Ukraine. Hot air comes very expensive

Uncle Koba works on his death lists while Beria, Stalin's executioner plays with his daughter

Stirring scenes in the House of Commons today where MPs today gave the Ukrainian ambassador a standing ovation. Some even wore Ukrainian ribbons. But Ukraine is being pulverized. Boris Johnson is now claiming that the noose is ‘being tightened round Putin’s neck’. But the only noose being tightened is around the cities of Ukraine, where thousands of civilians are now being killed indiscriminately. Hot air comes cheap. 

Our Defence Secretary is comforted that the Russian invasion has not gone to plan, and Ukrainians are still resisting. More sanctions are being ‘drawn up’. RT broadcasts are now blocked. There is talk of war crimes. Russia has even been expelled from the Eurovision song contest.

But John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN had it right. Putin is a hard man on a mission. He won’t be stopped by a bit of economic hardship, or casualties, or collateral damage. If we’d thrown everything at Putin in the beginning, and frozen Russian energy exports, we might have stopped him. Instead, we engaged in symbolic gestures that would minimise harm to ourselves. All we have achieved now is to back an embittered Putin into a corner. Nothing could be more dangerous.   

Meanwhile, Putin supporters and beneficiaries living it up in London (when they are not living it up in New York, Paris, or Monaco), their children educated at our top private schools, their assets hidden in the British Virgin Islands, have little to fear. For Johnson has said we should not blame the children for ‘the sins of their fathers’.

As for silencing RT, the voice of the Kremlin, what do we hope to achieve? I thought it was telling that in recent days, coverage on RT of the Russian assault on Ukrainian cities ceased altogether. Footage of rockets slamming into blocks of flats in Ukrainian cities was obviously judged counterproductive. Even Russian viewers fed on state media could have detected something was amiss. Instead, coverage centred almost entirely on the Donbas and alleged Ukrainian atrocities.

Russian propaganda? Some of it, no doubt. But a striking theme of these reports is (or was) the constant reference to Azov battalions. Anyone dependent on Western mainstream media would be none the wiser. But a quick search on Google is sufficient to reveal that these neo-Nazi ultra-nationalist paramilitary bands have been at work in the Eastern Ukraine since 2014, that they have indeed been accused of atrocities (not just by the Russians), that they form part of the Ukrainian National Guard, and their logo features the zigzag SS Wolfsangel symbol. It seems that the Russians have a legitimate grievance after all.  

None of this can possibly excuse the indiscriminate slaughter of Ukrainian civilians, or indeed of Russian conscripts told they would be welcomed as liberators. But then if Russian interests and grievances had been taken seriously by the West in the first place, we would never have got to this perilous position.  

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35 Comments on Ukraine. Hot air comes very expensive

  1. I can see this discussion has gotten a bit heated. I’m from Norway. And from the outside looking in, let me just make a few observations.

    Let’s just be honest, and admit that RT is not so bad. It’s mostly fact based reporting, with some Russian slant. When you actually dig into their articles, 90% of what they publish is true. For example, they cover the protests, the arrest of protestors in RU, they criticize Putin & the establishment (when he deserves it). But of course, RT also criticizes the cultural degeneracy of the west, the contradictions in foreign policy, and so forth.

    On the other hand, Sputnik is garbage. So is pravda, which still has communist roots. The people who read Pravda in Russia are mostly older folks who still hope communism will return.

    In the U.K., let’s be honest with ourselves again and just admit that the publications are terribly partisan. Reuters used to be reliable, and it’s financial news is still accurate, but the rest of it is garbage propaganda. BBC and Guardian are a joke. They published an article just a few days ago, or maybe a week ago, that showed Zelensky in military gear. They claimed he was “fighting alongside his troops”. That is nonsense. The photo was taken three years ago. The U.S. says they don’t have chemical weapons, then when they are pressed they say, well sort of, and then try to define the labs as “research facilities”. There is SOOOOOO MUCCCH untruth, and twisting of words these days.

    I think it’s good to read newspapers from many different countries, just to get different views.

