Letters: We must get real and reach a compromise with Russia

NATO has so far avoided starting World War Three, which going to war with the second largest military and nuclear power in the world would entail. Sanctions on Russia won’t work, but will hurt Europe.

Russia has reduced its reliance on the West as much as vice versa. China is Russia’s main trading partner, providing an alternative market for Russian gas exports. Qatar has said it couldn’t meet any shortage in gas supplies for Germany or Europe if Russia cut them off. Russia, China and India have prepared a Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payments System (CIPS) for international banking transactions in case they’re frozen out of Swift (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications).

Arming and training Ukrainian forces for a long insurgency is a viable strategy, but the deaths and suffering for Ukrainians would be enormous.

The least bad option might be to accept that, as unreasonable as Vladimir Putin is, some compromise may avoid more deaths. Nato could agree that Ukraine will never join; and Ukraine could give limited autonomy for the Donbas region, in return for Russian forces withdrawing, and Russia recognising the Ukrainian government as legitimate.

Some may condemn this as appeasement. But what are the realistic alternatives? Russia has spent may years modernising its forces and has anti-air weapons capable of taking down Nato military planes. How many millions of people would die, lose loved ones or suffer for effective alternatives (world war risking even nuclear Armageddon)? And what use are sanctions that Russia is prepared for when it has alternative trading partners?

If Russia invaded a Nato member, war would become unavoidable. But how would any US government react if an anti-US alliance headed by Russia expanded through Latin America, with Russian troops arriving in many countries, and there was talk of Mexico joining it? Not much better than Mr Putin has. And for all the talk of sovereignty and international law and the UN Charter, Boris Johnson and most Tory MPs backed the Iraq War which violated all three.

Duncan McFarlane, Carluke.


THE BBC today (February 24) correctly stated the fact that “Russia has invaded Ukraine” and in the second half of the sentence opined “ending hopes of a diplomatic solution”. We must hope that the BBC’s assessment is wrong, but for once I will take it at its word.

First, Professor John Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, a leading proponent of the realist school of international relations, said on Wednesday in an online seminar with the student politics society of King’ College, Cambridge, that absorption of the Ukraine into Nato is a red line for Russia, end of.

Secondly, Russia, with a GDP of that of Italy or Spain, take your pick, has a nuclear doctrine that incorporates its nuclear arsenal into its operational, possibly tactical, thinking. That is, its threshold of use is lower than that of say, the UK. We do have warheads that can dial down yields to levels similar to that of what passes for Russian battlefield-use levels.

Thirdly, as Prof Mearsheimer goes on to say, there is a potential end point to this, other than Armageddon, Ukraine becoming a neutral country. If it’s good enough for Finland, which used to be part of the Imperial Russian Empire, it’s good enough for Ukraine; I agree with him.

Fourthly, only 25% of the American public are prepared to condone military action by the United States and thankfully we have the US Congressional elections in nine months’ time.

Bill Ramsay, Glasgow.


AN argument for nuclear weapons has been that it will prevent war on European soil.

However, here we have a Russian dictator who is waging war on a sovereign country in Europe. We have to stand by and watch and rely on ineffectual sanctions to bring Vladimir Putin to heel.

Why only this? Because if we meet force with force, who knows how Mr Putin might react, including using nuclear weapons.

Yet, had Mr Putin access only to conventional weapons, we could have met his aggression with appropriate military force. Might that have been deterrent enough to prevent this invasion? Who knows. But what we do know is, we are hamstrung.

So much for the nuclear deterrent.

William Thomson, Denny.


I FIND it incredible that Western leaders have expressed such surprise at the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. The massive build-up of Russian troops and military hardware on the Ukraine borders taking place over the last several weeks was always a signal of their intentions to invade. The so-called exercises in Belarus in the north, the eastern fringes and the Black Sea to the south were clearly a smokescreen and for the West to watch this build-up of 150,000-plus troops and expect a diplomatic solution was naivety in the extreme.

Now is the time for significant, punitive and long-lasting sanctions against the Putin regime by Nato members and other western powers. God help the civilians of Ukraine.

Christopher H Jones, Giffnock.


I NOTE your report regarding banning Russia Today (“‘Swift action’ pledge if RT breaks broadcast rules”, The Herald, February 24).

I am one of those terrible people who turn on RT occasionally. I also look at the French news, Turkish, Al-Jazeera and the like and Bloomberg for financial news. I have been retired for many years and so can indulge myself by sitting in the morning and absorbing a wide variety of views. Is our Government going to stop me? I have given up watching BBC and STV in the morning because of the quality of the presentation and content.

Now we are moving into a new phase where we are going to get all the propaganda about how good Ukraine is and how bad Russia is. Whether we agree or not, Russia feels threatened by Nato.

I remember well when the boot was on the other foot. I was on a Thor missile base when the Cuban crisis took place and we were minutes away from a nuclear war because of how the US felt threatened. The USSR backed down (led by Kruschev, a Ukrainian). This time there was no backing down. We had no leaders with the ability to find a way out of the situation. They only threatened Russia. Let us hope that someone emerges who can find some way to stop the escalation of conflict. That will not come by selling more arms to Ukraine.

Jim McAdam, Maidens.


WITH Russia invading Ukraine and war unleashed on European soil once more, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP need to make clear whether they seriously wish to proceed with a second referendum to break up the United Kingdom in 2023.

The economic and social consequences of the SNP succeeding were always going to be severe, and to this can be added the geopolitical danger of destabilising a major Nato power at a time of war in Europe.

One thing is for sure: if the SNP succeeded in breaking up Britain, removing nuclear weapons from Scotland and casting the United Kingdom into the history books then Vladimir Putin, for one, would be delighted and dancing a jig in the Kremlin. No need for tanks in the UK when you have the SNP to do your work.

Dr Bruce Halliday, Dumfries.


BEING of a certain age, I can clearly recall the days and weeks preceding the declaration of the Second World War, the conversations, press comments and general atmosphere. There are many points of similarity but, equally, there are several significant differences which are patently obvious to an observer of history.

For some years leading up to 1939 Hitler and the Nazis had demonstrated beyond question the overwhelming national support for his regime. Quite apart from Hitler’s well-remembered political rallies where the audience was always immense and supportive, his other achievements in Germany had gathered him and his party huge popularity. Think of the VW Beetle, the autobahns, the Hitler Youth and other similar organisations. As well as having a nation totally behind him, Hitler was surrounded by his many loyal henchmen all bedecked in spectacular military uniforms.

In contrast, however, in Russia at present we have a solitary little man sitting alone in a huge room with unknown support and the few obvious lieutenants backing his ideas out of sight as he announces his plans to the world: apparently, all his own ideas created with many distortions and falsehoods. The national support for war is unknown.

Vladimir Putin could be destroyed and the crisis probably ended with a single bullet, whereas destroying Hitler would only have killed one person and there were many who would have taken up the reins thereafter and carried on his work.

Nigel Dewar Gibb, Glasgow.

Read more: We have to stand up to the Russian mafia state

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