issues and disaster response, has also noted a jump in public interest.

“We were planning on launching a series of resilience workshops in May or June, but decided to shift everything up to this weekend,” he said. “Within the hour of the announcement going up, it was fully booked.”

Read more about Taiwan’s response to the war in Ukraine here

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