    In my view, the U.K. is also looking more like the old soviet union than a country that values individual liberty.

    For example, Nigel Huddleston just recently demanded that Daniel Medvedev denounce RU or he wouldn’t be permitted to play tennis at Wimbledon. Conservatives should not support this type of radicalism. Coercion and silencing people who disagree should never be permitted. Huddleston should resign in disgrace. I don’t think the people in U.K. want to live under a CCP style of governance, where your speech is coerced do they?

    I think people like Huddleston need to sit the game out

    like way out.

  2. It takes two to make a quarrel, but one of them may have a much stronger case.
    Truth is an early casualty in war.
    I am concerned about the reported influence of Duginism on Putin’s war machine, and may comment on this @ The Gatestone Institute website.
    Two newspaper articles today 15 March 2022 are worth reading: (1) Keith Gessen, “Was Putin’s war in Ukraine inevitable,” The Guardian; and (2) Mark Galeotti, “How a deal to end the bloodshed might look,” Daily Mail.
    Remember that 2022 is not 1938. Germany was a Volk ohne Raum, whereas Russia is a vast land without enough people.

  3. ”if Russian interests and grievances had been taken seriously by the West in the first place, we would never have got to this perilous position.”

    Sorry, but that is nonsense. Russia (Putin) does not have any legitimate grievances in this dispute. Russia invades Ukraine and seizes Crimea and parts of the Donbass and we are supposed to have ‘forced Putin into a corner’ forcing him to invade the rest of Ukraine, by doing what exactly? the purely minimal sanctions that you mention? The MINIMAL sanctions that you acknowledge meant nothing. Stop with the false moral equivalence.

  4. No sooner than I begin to have second thoughts about a settlement based on the riverine partition of Ukraine than it re-appears as the Letter of the Week in “The New Statesman” (11 March) from energy-supply expert Sir Andrew Cook CBE.

  5. ‘Who Lost Russia?’ used to be a legitimate question asked of our failure to wrap Russia up – as we could have – in a post Cold War settlement. The sins of the 90s continued on by a belligerent NATO and childlike EU, have come back to bite us all in the posterior and especially the fall guy, Ukraine.

    • It’s one take on Putin, Mr.Editor, interesting, not much new stuff, plenty of speculative slicing of things linked to the man, there are others, it runs for close to two hours, Baron read some 15 minutes of it, found a number of instances that do not reflect the reality of the life in the USSR when young Putin was wearing short trousers and in his teenage years here’s one, MG says that wristwatches were a rare thing, cannot explain how young Putin in his teenage years could afford one, it may have been his father’s watch bla, bla.

      This is nonsense, wristwatches were available in many a style, were not expensive, everyone could afford one, the only problem was the supply of them, one had to make sure to get to the shop when a shipment arrived, or knew a shopkeeper that would keep one under the counter, but acquiring one didn’t cost a fortune. It was the same with jewellery, not that well designed but cheap, and that included things made of gold.

    • Agreed. Whatever the truth of Russia’s grievances, we must never forget that Putin has never forgiven the West for ending the Soviet Union, that magnificent example to the human race of how we might all live together in peace and prosperity and without fear. Now is his opportunity to recreate that dream.

    • 2022 Russia is not 1985 Russia.
      The people in Russia, sadly, have more freedom than we do.
      It’s not “admiration”, to state the obvious:
      1. Russia is a democracy using capitalism as their mode of production. The days of communism are gone.
      2. Russia is corrupt. Putin is corrupt. Do you know who else is corrupt? Our own country! Putin cancels people he doesn’t like. Do you know who else cancel’s people? The UK (and most of the west, although at least the conservatives in the US are fighting hard to end it).
      3. We cannot wave a flag of virtue, when we have our own problems. The UK is a cesspool of corruption. We have no freedom. We have no right to talk about the morality of Ukraine.
      4. The bombings in Donbass occured. We are told it’s a false flag, but where is the evidence of false flag? It’s not acceptable to call people “putin admires” simply because they ask why the hell Donbass is being bombed every day. Asking questions like: “WTF is kiev doing” is not “standing up for putin” or “admiring putin”.

