Russian military exercises

 

Sir, – We can be thankful to Vasily Velichkin of the Russian Embassy for the assurance he has given us that the purpose of such military exercises is strictly defensive (September 23rd).

President Putin naturally wants his army to be ready in case the massed legions of some Baltic state should seek to seize territory that is indisputably Russian. If he believes there is such a risk, we can only commend his foresight (and his imagination).

On the other hand, Mother Russia is in effective possession of some outlying territories that are not indisputably hers – Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Crimea – acquired by variations of the doomsday scenarios that Mr Velichkin would have us believe “never materialised”.

Moreover, there is evidence from eastern Ukraine that such Russian expansionism by proxy is not yet at an end.

Not surprisingly Russia’s neighbours fear the worst whenever military exercises start up just across their borders. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL DRURY,

Brussels.

Sir, – It is my earnest hope that The Irish Times will heed the admonishment emanating from the Embassy of the Russian Federation about “the need for responsible and objective journalism” (September 23rd). In the event of non-compliance with this advice, I would ask the Irish Government to follow the excellent example of the government of the Russian Federation in the way that it puts such huge effort into achieving a high standard of objectivity in the media within its own jurisdiction.

The embassy might even, in its friendly way, give us the benefit of its expertise in the area of managing media comment. – Yours, etc,

JOE AHERN,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 16.