Ukraine crisis

Ian Johnstone’s letter (11 February) makes several perceptive and points about where the fault really lies in Ukraine’s crisis.

However the facile “Putin is an aggressor who must not be appeased” narrative will no doubt continue to dominate the debate in Western countries.

Part of this is likely to be an attempt to foster a general impression that the new “Minsk II” agreement signed by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, will be susceptible to failure primarily because the Russians can’t be trusted, when in fact the authorities in Kiev/Kyiv bore at least as much responsibility for the breakdown of the last ceasefire, last September/October.

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Meanwhile, all this places the onus on the French and Germans to work extremely hard to try to make this a lasting settlement.

At stake is whether constructive dialogue will once again become the defining characteristic of East-West relations, or whether the current “Cold War Redux” situation will become ever more entrenched.

“We pledged to monitor the implementation,” said Angela Merkel at the conclusion of the recent negotiations.

“I assume that this will also be necessary.”

A very safe assumption.

James Bruce

Church Street