      This cold war mentality where Russia = bad is getting pretty old. Yes, many times Putin is a thug. But I want answers as to why Donbass is bombed for 2000 days, why people call it a “false flag” without any evidence, and why the hell we should send our boys over there to die. For what? For freedom?

      yeah, let me know when we have freedom here. Let’s fight for our freedom first. then we can talk about fighting for Ukraine.

      • Good points, Gerald.

        The West has been telling lies, half-truths and deceptions for decades, if anything it’s getting worse, its policymaking has been rooted in such lies, half-truths …., hence the decline, it’s not only on Russia, the constant portraying of the country as an arch villain, it’s on virtually every issue that matters (say) covid, we were lied the pathogen was exceedingly deadly hence the lockdowns, masks, vaccinations and stuff, then come Feb22, he day of the Ukraine invasion and the virus is no more, the same on other issues.

        The Bolsheviks used to follow the lies, half-truths, deceptions approach, imploded, unless we cease to ape them as we’ve done till now, we will implode also. .

    • What does an evil guy that ran the ghastly NKVD outfit for the Georgian thug has to do with Putin and today’s Russia?

      Konrad Adenauer hired 400 top Na*i administrators to help him to run post-war Germany (you aware of it?), all of the top German scientists the Americans pinched after WW2 were card carrying NSDAP members, recently a Czech General Peter Pavel, a communist party member when the country was a vassal of the Kremlin, joined military intelligence two years before the Bolshevik menace collapsed in 1990, was the second in command at NATO – check it all out.

      And why not, not one of the examples (there are others) bothers Baron, not everyone that lived in the Bolshevik nightmare was a believer in it, the most able that wanted to make a career joined both the party also the security services because the former was a must for an important post, the latter was the only reasonably well functioning institution in the Bolshevik regimes throughout the Kremlin Empire, all the other institutions including lawmaking, foreign service and the rest were impotent, bureaucratic and inefficient.

      Putin’s an autocrat supreme, but an enlightened one, you compare Russia in the ten years of Boris’s rule assisted with 250 US advisors with that of Putin’s tenure, can you see any difference?

      One doesn’t have to either admire or back him (Baron doesn’t) but one shouldn’t pretend he did badly for the Russian unwashed, the invasion is his moment of madness, he may yet pay for it, but had it not been for the American meddling in things Ukrainian the invasion wouldn’t have happened, the meddling was logical if one reads the Wolfowitz Doctrine, still in force, you may like to dust the doctrine off, educate yourself rather than asking others to seek education.

      Could you please have a look at the link, come back tell everyone where you think does Jimmy Dore err?

  6. We hear a lot about Russia’s legitimate security interests. We hear nothing about the legitimate security interests of Ukraine and indeed the other countries bordering Russia and its satellite Belarus, Russia has interfered militarily in bordering countries, Ukraine hasn’t.

    One of these countries has been Ukraine, where Russia has fostered the hostilities in the East, Its military has been actively engaged in that conflict, under cover. Perhaps there have been atrocities there. There have been alleged atrocities in Northern Ireland. Does that give the Irish Republic the right to send in military personnel posing as IRA ? In any case nothing that Ukrainian far right elements have done in that area matches the atrocities Russia is perpetrating right now in Ukraine. Russia isn’t opposed to atrocity. Just other people’s.

    The truth is that Russia has nothing to fear from Ukraine becoming a NATO nation. It is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons which it is not slow to threaten the West with. There is no chance that the West would initiate hostilities against Russia. In any case, Russia is already bordered effectively by NATO Nations; Poland and the Baltic countries,

    No, Putin’s objections to Ukraine’s NATO membership is that it would stop the effective annexation of the country, as it is in the process of doing now. It stirred up trouble in the East as a route to annex it. Protecting its co ethnics is just an excuse to achieve that end and, quite likely now, the whole of Ukraine.

    • Colin, two comments if I may:
      the Northern Irish authorities were never accused – even by their worst enemies – of atrocities. And the Irish government never ‘sent in military personnel posing as IRA’.

