Putin doesn’t care how many Russians are killed | Letters
The problem with Russia suffering “colossal losses” (Moscow confirms attack on kyiv during UN chief’s visit on April 29) is that it really doesn’t matter to its leaders. One need only look back to historic campaigns involving Russia and its satellites to see that one of its main tactics is to keep throwing men (and women) into battle until the other side s out of breath.
A comparison between the Allied (British, American and French) World War II cemeteries in what was West Berlin and the Soviet war memorial at Treptower Park in former East Berlin shows the difference in attitude to regard to the value of human life: on the one hand lovingly cared for individual graves, each with its own cross; on the other, a vast arena where the statue of a Russian soldier holds a child aloft and tramples the symbol of Nazism, opposite the statue of Mother Russia. Between them are nameless sarcophagi, each containing an untold amount of unnamed bodies.
Western rhetoric will not discourage Vladimir Putin, who is a master at this art; our politicians must find an effective check on its ambitions in order to prevent further attacks on its part.
I was relieved to read your editorial (April 29) explicitly addressing the risks of escalating war in Ukraine. I have been alarmed by the increasingly belligerent rhetoric of our government, politicians and press commentators, which has drifted towards war between NATO and Russia, without any reflection on the risks raised by a conflict between nuclear powers.
Having lived through much of the Cold War, I am amazed and terrified by the apparent indifference to the risks of this crisis; where alarm bells should be ringing loudly, nuclear escalation is barely mentioned, although nuclear Armageddon is a foreseeable consequence. While the priority should be the search for a negotiated solution to the conflict involving unpleasant compromises, all the rhetoric has been one of victory and defeat. Unless that changes, the risks will only steadily increase.
Another brilliant play by Simon Jenkins (Liz Truss recklessly risks inflaming the Ukrainian war to serve her own ambition, April 28). With a Prime Minister pretending to be Winston Churchill and a Foreign Secretary pretending to be Margaret Thatcher, we risk seeing a warlike fantasy turn into a bloody reality. Putin is dangerous, but the best response to danger is rationality, not grandiose promises. Putin needs a way out. A joint Russian-NATO endeavor to guarantee the neutrality of Ukraine (and other nations) should have been on the table to avert invasion, but it could still be a way to offer Putin a basis for peace. He would no doubt claim that was the fulfillment of his show of force, but maintaining sovereignty would be the real benefit. The endgame should be a deal, not mutually assured destruction.
Neal Ascherson’s condemnation of Liz Truss’ dangerous rhetoric is clear and welcome (Letters, April 28). It is based on a deep understanding of the countries and peoples who live near or around the Black Sea. His call to put Truss back “in his cage” should be extended to Boris Johnson and Ben Wallace, who dangerously present the conflict as a solution and themselves as “leaders”.
Many international lawyers argue that NATO is an illegal organization since it is a political and military alliance, not exclusively focused on peace and security, despite having signed article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter prohibiting the use of force to resolve disputes. Liz Truss ignores her role of peace and promotes the continuation of this horrible war, rather than looking for ways to end it.