Ukraine-Russia crisis: Edinburgh's twin city Kiev may soon see slaughter and death for Vladimir Putin's vainglory – Scotsman comment

The idea of twinning towns and cities with others in far-away countries began soon after the end of the Second World War.

Vladimir Putin is a killer without an ounce of human compassion (Picture: Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin is a killer without an ounce of human compassion (Picture: Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

The movement’s supporters “vowed that Europe should never again be torn apart by war”, according to the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, and most of these new bonds of friendship were forged between places that had, until recently, been on different sides of that appalling conflict.

Over the years, the number of connections has increased dramatically and Edinburgh and Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, became twins in 1989.

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So, when considering the prospect of an invasion by Vladimir Putin’s forces – still massed on the borders of Ukraine despite the Kremlin’s claims they were being withdrawn – it is perhaps instructive to think that, but for fortunate geography, Edinburgh and Scotland could have been facing a similar threat.

At almost a moment’s notice, Russian tanks and troops, backed by artillery, missiles and warplanes, could be pouring over the border into a democratic country that has already been ripped apart by Putin’s aggression.

In a video posted on social media, the UK Ministry of Defence stated the obvious consequence of a Russian invasion – that “a considerable number of civilians will die”.

Those people should have the right to live in peace, just as we in Scotland do, and yet they face the very real risk of being slaughtered by Putin’s vast war machine because of his vainglorious desire to further entrench his power.

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And the threat alone continues to do significant damage to Ukraine’s economy as foreign citizens flee and overseas investors understandably shy away.

There is a theory that Russia will not invade during the Winter Olympics as a favour to its ally China, so its despotic leaders can continue to bask in the good public relations that the Games provide. Such are the callous calculations of heartless tyrants.

We will find out in the next few days or weeks whether Putin does intend to invade or if he is content simply to cold-heartedly tease about launching an utterly unjustified war of aggression and the appalling loss of life that this would necessarily involve.

This is a man without an ounce of human compassion, a killer toying with his potential victims and, apparently, enjoying himself.

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