  7. “Meanwhile, Putin supporters and beneficiaries living it up in London…”

    Are they Putin supporters?
    From my recollections, at the collapse of the USSR one of the first actions of the West was to allow the Financial Sector to cosy up to former Soviet Apparatchiks & Nomenklatura who were using their old posts to asset strip the country, offering investment opportunities in the West.

    These “investment opportunities” included what were, effectively, money laundering services which robbed the Russian People of the funds needed to rebuild their country.

    When Putin came to power I seem to remember one of his platforms was an anticorruption campaign which caused the carpet baggers to flee Westwards where they and their wealth were welcomed with open arms. Therefore I view recent calls for the assets of the Russian Oligarchs in the West to be frozen with a certain ironic tinge.

    In closing, i will also add that people seem to have forgotten about the revelations of Hunter Biden’s laptop on how the person now President of the USA was suborned by the Ukrainian Government with, I believe, the US Taxpayer’s own money!

  8. “But the only noose being tightened is around the cities of Ukraine, where thousands of civilians are now being killed indiscriminately. Hot air comes cheap. ”

    — But where is the evidence of “indiscriminate killing”. Russia sent out numerous advanced notices, in which they kindly asked civilians to leave the area. Indeed, this can be heard in several local broadcasts. Ukranians have also reported being asked to leave.

    Additionally, some civilians are “fighting” alongside the regular militia. This is like saying that the UK was guilty of killing American civilians as they shot rifles during the revolutionary war from the trees. A “civilian” with a weapon is no longer a civilian. A “civilian” hanging around troops – even unarmed – is no longer a civilian.

    • Sarah if my memory serves has an Edinburgh university address email. Also a large number of IP addresses, now how could that be.? Maybe she would like our readers to know more about her?

      • I’m happy to comment on this.

        I did graduate from Edinburgh many years ago. In fact, I have two degrees from Edinburgh.

        1. The email I use is fake.
        2. I also use TOR, which explains why my IP address is always unique).

        Why? Sadly, because of people like you!

        Ten years ago, I would have been shocked. But today, I am not surprised that you took the time look up my IP address and mention my affiliation with Edinburgh in the comment section; presumably in an effort to intimidate me, and presumably because I asked for evidence. TOR, and fake email, ensures that the orwellian MI6 will not be arriving at my doorstep because some angry editor wants to “hunt me down”.

        But instead of focusing on emails and ip addresses, why not focus on the substance.

        You sent this link:

        You seem to be attacking a strong man. We all know of the past atrocities in Ukraine. And we all know how dangerous the centralization of power can be. But that past atrocity has nothing to do with this particular war, and more importantly, it has nothing to do with my question.

        You state: “But the only noose being tightened is around the cities of Ukraine, where thousands of civilians are now being killed indiscriminately. Hot air comes cheap. ”

        Okay, great. Bold statement.

        But I ask you again. Where is the evidence of indiscriminate killing? Is the evidence from the teli? From BBC, the guardian, CNN, Fox, Sky? Precisely, where did you get this information? Because those sources don’t agree with sources on the ground, or other global outlets.

        Almost every other world outlet — including the Ukrainian bloggers and YouTubers who, incidentally, are actually there — say Russia provided advanced notice. Here is just one of many:

        There are also countless videos of Ukrainian civilians – and now presumably foreigners – fighting alongside the militia. Many of these militia groups are near schools, residential buildings, etc.

        Surely, any rational person can understand that civilians bearing weapons are not really civilians! How about those innocent civilians not bearing weapons. Sure, let’s discuss them.

        When the United States bombed Japan in WW2 the air force dropped thousands of flyers. Some left, but tens of thousands did not. Was the U.S. guilty of war crimes, or did the U.S. — given the situation — do their best considering they were at war! I believe most of us would agree that the latter is true.

        If true, then you cannot hold one party to one standard, then hold another party to a completely different standard.

        Russia provided advanced notice, which is all one can do in war. So I am sorry to upset you, but based on the totality of reports coming from direct sources, this particular statement is simply false.

