The Ukraine war

President Biden was unable to offer the President of Ukraine much money when he visited Washington this week. Instead of the $60 billion the President asked Congress to approve, he made available just $200 m . The amounts the previous  Congress has approved are running out. The House elected at the mid terms with a narrow Republican majority is saying they want the President to give priority to strengthening US border defences to keep out more of the illegal migrants who turn up every day. House Republicans are cooling on more money for Ukraine anyway. They are asking for a clearer military plan of how the war will be conducted and what might be the results and timescales.

The West has been financing Ukraine on a large scale.  Total EU aid since February 2022 totals Euro 85 billion and US Euro 71 bn. There is the military aid, often given free. There is the substantial financial aid to allow the government of Ukraine to function against a background of an economy impaired by war damage, loss of territory and the massive diversion of effort to military activity. There has also been a sharp loss of people as many have sought exile elsewhere. The EU has sent most money, followed by the US, for non military purposes. The US has been the main provider of weapons. The three small Baltic states and Norway have given the largest amount relative to their GDP, as they feel the Russian threat more closely than others.

President Biden says he is still keen to help Ukraine and to encourage Ukrainian resistance to the violent invasion by Russia of Ukraine’s lands. However he may be forced to compromise over the money now he has lost control of the House, which in turn may affect his relationship with Ukraine. Meanwhile the Europeans struggle to meet the demand for weapons and ammunition from Ukraine as the conflict is using large quantities of both. The EU is also having budget disagreements of its own.

I think NATO was right not be drawn into this conflict and not to offer membership of NATO to Ukraine. Instead NATO led by the US has been willing to offer substantial assistance in the form of weapons, money, training and ammunition. NATO countries have been keen to avoid direct conflict with Russia, and have laid conditions on weapons supply that they are only to be used within Ukraine.

So today two big questions loom. What should the rest of the West do if the US political system decides against further large contributions of military equipment and money from that source? What is the strategy for winning the war and what would Ukraine need from the west?

Some will propose a negotiated solution with compromises on both sides. Mr Putin is unlikely to want to compromise ahead of his re election as he places his country on a war footing and seeks to arouse strong Russian nationalist passions. Ukraine, having done so well in resisting the invader starting with a much less powerful  military is in no mood to compromise either. What advice should the West be giving Ukraine?

149 Comments

  1. Mark B
    December 14, 2023

    Good morning.

    As we ponder Ukraine and the ongoing Israeli – Palestinian conflict, we must remember that there are other conflicts going on in the world that are not getting as much, if any, coverage. Yemen and Burma to name but two.

    But I would, if our kind host allows, to draw people’s attention to a potential conflict that, although not on our continent, let alone our borders, still has something to do with us as this is a former colony and interest of ours. I am of course referring to the matter between Guyana and Venezuela.

    Here is a potential conflict that may have ramifications. Guyana is rich in metals, minerals and oil. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is English speaking. It is a nation that has more in common with us, it being, as said, a former colony than we have with Ukraine.

    Given that this nation is under serious threat from a regime that has just locked up another load of political opponents, is the UK Government prepared to arm, train and if need be, protect this small country from having large swaths of its territory annexed ?

    Or are we just going to turn another blind eye ?

  2. Javelin
    December 14, 2023

    Congratulations to the UK for winning the bid to HQ the new Tempest fighter jet. It’s the first time we have done this since the Harrier. It’s one in the eye for the remoaners.

    Let’s hope the companies involved don’t make the same mistake as they did with the Harrier when one company used inches and the other company used millimetres in their blueprints. This time it might be different languages or software versions.

    1. Hope
      December 14, 2023

      JR,
      Has Shapps given two minesweeper war ships to Ukraine? If so how do we afford that? Our fleet is small.

      Johnson was wrong to stop an agreement made between Ukraine and Russia. UK has spent too much over something we should not be involved with. Merkel and Hollander have a lot to answer for as well regarding the false Minsk Agreement.

      UK ran away from Afghanistan after heavy loss of life, loss of limbs and spending a fortune, for what? Truss gave the Taliban £100 million of our taxes!! This was the enemy UK fought against for decades!! Ellwood saying Taliban has changed! Idiot.

      Stop wasting our taxes by the multiple billions and find out whether your idiotic govt has given away two of our war ships when it is not prepared to fight to keep N.Ireland!

      This week showed Rwanda bill does not cover N.Ireland as it is still in EU control!! What are you doing about it?

