THE current situation in Ukraine doesn’t bode well for that country. Declarations of support with great publicity are all to the good, but no substitute for military hardware.

Western governments have made token gestures of equipment in support, but not enough to enable Ukraine to recover territory or beat Russia.

This half-hearted support gives rise to the view that they don’t want Ukraine to prevail. They only want to prolong the conflict with the aim of weakening a militarily resurgent Russia, with Ukraine paying the price.

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This cynical approach in the short term increases support for Nato in neighbouring countries but in the longer term means that those countries bordering Russia will seek to accommodate Russia, rather than pursue their own course.

The message is clear: toe Moscow’s line or get invaded. Fine words and ineffectual sanctions are no substitute for hardware and ammunition. Russia’s neighbours and Russia will take note of the lack of serious response from the West and act accordingly.

So far, it’s been a good year for Putin’s dream of re-establishing the Czar’s empire.

I’m glad I don’t live in the Baltic States.

Drew Reid

THERE seems to be a dangerous imbalance in the West’s attitude to the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Before 2014, Ukraine had no need to create a military industrial industry, as it had lived in peace with Russia for decades, so did not upgrade its old Soviet-era weapons. Alarm bells should have alerted Western powers when Russia first annexed Crimea, and then Eastern Ukraine. Probably emboldened by the West’s lack of interest, Putin then mounted a full-scale invasion of the country. Only then did the West start providing weapons to Ukraine allowing the army to protect the country, and start a counter-offensive. But puzzlingly that supply has dwindled, and Ukraine is struggling to maintain its positions.

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Thousands of miles away, Israel has built up a considerable armaments industry and created a formidable army, questionably named the Israeli Defence Forces. In addition to that, Israel receives billions of dollars worth of aid and weapons from the West, principally the USA. The full panoply of Israel’s military might has been unleashed upon the civilians of Gaza, with a savagery and barbarism once visited upon Jewish people.

So the question has to be asked – just who presents the greatest threat to Europe, Gaza or Russia?

Richard Walthew

ONCE again – through the death of Alexei Navalny and the continuation of the war against Ukraine and all various forms, of underhand thug repression,

dirty money mania in Russia and around the world and again and again ad nauseum – Vladimir Putin proves that he and his warped communist ideology fail to express, live up to and serve core human universal values: unity, truth, goodness and beauty.

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Therefore, Russia and its people need to action a forward gear change to leave such self-centred nonsense behind and strive to lead the better, more just and balanced life of live and let live that a more mature humanity deserves, and can and will achieve together as a unity amidst diversity.

Putin’s infantile leadership based on fear has no place in today’s world, it is neither sane nor Christian, nor Buddhist, nor etc and the brainwashed Russian Orthodox Church who fall in line with his ideology (with noble intelligent exceptions) likewise fail to do their duty to their Lord – result: “He who spits at heaven gets it back in their face” or “What goes around comes around”.

Dostoyevsky wrote “Beauty will redeem the world” – it is such a pity that Putin cannot/will not read. He obviously only enjoys horror comic picture books in which he alas, has become himself a central character – a joke.

Charles Mugleston

THE dedicated life of the incredibly courageous Alexei Navalny, who tragically died suddenly in a Russian prison camp at the age of only 47, must not be forgotten. Democracy will not come quickly to Russia’s people, certainly as long as Vladimir Putin is in power, but recognition in the West – whether through posthumous awards, memorials or even monuments – can help foster the belief of many in Russia that democratic government can be achieved.

In the meantime, sanctions on Putin’s Russia could include preventing refined oil and gas from India and China from coming to the UK, which could invest in sustaining refining capacity at Grangemouth, as well as belatedly in the Acorn carbon capture and storage project for the North Sea, perhaps exploiting the frozen assets of Putin’s Russian allies.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian