- 30 Dec 22
"As 2022 turned ever more nightmarish, there was Russian disinformation, cyberattacks and underwater sabotage, most spectacularly on the Nord Stream gas pipeline."
This wasn’t meant to be a war. Rather, it was a “special military operation”: a brief, surgical invasion that would instal a compliant puppet Government in Kyiv.
Putin talked bizarrely of “de-Nazifying Ukraine”. What he meant was to crush the Ukrainian people, assassinate their political leaders and break their spirit.
We still don’t fully know what warped vision entailed. An inflated dream of Great Russia, stretching from the Black Sea to the Pacific? A renewal of the Romanov empire or of the USSR? Or was it part of an even bigger campaign to attack democracy and undermine the European Union?
Whatever, it has gone very badly.
Europe is more united now than before the invasion. And NATO has been re-energised.
The west decided to support Ukraine, with all the consequences that might follow.
They had to. If Putin had been allowed a free conquest of Ukraine, he’d have followed on by annexing Moldova and probably Georgia and then the Baltic States; by intimidating and subverting Finland, Poland and Hungary; by holding the world to ransom over grain and oil supplies; and dominating the Black Sea.
So, early on they hit Russia’s oligarchy with sanctions, Putin and family included, freezing their assets.
Meanwhile, NATO supplied equipment, tanks, missiles, defence systems. Most important of all, they gave intelligence, training and belief. And they’ve learned a lot about their own weapons, technology and preparedness as well as those of the Russians’.
As 2022 turned ever more nightmarish, there was Russian disinformation, cyberattacks and underwater sabotage, most spectacularly on the Nord Stream gas pipeline. There were dark threats reviving fears of nuclear warfare.
Cities were levelled in outrageous long-range missile attacks on civilian infrastructure. People were butchered mercilessly in Bucha, Mariupol, Kherson and elsewhere. The most appalling war crimes were committed by Russian forces.
Ten million people are displaced in Ukraine and almost 8 million Ukrainian refugees are sheltering in other European countries. The strain placed on accommodation, health and education services is immense. But there is no room for equivocation. The bottom line is that Vladimir Putin must be defeated. The sooner the better.
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 04 Dec 23