  3. Hat man
    December 14, 2023

    Sir John – You ask a question which suggests you have yet to catch up with the reality of the Ukraine situation. It’s not a matter of how Ukraine can ‘win the war’, but of how it can avoid catastrophic defeat. It cannot go on sustaining casualty levels at the present rate, does not have reserves of trained manpower, and is struggling to find conscripts in sufficient numbers. Recent reports from the war tell of a situation on the brink of collapse. Some of Kiev’s most experienced units, the 3rd and 47th brigades, have been hit so badly they are being taken out of the line. The brigades trained by NATO in offensive warfare have failed miserably in this year’s fighting.

    There are now calls from some Ukrainian military sources for a retreat to a more defensible line which would reduce the current high casualty rate. I think that would be a good first step, followed by exploratory negotiations to see what the Russians now want as a basis for talks. Ideally there should be a ceasefire while this happens. The very worst thing to do would be to encourage Kiev to continue this war of attrition which in human terms it cannot afford.

    1. Everhopeful
      December 14, 2023

      +++
      Spot on.
      So well put!

    2. Mitchel
      December 14, 2023

      Google “Intermarium” and “Boris Johnson” to see why the UK in particular wants to fight to the last Ukrainian.

      The last time this was tried saw Poland wiped off the map in 1939.

    3. mickc
      December 14, 2023

      I entirely agree. Boris Johnson’s intervention to torpedo the peace talks was catastrophic for Ukraine and its people…but not for Johnson.

    4. Lynn Atkinson
      December 15, 2023

      Vladimir Putin’s key points in his statement on relations with the West.

      📌 The normalisation of relations with the EU does not depend on us alone, it is not Russia that has spoiled relations, it is Europe that has spoiled relations with us.

      📌 We are in favour of building relations.

      📌European countries have lost their sovereignty, they make decisions to their own detriment.

      📌Orban and Fitzo are not pro-Russian politicians, they are pro-national.

      📌 The US is handicapped by its imperial policy, the elites are forced to behave this way because US failures in the international arena are perceived as failures.

      📌 We are ready to build relations with the US, the US is an important country in the international arena.

      📌 They should learn to respect other countries and seek compromise rather than force and sanctions.

      Reply I will allow statements of the Russian view but do not post Russian negative propaganda on Ukraine

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        December 15, 2023

        May I propose Ukrainian reports on the Ukrainian war?

      2. Lynn Atkinson
        December 15, 2023

        Putin has done his 4 hours Q&A session with the worlds Press. No Questions are submitted before the session. I have watched this for about a decade now. I believe that only Ross and/or Norris McWhirter would have been able to manage something similar.
        You should watch. It’s instructive and gives an insight into the Orthodox Christian, monetarist economist who is also a lawyer. You don’t have the like the man. But you will respect him.

  4. Javelin
    December 14, 2023

    Less than 1% of territory has changed hands in a year. The territory has been fought to a standstill. Ethically the Ukrainians are right to demand their territory back but you can’t just keep trading lives for land forever.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 14, 2023

      Putin has said ‘they have not started fighting yet’. They have just used the Kursk tactic which destroyed nazi Germany and reduced the Ukrainian defence force to ashes. There will be no fight for territory because there is nobody left to fight, and the west has been demilitarised.

    2. Mitchel
      December 14, 2023

      The stated Russian aims are to de-Nazify and de-militarize Ukraine.Once those are achieved,land issues will resolve themselves.

      1. Mickey Taking
        December 15, 2023

        Or put another way perform a scorched earth on the Ukraine. Who will want to try to live in what remains, like a Gaza exercise.

    3. Bloke
      December 14, 2023

      Military forces blowing each other to bits is a destructive way of seeking remedies. There are likely to be many ways of achieving better results by even tiny actions focused on highest effective nodes of control. If the West engaged with Ukraine assisted by AI in formulating world-beating ideas to fairness in peace, life could become better for all.

      Drones dropping leaflets might influence Russian behaviour gently. Dropping billions of Japanese Knotweed seeds might be more persuasive, but why aggravate when kindness can attract better reactions?

      Two sisters were in conflict over an orange. One wanted the juice for a drink and the other wanted the pith for cooking. Negotiation allowed both to have 100% of what they wanted.

    4. Mickey Taking
      December 14, 2023

      They might not need to, with Putin’s death a new front man may prefer to back off, sensing a war they cannot really win, since more advanced defensive weapons will keep holding the Russians away and aerial superiority will not happen for the Russians losing expensive prestige weapons daily.

