Russia's war on Ukraine: West must do whatever it can to help Ukraine turn screw on Vladimir Putin – Scotsman comment

With even Vladimir Putin’s propagandists forced to admit Russian troops are in retreat after “an onslaught by enemy forces”, the extent of the extraordinary fightback by Ukraine is now undeniable.

Ukrainian flags placed on statues in a square in Balakliya, Kharkiv region, after Russian occupying troops retreated (Picture: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian flags placed on statues in a square in Balakliya, Kharkiv region, after Russian occupying troops retreated (Picture: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images)

Given little chance of standing up to Putin’s vast war machine in February, the Ukrainians’ bravery and success in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds have demonstrated the advantage in war conferred by a just cause.

While they are fighting to preserve their democratic freedoms and defend their families from murderous occupiers who have shelled cities full of civilians into rubble, any Russian troops with a shred of decency must be asking themselves why they are being asked to kill other human beings and put their own lives at risk.

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They know they are in a war, not taking part in a “special military operation” as Putin insists on pain of imprisonment; they know they are invaders, not “liberators” as Russian state television ludicrously claims.

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And they know the Ukrainian military was able to outwit their commanders, who had shifted troops to the south to face a much-trailed attack on Kherson, only to find themselves facing an unstoppable counter-attack in the Kharkiv region in Ukraine’s north-east.

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Recent talk of a mutiny by Russian troops may be optimistic, but the seeds of a revolt have been there from the start, given the lies told to some soldiers that they were merely taking part in an exercise.

This could be a major turning point and anything the West can do – from sending more military supplies and toughening sanctions on Russia to soft-power methods to change Russian hearts and minds – must be done. Slava Ukraini!

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