Anglo-Russian relations


A chara, – The British ambassador categorically states that “the Russian state is guilty of attempted murder in a British city” (March 22nd).

But nowhere does the ambassador give us any evidence that the nerve agent used was manufactured in Russia.

Is that because Britain’s own nerve agent scientists at Porton Down (just eight miles from Salisbury) refused to endorse such a claim, only being willing to state that it was of a type originally developed by Russian scientists?

Further, the ambassador gives us no explanation why Britain has refused to give any samples of the nerve agent found to Russia for analysis or even to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the independent international agency which exists to stop chemical warfare. Why?

The ambassador then proceeds to list supposed crimes of the Russian state, such as allowing the Russian majority in Crimea to reunite with Russia and so on.

Finally he piously hopes that Ireland will not suffer such an attack, implying that Russia is a threat to us despite producing no evidence at all that Russia acted in any reprehensible way in Britain.

If the ambassador is really concerned about this outrage, he might investigate nearer home, especially among the feuding Russian oligarchs now living in Britain and who have contributed largely to Conservative Party funds. – Is mise,


Baile Átha Cliath 22.

Sir, – Donald Trump once said something extraordinary when he claimed that the US intelligence services spread fake information and compared this alleged practice of theirs to something Nazi Germany would have done. Now Boris Johnson compares Vladimir Putin to Hitler in how Mr Putin’s corrupt regime will gain unjustified credit from the World Cup soccer tournament that’s going to be held in Russia in a similar way to how Hitler and his repressive government was placed in a good light from staging the 1936 Munich Olympic Games.

But if comparing Hitler to everyone they oppose starts to take hold among most politicians, whether justified or not, then the voting public may not be sure who is telling the truth about what our politicians are supposed to be, and whether they are honest or dishonest.

How long will it be before some populist politician, whether in government or in opposition, starts to call all those critical of him as being like Hitler just to enable him to distract from his own fascist leanings? Could politicians on opposite sides of the chamber of the House of Commons eventually begin to attempt to slander each other with mutual Hitler name-calling? One starting, and then another feeling obliged respond back the same way, or even worse.

Russia once fought a long and costly patriotic war to defeat Hitler so President Putin might well get away to his benefit in Russia with calling western European leaders of today as being like Hitler. He might well get away with this strong claim to some degree also in other countries too.

Such name-calling could bring about the lowering of political discourse and lead to the detriment of the important reputation of functioning democratic nations like Britain and Ireland. – Yours, etc,



Co Clare.

Sir, – The threat, as stated most recently by the British ambassador on The Irish Times letters page, posed by Russia is overstated, but does serve as a useful distraction for the British ruling party from the absolute mess of the Brexit negotiations. For the first time since the referendum, the British press is talking about something else.

Russia has a GDP somewhere around that of Italy. It is not an existential threat to the EU. It is the ultra-Brexiteers who are trying to achieve that, and who hoped that their referendum result might just precipitate it.

Meanwhile attempts to secure the high moral ground with the attempted murder of two former Russian citizens in Salisbury, quite likely by Russian-connected agents, look rather thin, when every time a new edition of the Spotlight program on BBC Northern Ireland is aired it seems to reveal British secret service involvement in the murder of British and Irish citizens. Obviously the British government and its agents are not against such killing in principle, only when politically expedient.

As Easter approaches, the ambassador might like to ponder the parable of the beams and the motes.

And he should spare a prayer for the English soccer hooligans making their way to Russia for the World Cup, where they will meet Russia’s soccer hooligans, who have been preparing for this for years. Anglo-Russian relations will not be improving any time soon. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.