    5. Denis Cooper
      December 14, 2023

      What about the people in that occupied territory? Do they want to return to Ukraine, being ruled from Kyev?

  5. Wanderer
    December 14, 2023

    We should tell Ukraine they aren’t getting any more of our money and they won’t be allowed to join NATO. We won’t take any more of their citizens and we want all those who come from a non-Russian-occupied zone to go back (I’m fed up meeting Ukranians who say their area isn’t affected by the war, and even travel back for holidays – what a joke).

    We should accept Russia has a de facto back yard, which is not ours to interfere with, and stop kow-towing to the US. Preferably leave NATO, too. Our nukes are enough.

    They are on their own.

    1. Mickey Taking
      December 14, 2023

      and will you leave the Baltic states withdrawing our existing patrols and interfaces?

    2. MFD
      December 14, 2023

      Our nukes Wanderer?? America owns what are in our land, i believe the PM has to get the ok from Biden to push the button!

    3. Berkshire Alan
      December 14, 2023

      Wanderer
      An interesting though process.
      So where would you draw the line, Poland, or is that ok to invade as well in due course.
      How about Hungary, it used to be under Soviet control decades ago.
      The Crimea was taken by Putin 10 years ago, nothing was done, so he invaded Ukraine.
      If Putin eventually keeps the bit of Ukraine he has now, his back yard is then the rest of Ukraine.
      At some stage you have to draw a line somewhere, and Russia will defeat most Countries if they are not in an alliance of some sort.
      So it’s a question of how near do you want Russia to get, before you take action !
      As for us leaving NATO, not a problem but remember we cannot defend our own Country without help from others, and as for using nuclear weapons, that is the end of the line for everyone, and the real final solution which solves absolutely nothing.

  6. Michelle
    December 14, 2023

    I wondered how long it would take before those salivating at the war in Ukraine and encouraging the Ukrainians to fight on, became bored and dropped them.
    There seemed little attempt to ease the situation but plenty of sabre rattling from our heroic leaders here against the Russians and telling the Ukrainians they’d be supported to the bitter end.
    Truss in a tank taunting the Russians, some jollop about ‘freedom and democracy’. Johnson doing a bit of self promotion in a flak jacket and throwing a few grenades, acting out his Churchill dreams in various speeches.
    The sight of Sunak barely able to contain himself as he talked of the money to be made in rebuilding Ukraine, while some of their young men’s bodies barely cold on the battlefield.
    Sickening.

    1. Donna
      December 14, 2023

      You forgot Call Me Dave’s recent posturing.

  7. DOM
    December 14, 2023

    We all know where this will lead. Just get on with negotiating a peace which of course will inevitably mean Ukraine giving up territory. Let’s face it halfwits like Obama and Biden supported by a parade of western dopes like Cameron who since 2014 have caused chaos and countless deaths are why we are here. Thousands sacrificed, millions on the move and for what? What EXACTLY HAS BEEN ACHIEVED? Sweet FA except the LINING OF PROVERBIAL POCKETS

    Ukraine and Russia have always been at each others throats. Two corrupt nations led by god knows what treating their own people like rats

    1. Dave Andrews
      December 14, 2023

      There’s no prospect for negotiating a peace with Russia, in fact no prospect for negotiating anything. You just can’t trust anything they say. They lie, then lie again, then lie some more. They admit they tell lies and then tell more.

      1. Mickey Taking
        December 15, 2023

        It all sounds a bit familiar to the UK.

  8. James Morley
    December 14, 2023

    Ukraine does not need advice from the west. It needs advanced weapons and money to achieve a decisive victory over Putin. Anything less will lead to further conflicts with an emboldened and expansionary Russia, as has happened in the past. The war must be decisively won by Ukraine at any cost. They are on our own doorstep they are not on the doorstep of Biden.

    1. John Hatfield
      December 14, 2023

      You clearly are unaware of the background to the Russian invasion, James.

