Ancient Greece and Ukraine

Sir, – Ancient Greece might be able to tell us something about Russia's invasion of Ukraine but only if we know something about both Ancient Greece and Russia and Ukraine (John Dillon, "What Ancient Greece teaches us about war in Ukraine", Opinion & Analysis, 12 May).

I am sure that Professor Dillon knows a great deal about Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War but his knowledge of Ukraine is somewhat lacking. Petr Poroshenko did not “assume” the presidency of Ukraine. Mr Poroshenko was elected to the office of president in May 2014 after the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych in February of that year. Mr Poroshenko’s election could not have been “the last straw” for Vladimir Putin leading to his “reclaiming of Crimea for Russia, and ultimately to the present situation” because Mr Putin breached numerous international treaties to illegally annex Crimea in February and March 2014.

Prof Dillon’s assertion that Poroshenko “promised the Russian naval base in Crimea to Nato if Ukraine were allowed to join” before Mr Putin ordered the annexation of Crimea seems to be a fact known only to Prof Dillon.

I can find no other mention of this “promise” anywhere, even in Russian propaganda material.

Prof Dillon’s claim is at odds with what was said during the presidential election campaign that followed the annexation of Crimea. Mr Poroshenko argued that Ukraine was not ready to join Nato and should not join it during the campaign and for some time after his election. – Yours, etc,


Department of Politics

and Public Administration,

University of Limerick.