Bearing up

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There doesn’t necessarily have to be a “new Cold War” between East and West as “Crimea officially annexed” (your report, 22 March). Realistically, Russia’s military and economic power is based on oil and gas and isn’t without limitation. It would be counterproductive if Russia were to cut supplies of oil and gas to Europe. Aren’t energy markets, especially oil markets, far more symmetrical than some leaders may suppose? European Union countries depend on Russian supplies, but Russia relies on dollar earnings from its energy exports.

Shouldn’t diplomacy be geared to finding a rapprochement between Russia and western Europe rather than confrontation? Didn’t Russian president Vladimir Putin in Berlin a year or two ago argue that the EU should “associate its capacities with those of Russia”? Arguably, with hindsight, an eastwards push of the EU and Nato has led ineluctably to awakening the latent nationalism of the “Russian bear”.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk

Inverurie, Aberdeenshire

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