    2. mickc
      December 14, 2023

      I’ll gladly pay for boots and a rifle for you to go and fight…

  9. Michael Saxton
    December 14, 2023

    This war was avoidable. Ukraine joining NATO has been a red line for Russia for decades. US promised not to expand NATO eastward but repeatedly broke their promises. This war became hot after the US backed coup in Ukraine in 2014 removed the elected President when Biden was Obama’s point man in Ukraine. Russia was betrayed by Minsk2 designed to keep a fragile peace a fact recently acknowledged by former German Chancellor Merkel. All attempts by Russia to reach a settlement prior to February 2022 were rebuffed by US. In March the same year in Turkey, Zelensky reached agreement with Putin accepting Ukraine would remain neutral and Russia would retain the eastern Russia speaking region plus Crimea. Tragically the agreement was scuppered by Biden. By any metric this is yet another US proxy war doomed to failure as Ukraine has no chance of defeating Russia. There is no evidence Russia is interested in taking Ukraine let alone any part of Europe. The West is wasting money and Ukrainian’s are doing the dying. There must be a ceasefire and negotiations started to avoid further bloodshed. This could all have been settled in March/April 2022 and all the death and destruction avoided. Biden wants more funding to help him get re-elected in 2024 it’s really quite disgusting. I want to see the UK and Europe making our voices heard rather than always posturing as the puppet of America. It’s Europe that’s most at risk here not America!

    1. anon
      December 16, 2023

      The negotiation is the US & Ukraine & Russia. Russia wants a long term settlement. It could impose its will. The current US (and UK) regimes not so much but its time is nigh.

  10. Philip P.
    December 14, 2023

    The advice ‘the West’ should give Ukraine is:- Find a leader that will be able to negotiate with the Russians on the basis of what’s realistically possible. Let Zelensky and his wife emigrate to one of their homes abroad, he’s no longer the man the country needs. The situation Ukraine is in now requires someone able to compromise but at the same time keep the confidence of the military, to avoid total collapse. From what I’ve read, perhaps General Zaluzhny would be the best option. He has already taken a different line from Zelensky on the senseless strategy Ukraine is currently following, of holding on to territory at all costs and regardless of losses. The country is already under martial law, with elections suspended and opposition political parties banned, so a temporary military leadership would be no bad thing.

  11. Geoffrey Berg
    December 14, 2023

    We need to support Ukraine more, especially with top technology. After all Putin is Europe’s problem more than he is America’s problem since he is threatening to advance further into Europe rather than into America.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 14, 2023

      When did Putin threaten to advance into Europe? I can cite 12 recent instances where he has said the reverse.

      1. Mickey Taking
        December 15, 2023

        what he says and does cannot be relied on.

      2. graham1946
        December 15, 2023

        Yeah, you’ve said that before. He also said he would not invade Ukraine and did within weeks. Why you fall for such a proven liar’s rhetoric I just don’t know. He did say, as I’ve told you before that he said the fall of the Russian empire was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, but you still think he is a man of peace. Laughable.

        1. Lynn Atkinson
          December 15, 2023

          It was! He is an economist and knew that the Corporatism that the West introduced was disastrous. They are lucky they survived it. They could have been balkanised then.

          1. graham1946
            December 16, 2023

            Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any Communist regime has ever done. I don’t think the ex USSR countries are gagging to go back into it. The Industrial Revolution happened in the West, not the sclerotic dictatorships of the east. An economist you say – yes with an economy smaller than most countries a fraction of the size and population of Russia, such as ours with a population of half his.

      3. hefner
        December 15, 2023

        23/11/2021 Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman: ‘Russia will not attack Ukraine and is not harbouring ‘aggressive’ plans. Russia is not going to attack anyone’.
        29/01/2022 ‘Russia denies it plans to invade Ukraine’, globalnews.ca

        factcheck.org, 24/02/2022 ‘Russian rhetoric ahead of attack against Ukraine: Deny, deflect, mislead’.

        Ты тчпой или депаешь это напочно (Are you dumb or do you do it on purpose?)

        1. Lynn Atkinson
          December 15, 2023

          True. And they got the peace treaties that they wanted, because they absolutely did not want to invade. But NATO gave them no option. The peace treaty wa shredded.

  12. Jazz
    December 14, 2023

    Not so much on advice for Ukraine, but what are the consequences and signals the West will be sending to other regimes if Russia is allowed to hold on to land.

    Having started and then given up, the West will look weak. And the Germans can once again have cheap gas.

    1. Mickey Taking
      December 14, 2023

      cheap gas ….which will find its way to electricity reaching us via interconnectors.
      The politicians will reap what they sow – we lie on our back hoping the monster will merely tickle our tummy rather than jump on it!

  13. BOF
    December 14, 2023

    Ukraine has lost hundreds of thousands of young men which is a tragedy, with never a hope of winning this proxy war.

    Ultimately Ukraine will have to negotiate with Russia and will lose control of most of its Eastern teritory.

    A full audit of how all those billions were spent needs to be done and where the money came from to pay for all the expensive properties acquired by Zelnsky.

    1. Mickey Taking
      December 14, 2023

      the ‘hope’ is what drives the people to fight on! Otherwise hateful spiteful domination and reprisals against resisting Putin and Russia.

