The Ukraine-Russia crisis

 

Sir, – Gabriel Curtis (Letters, January 26th) asks if we are aware of the “silence of supporters of the left to Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine”. As a “supporter of the left”, I wasn’t aware I was compelled to voice my opinion but in order to fill the apparent void I would say that anybody that espouses freedom of expression, social democracy and social justice, which real supporters of the left should do, could not in any way align themselves with anything Vladimir Putin does. In addition, the real tragedy here is that faced with the existential threat of the climate and biodiversity crisis, and rising global social inequality, the last thing the human race needs now is an ideological war about which power can militarily dominate eastern Europe. – Yours, etc,

BARRY WALSH,

Blackrock,

Cork.

Sir, – Just when we thought it was safe to get into the water, the Russians turn up. – Yours, etc,

JOHNNY FOX,

Galway.

Sir, – How many of the apologists for Vladimir Putin who have been excusing Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine have thought to compare it to the situation between Britain and Ireland?

Many people dismiss the independence of Ukraine as a historical anomaly and claim its reoccupation is no great crisis because for far longer centuries beforehand it was the integral possession of its greater neighbour – exactly the same is true of Ireland. As the larger and nuclear-armed nation, the UK has an inherent right to a “sphere of influence” over its bordering states just as how we are told that Russia does over eastern Europe. The UK claims that Ireland’s membership of the EU is hostile to it and part of Europe’s own geopolitical games, just as Russia claims that its security is threatened by the expansion of Nato and its “geopolitical brinkmanship”, as the letter from the “Irish Anti-War Movement” describes it (January 26th).

If Russia has permission to invade Ukraine, or to control Ukraine’s government affiliations from abroad, then the UK has every right to reannex Ireland too, or at least force it out of the EU.

Of course, Britain has no intention of doing such a thing, and nor should the people of Ireland callously and hypocritically dismiss Ukraine to such a fate. – Yours, etc,

ROBERT FRAZER,

Salford,

Lancashire, UK.

Sir, – The Irish Anti-War Movement sets out to engender a moral equivalence between the democratic nations of Nato, who have chosen to ally together, and the sleazy ethno-nationalist quasi-dictatorship that is Vladimir Putin’s Russian Federation. It criticises Nato enlargement into eastern European countries but fails to ask why so many countries want to join Nato. If you go there and ask the people, you’ll get one very common answer: Russia. – Yours, etc,

PAUL WILLIAMS,

Kilkee,

Co Clare.

Sir, – I’m reminded of the political joke circulating in Czechoslovakia after the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968 designed to crush the country’s growing democratic movement. “Why are the Russians here in our country?” “They were invited!” “Why don’t they go home?” “They can’t find the person who invited them.” – Yours, etc,

TOM CLEARY,

Sandycove,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Some Irish trawlers are planning to protest Russian live-fire exercises off Ireland by fishing in the locality. If I was a fisherman, I’d be working from home that day. – Yours, etc,

DAVID CURRAN,

Knocknacarra,

Galway.

Sir, - For a country that was occupied for eight centuries, it is baffling why two political parties who have both been in government since the foundation of the State a century ago are content to leave the country without any defences and allies.

A tenet of neutrality is that you can defend it, otherwise it doesn’t exist. We can’t, therefore our so-called neutrality is a sham, and Russia knows it. The people of Ireland deserve to know what our Government is going to do to address our lack of defences or allies. – Yours, etc,

JASON FITZHARRIS,

Swords,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Our inability to monitor our seas, now exposed by the upcoming Russian naval exercises, prompts the question, are we a sovereign nation in name only? Apart from Mauritius and Costa Rica, our defence spending of €1 billion, as a proportion of GDP, is the lowest in the world.

Other countries such as Denmark, with a similar GDP to ours, allocate €5 billion annually to protect their citizens.

How can we even consider asking others to join a united Ireland when we cannot adequately defend our own borders? – Is mise,

Dr PETER VAUGHAN,

Kilkenny.

Sir, – Sending a flotilla of “little boats” in the form of our fishing fleet is a sad indictment of our State’s neglect of our Defence Forces and its inability to protect our national interests. At least Iceland was somewhat successful in its cod war. We only have a cod response. – Yours, etc,

JOHN K ROGERS,

Rathowen,

Co Westmeath.