I FUNDAMENTALLY agree with David Pratt’s assessment of the need to continue supporting Ukraine as outlined in his article on February 9. He hasn’t, however, gone far enough in questioning the motives or logic of those who suggest that this support should stop.

One of the criticisms of this support is that “backing Ukraine only serves to perpetuate the war”. This is clearly true as the war may have come to a swifter end without the means to defend those who were invaded.

However, those who advocate this should have enough courage in their conviction to explain what such an outcome would lead to for the citizens of Ukraine in the short term, for Europe in the medium term and the world in the longer term. Do we really want a Europe where tens of thousands can be killed and millions can be forced from their homes on the whim of dictators? It’s less than 80 years since we faced this in Europe and many of us have past family members who paid the price of previous appeasement.

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Arms manufacturers are clearly also benefiting for now, but once again those who use this as a criticism must explain what the alternative looks like in the short term for Ukraine and eventually for the rest of us.

Let’s not forget that the now proven threat from Russia would feather the nests of arms manufacturers anyway, and a return to “normal” plays to the self-interest of those in Western capitals who had their noses deeply in the dirty money trough playing butler for Russian criminals robbing their own people blind.

The initial justifiable concern over escalation in Ukraine and now elsewhere did and should have made us examine the rationale for our support, but our uncertainty also allowed Putin to gamble that the final outcome would be similar to what had happened before ... eventual capitulation.

The so-called “red lines” have been created by ourselves. Any enemy in Russia’s position will threaten whatever is required to affect our thinking but the stakes are far too high for anyone to allow threats to be seen to work. If they work ... how long before North Korea takes advantage of our dither and blather? Far worse, each time we have set these “red lines” we have convinced the gambler that doubling down may eventually result in a win in Ukraine worth the costs so far.

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This war has gone way past the point where economic sanctions can change Russian behaviour. Both sides have suffered so many casualties that the enmity between them will last generations. Most important, though, is that Russia’s losses have already fixed this conflict in Putin and Russia’s mindset as an overdue clash with the West which has far wider meaning than a few bases in Crimea. So this war will not end any time soon and we need to prepare ourselves for this. We need to ensure that dictators the world over both now and in future understand where OUR red lines are and recognise that they should not mistake our natural reluctance to engage in kinetic conflict as an unwillingness to do whatever needs to be done when we recognise its time to hold firm and do the right thing; as is the case now in Ukraine.

Gus McSkimming
North Ayrshire

GEORGE Kerevan’s article “West has unleashed political and military tides it can’t control over war in Ukraine” rightly pointed out the effect of a mass peace movement in the 80s forcing governments east and west to scale back the arms race.

Scottish CND supporters will hold a vigil in Edinburgh on Princes Street, by Castle Street, from 4.30-6.30pm on Friday, February 24, the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, with placards reading “NO NUCLEAR WAR”,” STOP BOMBING UKRAINE”, and “END ALL NUCLEAR THREATS”, messages aimed at both sides. Join us!

What a great shame we seem to lack people nowadays such as the late and highly respected Professor John Erickson of Edinburgh University, who kept open channels of communication with all sides during the Cold War when, like today, the future looked extremely grim.

Malcolm Bruce
Edinburgh CND