    2. Wanderer
      December 14, 2023

      I agree BOF, but there’s as much chance of an effective audit as the Covid Inquiry has of not being a whitewash.

  14. Denis Cooper
    December 14, 2023

    And earlier comments, such as those starting on March 7 2014 here:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2014/03/07/wither-the-merkel-alliance/#comments

    “On BBC Question Time last David Aaronovitch claimed that the UK had guaranteed the independence and sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and Simon Hughes agreed with him that we are under a treaty obligation to defend Ukraine against Russia, and Michael Heseltine conceded that to be the case but questioned whether we were in a position to do anything effective to fulfil that guarantee.

    Thus millions of viewers were given the false impression that in 1994 the UK had given Ukraine a guarantee similar to that given to Poland in 1939 under the “Agreement on Mutual Assistance”, the text of which may be read here … ”

    “And if one wishes to discuss it not legalistically but geopolitically, it was a foolish and dangerous idea that Russia under a strong leader like Putin would stand idly by and not react in any way when the NATO-backed EU was openly setting out plans for a southern encirclement, not just around the Black Sea but around the Caspian Sea and as far as the Urals, as Cameron told his audience last July when he was in the Kazakhstan capital Astana, 1200 miles east of Stalingrad and actually beyond the line of the Urals.”

  15. Lifelogic
    December 14, 2023

    Indeed but all rather depressing.

    I see that the Government flys a minister back from COP 28 and back again just for the commons Rwanda vote. What a sick joke this net zero con trick is. Do as I say not as we do in the King Charles mode. A king who even has his medical team headed up by a fan of homeopathic medicine yet we are expected to trust King Charles on climate alarmism.

    “Rishi Sunak claims he can campaign on recent tax cuts despite overall burden hitting record 70-year high“ in the Telegraph today. Well of course he can do that but everyone knows he is lying and it destroys the tiny bit of credibility he may have remaining.

    Vallance’s pandemic diary to be kept secret it seems. What a sick joke this inquiry is. Why on earth did they authorise Covid ‘vaccines” for the young and children when there were such risks and they clearly had negative net benefits? Criminal negligence in my view. We need this out in the open JCVI and Vallance, Whitty… the net harm lockdowns, the funding and vested interest of JCVI, it all need to come out and will do – eventually.

  16. Richard II
    December 14, 2023

    “The West” – I suppose you mean NATO and the EU – should write off its losses. Ukraine could perhaps have used the hundreds of billions it’s been given in money and military assistance over the years more effectively, especially if the corruption in that country hadn’t been so bad. But we are where we are. Another $61bn won’t change anything. The advice to be given to Ukraine now should be:- What’s for you a desirable and still achievable outcome? Regaining all pre-2022 territory? Forget it. Political independence from Russia, for a post-war rump Ukraine? That might be achievable, but try to find out what the Kremlin would settle for. To do that, you have to negotiate. One thing is getting clear every day: Militarily, Kiev is on a hiding to nothing, so stopping the slaughter is essential.

  17. David Andrews
    December 14, 2023

    If Putin thinks he is winning, or will win because the West has wearied of the war, he is unlikely to compromise. For now he might settle for taking actual control of the oblasts he has already claims to have “annexed”. That would require Ukraine to surrender territory they control. It is inconceivable that Ukraine would do so unless the government collapsed because it cannot fight the war any longer. That would create a pause while Russia regrouped before taking another bite of Ukrainian territory in a few years time.

    If Putin thinks he cannot win now, because of the West’s support for Ukraine and war weariness in Russia, then he might settle for new boundaries on the current line of contact. But that would mean Ukraine abandoning it’s objective of regaining lost territory and, probably, the fall of the Zelenski government. That would create a pause while Russia regrouped before taking another bite of Ukrainian territory in a few years time.

    If the West thinks Putin’s ambitions are a threat to the territorial integrity of the countries on its Eastern fringes, then it should continue to support Ukraine in its war with Russia. That war will likely continue for a few more years until either Ukraine or Russia decides it has had enough.

    The advice the West should give Zelenski therefore depends on what it’s objectives in this conflict are. My own view is that the West should continue to support Ukraine against territorial aggression. That might well mean Europe without the USA under a future US administration.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 15, 2023

      The Institute for the Study of War, owned by the family of Victoria Nuland, states that Russian losses are calculated at 36,000 KIA. Ukrainian losses are Just over 300,000 KIA. The Ukraine has lost 170,000 during its Counter-Offensive.
      These numbers are NOT sourced from Russia but correlate with Putin’s statement during his annual 4 hour Q&Q with the Worlds Press last week.
      Do you think the armed forces of Europe will do any better?