    • If only the ten million or so civilians inhabiting the major Ukrainian cities had all quietly left their homes, the Russians could have reduced their cities to rubble and there would have been no problem. How thoughtless of them.

      • You could say the same about Iraq, Libya, Syria …., Mike, it seems recalcitrant civilians are world over, but it often happens the invader reduces the cities to rubble with the civilians in (say) Belgrade or Falluhaj, the result isn’t pretty.

      • ‘Your History’? Don’t you get it yet Mr. Editorial? There is no history anymore. There’s your truth and my truth but no such thing as objective truth. Without objective truth all that’s left is subjective truth which is just another way of saying ‘might is right’. Right or wrong Putin is prepared to use his might. The West quite clearly isn’t – thankfully. There is a world of difference between admiration for Putin and having respect for one’s enemies. Vilifying Sarah and instigating public shaming is a tactic of left wing socialist identify politics – something the SR should aspire to rise above not stoop to.

        • I thought ‘No objective truth’ is what post-Marxists believe. Try the Guardian instead. Never mind. Let’s just agree that Sarah (sic’s) voice of the Kremlin position is disgraceful when 50,000 are fleeing Kiev daily on packed trains. But equally, madness to close down RT because the Russians have merely retaliated leaving young Russians who care about the truth with no alternative news sources.

          • Have you ever tried to get the true reason why these people are fleeing, Harry?

            It’s no so much because they fear the Russians, many are related to families in Russia, it’s because they have once in a lifetime chance to get to a world certainly better than the one they’ve inhabited till now, and by far better still from the one they can expect to emerge after the shooting stops whoever wins. Between 1992 and 2021 over 11mn Ukrainians left seeking jobs outside the country, some 2.7mn have permanent employment, the rest are temporary jobs.

            Ukraine was a basket case before the invasion, she will be just a case without the basket after it.

  9. Disgraceful media accounts of plucky Ukrainians throwing molotov cocktails at Russian tanks may appeal to Channel 4 sensibilities; but it does nothing for the safety and future of most Ukrainians who need a sttlement and a functioning built environment to return to – whoops, too late.

    • Did they not have eight years to negotiate a cease fire?
      Why did they violate the Minsk agreement?

      I’m amazed that conservatives feel any sympathy towards Zelensky. This is not about democracy. If it were, Zelensky would not have violated Donbass’s right to autonomy. This is about money and power. And quite frankly, if you care about Ukrainian stability, then you ought to want an end to the Donbass conflict.

      I don’t think Russia should be involved. But virtue signaling your love via a pin, and screaming “international rights’ while refusing to recognize any of the facts, is delusional. Delusion is not patriotic.

      • I think conservative sympathy is aroused by something elemental. It is called patriotism, the desire to defend your homeland. Churchill was quite keen on it. ‘We shall fight them on the beaches … whatever the cost may be.’ How many of our woke elite would be manning the barricades?

    • Don Beech. Yes, except that on that argument, the British should have made peace with the Germans in 1940 to save the bombing of London.

      • Difficult to say it today, though Peter Hitchens came close in a recent book, but there was a case at the time not to make a – spurious – agreement with Poland and then to declare war without sufficient island defences in place. As it then stood, the German case for reunification with Danzig was in itself reasonable, even more than the Russian claim to Crimea. The sinister role of the USSR 1939-41 is still often overlooked.
        Britain bombed Germany from 10 May 1940 onwards and Berlin on 25 August, soon adopting area bombardment of civilian targets. I myself was a “Blitz Baby”, an uncle was bombed out, our front door was blown in, my father was ARP volunteer, and a cousin was shot down in a raid over Germany; all of them had previously been opposed to a war with Germany, but after it was declared rallied patriotically to Churchill, unaware of his wish that the people should “choke in their own blood” rather than ever negotiate with Hitler.
        There are some similarities between Hitler and Putin, but contrary to Norman Baker and Dominic Lawson, “echoes” from the 1930s are no guide to the present geopolitical and technological realities.