Readers Letters: Not too late for West to give Ukraine real help

Garry Kasparov is right (“Let Putin win and West risks nuclear war”, 22 March). Vladimir Putin has attacked a sovereign country and the West is letting him get away with it. As soon as Putin sent his tanks into Ukraine, the West should have sent fighters and bombers to drive them back.

Chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov warned the West not to allow Putin to storm into Ukraine  (Picture: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov warned the West not to allow Putin to storm into Ukraine (Picture: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

There has been so much talk about “standing with Ukraine”, but there has been no military action to back up those fine words. The West is simply standing by, wringing its hands, while Putin's forces smash Ukraine and massacre its people.

But it is not too late to do the right thing. The whole world has seen how brutal and barbaric Putin's attack has been. Brave journalists have stayed in the very cities that the Russians are shelling and bombing in order to show the outside world how vicious and ruthless this invasion has been. Thousands of Ukrainians have been killed and millions are fleeing for their lives. Those who have stayed are being starved into submission.

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It is clear that Putin intends to subjugate Ukraine and he will slaughter his way to victory. He must be stopped. His murderous attack must not succeed. The vast majority of the members of the UN have condemned the invasion. Now the West must do its duty by its neighbour and launch a counter-attack which will crush Putin's tanks and drive his troops back to Russia.

Les Reid, Edinburgh

Be prepared

If anything, recent polls clearly demonstrate that Nicola Sturgeon and her nationalists are completely at sea when it comes to representing the views of the majority of Scottish people. The crisis in the Ukraine has clearly shown how Vladimir Putin's Russia views weakness.

The unprovoked attack on the Ukraine has a number of causes. First, Putin regards the Ukraine as Russian property, as it was an integral part of the USSR and he wants the Soviet Empire back. Second, he wants to control Ukraine's huge natural resources, from minerals to a significant percentage of world grain production and, third, he wants to use control of that vast nation to threaten and destabilise Nato.

His wish to be the dominant power in Europe requires his navy to control the north Atlantic seaways which are currently under the aegis of the UK and Nato, defended by our nuclear deterrent. The efforts of the SNP to break up the UK and to get rid of our deterrent are exactly what he wants. The realisation of this and the uncoordinated approach to the Russian threat amply demonstrated by the EU have forced various countries to act on their own, such as Poland aiming to double its defence expenditure and Germany beginning a huge expansion of their own. This underlines the crucial importance of Scotland being in the UK.

People in Scotland now see how dangerous dependence on unreliable green renewable forms of energy is and that we must use our natural resources, such as North Sea oil and gas, to provide us with assured energy. It also shows us the great danger Scottish independence would constitute.

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

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ICC and USA

Martyn McLaughlin (Perspective, 23 March) discusses the prospects of Vladimir Putin being put on trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his actions in Ukraine. He quotes US President Joe Biden's description of Putin as a “war criminal”.I very much hope that at some point in the future the trial of Putin does indeed come to pass. However, Biden's comment reeks of hypocrisy, since the United States has never recognised the ICC and denies the right of the ICC to take action against either US citizens or those of its ally Israel.Indeed President Trump instituted a programme of sanctions against the ICC for having the temerity to begin investigations into Israeli war crimes. To his credit, Biden has begun to dismantle these. But it would be an excellent opportunity for President Biden to show that he means what he says if he agreed to join the ICC and accepted its jurisdiction over all states, without exemption.

Robert Cairns, Harrietfield, Perth

Hares restored

Contrary to James Silvey’s article (“Fight continues to protect iconic mountain hares”, Friends of the Scotsman, 22 March), Scotland is fortunate to have thriving populations of mountain hares in areas of managed grouse moor.

The most recent and authoritative research found that mountain hare densities were up to 35 times greater on driven grouse moors compared to unmanaged moorland. The same study estimated the Scottish population at around 135,000 – most of which were on grouse moors at levels higher than anywhere else in Europe.

When the conservation status of mountain hares was categorised as “unfavourable”, it was largely precautionary because robust data on the species was lacking – due in no small part to the difficulties in counting the elusive creatures. However, new methodology developed by NatureScot, the James Hutton Institute and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust has revolutionised counting on grouse moors.

We understand that licences recently issued for hare culls are primarily to protect new forestry, where hares can cause significant damage to newly planted trees if no control is undertaken.

What is of most concern are the areas where mountain hares should be present in large numbers but are not, due to loss of habitat and lack of predator control. We need organisations, including RSPB, to also provide better data on what is happening on their own land, such as at Abernethy, so we can all work together to ensure the range of mountain hares does not contract any further.

Tim Baynes, Scottish Land & Estates, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Trying times

Lack of proper leadership on things that really matter or selfish single minded self-perceived leadership? Has the contagion filtered down from the minority Scottish Government to certain members of the Scotland Rugby squad and coaching team? Now some players and the coach are spinning more than passes and kicks to touch, to the detriment of the credibility of the organisation. I certainly believe that, had Jim Telfer or Vern Cotter still been involved with recent events, swift condign punishment would have been meted out to the miscreants regardless of the consequences.

The Scotland rugby team's adventures are a microcosm of the Scottish political scene, particularly the independence argument. Each year brings a new false dawn raising unrealistic expectations and harvesting variations of the same old story and disappointment.

At least the rugby team can manage the odd victory. Scotland's World Rugby ranking is the true story. That does not mean to say that we are second rate, the team can produce stellar performances which make us proud, but let's keep our rugby and political feet firmly on the ground.

Let us hope that we never reach the day when the current political powers in Scotland try to massage the rugby match reports to make better reading. Will there come a day when freedom of information requests by opposition Parties include rugby results with the now customary delays in provision of answers, redacted or otherwise?

Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh

Jesus, not God

Dr Andy Bannister of Solas (Friends of the Scotsman, 22 March) thinks we will only find real happiness in Jesus! I was never so happy as when I renounced Christianity; Christians carry the burden of unspecified sin and worry about its effects here and in the supposed afterlife. The duties of forgiveness and prayer were also burdens.In addition Dr Bannister claims that Jesus claimed to be “God himself”. Can he quote a verse that justifies that?Jesus is recorded as making it clear that he was not God (Mk 10:18). Indeed, as he believed himself to be the expected Messiah, he could not be God. The Messiah was believed to be a human, acting as viceroy of God on Earth.It was the Early Church that turned Jesus into a a divine universal saviour god. This is fully explained in my book The Rise and Fall of Jesus.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Covid call

Isn't it strange that Nicola Sturgeon hasn't found time to explain why Scotland has the highest number of Covid sufferers in the UK despite having more restrictions? I seem to remember many instances when she boasted that Scotland was doing better than the other countries. Maybe all of her time is being taken up with the Audit Scotland report on the Ferguson Marine ferries?

Jim Houston, Edinburgh

Drowned at birth

The report of the Auditor General on the Ferguson Marine saga confirms a Scottish government committee verdict of “catastrophic failure”. Surely the most damning finding is that SNP ministers went ahead in the first place, against the advice of experts.

You wonder if the awarding of the contract was more than just sheer stupidity. In 2015 Ferguson Marine stated that it was “unable to provide a full builder refund guarantee”. This was a “mandatory requirement of the contract”! Was there a breach of any legal requirements as well as commercial common sense? From there on the ministers responsible continued to dig deeper to try to get out of the hole they had put themselves in. Surely if any of them are still around they will be out on their ears. The attempt of finance secretary Kate Forbes to defend the SNP is ludicrous. Their actions saved 300 jobs, she claims. Given that the cost of “saving two lifetime vessels” could top £300 million, that works out at £1 million per job.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

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