      1. graham1946
        December 16, 2023

        Maybe Ukraine would have done better had they had proper air cover.

  18. Cheshire Girl
    December 14, 2023

    Ukraine cant expect the US and all the other Countries, to give much more. Billions have been given by Countries around the World, at the expense of their taxpayers. The UK has personally given many millions both to Ukraine and other Countries, and, as far as I know, it has not come from the Foreign Aid budget.

    There has to be a limit, and in my opinion, we have reached it.

    1. Mitchel
      December 14, 2023

      Very significant tweet from Ben Aris,editor of Business New Europe,yesterday-in response to news that despite the G7 price cap, Russia’s net oil revenues almost doubled between April and Oct,totalling $11.3 bn for that month:

      “Oil cap is total irrelevance.West assumed it had near monopoly on maritime insurance and this would be an elegant mechanism to enforce cap.trouble is market did its thing:if you create block esp for oil business then that creates opp for new biz.Now the west only controls 65% of insurance biz.And that’s not counting Russia’s ghost fleet.”

      I predicted many months ago that “services” would move east as a result of this conflict(biggest loser-London).No wonder “Moscow-City”(Moscow’s elegant financial district) is booming with much capacity -increasing construction activity underway.

      And what were Russia,Saudi,UAE and Iran discussing together last week-I see the Russian central bank governor was also in attendance?

  19. Peter Gardner
    December 14, 2023

    The options for the West are grim: reducing support of Ukraine, reducing support of Israel or reducing both. Maintaining both at current levels is not an option. The temptation to widen or join in either conflict is likely to grow if defeat seems likely, a last desperate throw of the dice. Of the two, NATO, not yet involved in Ukraine, provides a good defence against Russia so letting go part of Ukraine would not significantly risk the rest of the West. If Israel fails, the Islamists will almost certainly move on to the rest of the West. Then there is Taiwan. I dare say China is making the same calculation. A third war over Taiwan would be disastrous for the West.

    1. Mitchel
      December 14, 2023

      A hilarious video clip did the rounds a couple of months ago.It showed bumbling Biden claiming that America could fight a war on two fronts(ie Ukraine and the Levant).Under this the poster had added,in split screen,a clip of Kim Jong Un having a fit of giggles followed by one of Xi Jinping raising a mug in a cheers! gesture.

      Brilliant!….and that’s before Venezuela/Guyana – and all the other fires that might be lit.

  20. Roy Grainger
    December 14, 2023

    “Mr Putin is unlikely to want to compromise ahead of his re election”

    Oh I doubt he’s worried about being re-elected.

    1. Mickey Taking
      December 14, 2023

      Has Prava printed his victory yet – forgetting the election hasn’t been run yet?

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        December 15, 2023

        Go to Moscow or St Petersburg or Sochi or anywhere in Russia and take your own soundings. 85% approval rating. Those who are NOT supportive say he has been too cautious, too weak.

  21. Bill B.
    December 14, 2023

    So the US Republicans want to spend money on stopping a migrant invasion, rather than wasting it on a foreign war. I wish we had a political party like that in this country.

    1. MFD
      December 14, 2023

      Agreed Bill, well said sir!

  22. Lifelogic
    December 14, 2023

    Still some good new for the Welsh the appalling Drakeford resigns but doubtless the replacement will be almost equally dire.

    So Dominic Cummings described Rishi Sunak’s approach to Covid as “just let people die”. This Mr Sunak fiercely denies.

    Perhaps it might have been more like “we cannot stop them dying for long anyway, so if they die a few weeks earlier so be it, as the costs of lockdown financial and in health terms (delaying millions free, earlier and better natural vaccinations for the healthy too) exceed any benefits hugely. A rather sensible approach for once from Sunak so why does he deny it?

  23. agricola
    December 14, 2023

    I do not think Ukraine needs advice except in a military training sense. They have a basic objective which is to remove Russians from its territory. Because they do not have the arms and personnel in sufficient quantity for the conventiional war that Russia is inflicting on them they should resort to a level of unconventional war that Russia would find increasingly, politically, unsustainable. Just like the Afgahns inflicted on Russia in the recent past. A form of warfare that led to Russia climbing in its vehicles and withdrawing to its own territory. The West should give them every assistance in carrying it out, because success for Russia will only encourage Putin to try to reclaim dominence elsewhere. Ultimately it is the democratic Wests war as much as it is the Ukrainians.

