Ukraine War: West must stop Vladimir Putin building a global alliance of despots – Scotsman comment

Vladimir Putin’s planned trip to Iran next week is the latest sign of the burgeoning friendship between Moscow and Tehran, following undenied reports that the latter is planning to supply Russia with hundreds of weapons-capable drones for use in the war on Ukraine.

Isolating Vladimir Putin is key to ensuring his defeat (Picture: Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
Isolating Vladimir Putin is key to ensuring his defeat (Picture: Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

Given both are tyrannies affected by western sanctions, closer ties may seem to make perfect sense to the two regimes.

So the West now needs to respond in a way which makes clear to Iran – and any other country contemplating friendlier relations with Putin – that it will pay a high price for helping to kill innocent civilians and soldiers bravely defending their country from invasion.

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It could be that Tehran hopes to use its willingness to help Russia as a form of leverage to pressure the West into easing its sanctions and restoring the 2015 agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme, which it claims is for peaceful purposes but which many fear is designed to develop nuclear missiles. Talks between Iran and the US recently ended without any real progress after Tehran’s negotiators added new "vague demands”, according to a senior American official.

Such a strategy would be a callous game that would only highlight the depths of the Iranian regime’s contempt for human life and should not be rewarded with any concessions.

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And if it has simply decided to shun the West and embrace the murderous Putin – who sycophants in the Russian parliament have suggested should change his title from “president” to “ruler” – then the negotiations should be entirely abandoned and more serious steps, such as providing significant help to Iranian opposition groups looking to overthrow the regime, considered.

With China happy to fund Putin’s war machine by buying Russian oil and threatening to embark on a war of conquest of its own against Taiwan, there is a risk that the alliance of democracies helping Ukraine to defend itself could be countered by a growing alliance of despots.

The Free World must rally to the Ukrainian cause, and do so with more vigour than it has shown to date. But it must also do everything in its power to stop Putin from building his own international support network or this conflict could go on, not just for years, but decades.

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