    1. Philip P.
      December 15, 2023

      Russia isn’t fighting a war of territory, but a war to destroy Ukraine’s armed forces. It’s following military doctrine as per Clausewitz. After defeating them, it will not want to occupy too much of Ukraine, for exactly the reason you say, Agricola: it doesn’t want to try to hold down a country that would be full of Western-supplied insurgents. It’s only incorporating regions where a strong majority of Russian speakers want to join the Russian Federation. Russia will probably want the rest to be a neutral buffer state, keeping NATO at bay. That will leave open the possibility of more conflict in future thanks to NATO/Ukrainian revanchist ambitions, so it’s not a perfect outcome from Russia’s point of view. But Putin may well have to settle for it.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        December 15, 2023

        Yes. Seems Poland does not want Lviv anymore either.

  24. David Chopping
    December 14, 2023

    The problem is that the USA lack consistancy. Afghanistan is a good example. Putin may assume that they are preparing to cut and run again. He has little consideration for the lives lost, providing it is not his. Aggression will end up being rewarded yet sgain unless the Americsns continue what they started. Regretfully they will find an internal political compromise that will show a lack of understanding of Russian determination..

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 14, 2023

      Putin is devastated that the west engineered a war between Slavic nations. He has bust a gut not to kill fellow slaves. That’s why they have never unleashed the might of Russia against Ukraine. They will not have the same misgiving when it comes to the decadent west of we continue to threaten Russia existentially. One comment above is ‘let’s get Russia’s oil’.
      You go get it – Russia has more nukes than the west combined, they have hypersonic weapons that we can’t shoot down – we are still trying to get a hypersonic weapon working. This war has honed the Russian Defence Forces. Time to rein in the idiot warmongering western ‘Leaders’ who are desperate to divert attention from their own collapsing countries and culture.

    2. Mickey Taking
      December 14, 2023

      Putin or his successor don’t have to be concerned about public feeling, Biden or Trump do !

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        December 15, 2023

        Do you really think he popularity and his party’s popularity is so great that they don’t have to worry? Unlike Biden or Sunak or Macron or Schultz? I would suggest that Trump like the United Russia Party (of which Putin is a member and which has a good majority in the Duma) does not need to worry about a lack of popularity either.

  25. Sakara Gold
    December 14, 2023

    This is one of the very good – and thoughtful pieces – that Sir John produces occasionally for his blog. One thing is obvious – this is not a good time for Ukraine to negotiate, despite Mr Trump’s minority MAGA wing Republicans demanding that they do

    Putin has put roughly a third of the Russian economy on a war footing because of Western sanctions and is conscripting 300,000 men a year into the Russian Army. Most of these resources are being thrown into battle using WW1 daylight human wave tactics and are being destroyed against prepared defences by seasoned Ukraine troops. Western intel agencies estimate that Russia has lost 350,000 troops and 2500 tanks so far. But if Putin wins, the Russian Army will be moving west next

    Putin has already lost the strategic battle – one of his complaints was the “threat” that NATO (a defensive alliance) posed moving east to the Russian border. This has resulted in NATO expansion as Finland and Sweden have seen the clear menace and joined the Alliance

    Putin is up for a managed election next year. What would derail this would be a massive success by Ukraine on the battlefield. NATO must wake up – many member countries realise that if Putin succeeds in UKraine, Western Europe and the Baltics will be next. Ukraine’s defence should not rely on partisan American politics; collectively we must provide them with whatever they need to defeat Russia with no restrictions on weapon use. NATO countries such as France, Spain and Italy – who have provided next to nothing in military hardware – should step up.

    I think Ukraine should be invited to join the NATO alliance. Putin’s bluff should be called, he should then be told to withraw – or face the consequences.

    1. Hat man
      December 14, 2023

      I’m afraid you’re still a long way from understanding the reality of this war, Sakara. Russia is winning the strategic battle. It has said it wants to demilitarize Ukraine. It has by now inflicted massive human and material losses on the Kiev military, which as you would know if you didn’t just believe ‘Western intel agencies’, is close to breaking point. Ukraine is losing the strategic battle. Its strategy is to reconquer the lost territory in the South but its offensive designed to do so has been defeated. The huge resources in money and material provided to Kiev have failed to achieve a breakthrough, and this is why opinion in Western capitals is shifting. Our leaders have understood the facts on the ground have changed – before you have, unfortunately.

      Sweden is not a NATO member, btw, and won’t be unless and until Turkey approves.

    2. Lynn Atkinson
      December 14, 2023

      Yes let’s have this ‘defensive alliance’ expand and threaten the Russian border because ‘defence’ always means ‘expansion’ – well to the Germans anyway 😂 – it’s called ‘der drang nach Oosten’ and last time they were stopped at Kursk.
      Then to balance the Defensive NATO Russia can put nukes in Cuba, which is 5 times further from Washington than Kiev is from Moscow, and watch the American be cool about it!

    3. Mickey Taking
      December 14, 2023

      are you suggesting NATO forces would move into Ukraine to defend it? Not a chance.

    4. Mike Wilson
      December 14, 2023

      I think Ukraine should be invited to join the NATO alliance. Putin’s bluff should be called, he should then be told to withraw – or face the consequences.

      Consequences which could include WW3 which, unlike WW1 which was billed as the ‘war to end all wars’ but didn’t, will mean an uninhabitable planet. It worries me when an old man who has nothing to lose and who has absolute power has his finger on the armageddon button.

    5. mickc
      December 14, 2023

      What consequences? Russia is doing well despite the “sanctions”.

  26. Donna
    December 14, 2023

    The lesson we need to learn, but never do, is that the USA is an unreliable ally when it comes to overseas military adventures.

    Their invasion of Afghanistan and our support may have been justified since they had sheltered Bin Laden (although he eventually was found in Pakistan), but Biden’s sudden withdrawal without even bothering to notify the UK in advance, was a disgraceful way to treat an ally.

    We got dragged into their Iraq War based on (at best) unreliable intelligence, a tissue of lies about WMD and a gung-ho President. And again, having wrecked the country and destabilised the region, the Americans bailed out leaving a power vacuum.

    If Trump wins the Presidential election he won’t fund Biden’s war in Ukraine. He’ll tell Zelensky to do a deal.

    So perhaps the advice we should be giving Zelensky is “don’t trust the Americans. They’re unreliable allies. Don’t bank on the EU since Germany wants Russia gas. And we’re effectively bankrupt so we can’t bankroll your war either.”

    1. Hope
      December 14, 2023

      EU has increased buying LNG from Russia by 30%. Idiotic Tory govt has increased inter connectors to…..EU. Our Tory govt funding both sides of the war, utterly stupid. Please explain JR.

    2. Mickey Taking
      December 14, 2023

      so carefully pick off Russian advances at relative small costs, don’t try to counter attack?

  27. Lifelogic
    December 14, 2023

    Allister Heath today, right as usual:-

    Western civilisation is being destroyed from within by forces we can’t control
    The horrifying truth about woke ideology has finally been revealed. It gives open support to genocide…
    Racism is banned, but not if it is directed at Jews, or white people, or members of any group not deemed worthy of protection.

    I had missed the slap-down of Rishi Sunak by the absurd Hugo Keith KC, with his withering line: “Let’s please not go into the issue of tax burdens” Does the dopey KC not realise that huge tax burdens and economic damage kills people too. Perhaps with the inquiry absurdly costing £1m a day and doubtless a good chunk of that his daily fee then perhaps not.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 14, 2023

      Lawyers have no idea of money. Hopeless.

    2. Hope
      December 14, 2023

      The KC is directing the inquiry towards power being given to WHO as UK govt cannot be trusted etc. It is clear the UK govt has messed up. It should not have locked down-Sweden, states in US have proved this, the vaccines do not work and never did what govt said ie stop the spread and transmission. Prof A Dalgleish and other world leading scientists silenced!! The vaccines cause long term harm, Valance, Fauci, Farrer and other need to be investigated about the cause from China in gain for function.

      All local authorities have plans that need to be reviewed, revised and tested. This was a statutory requirement under the Civil Contingency Act.

      There you are at no cost to the UK.

  28. Henry Curteis
    December 14, 2023

    War is profitable for big business and banks, human traffickers, organ trade, drug dealers and arms traders. Peace benefits human beings who count for nothing. The UK propagates war endlessly since it began three hundred years ago – handing the power to issue all money to private bankers. The terms of England’s union with Scotland have been broken a thousand times. We need a referendum to quit the illegal, bankrupt and inflationary UK, re-establish England’s Common Law system and sound money, and permit human life to function as it was intended by our creators.

  29. John McDonald
    December 14, 2023

    As always Sir John you ignore the facts behind the “illegal” invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
    A major point is Boris Johnson’s involvement in promoting the continuance of the war and advising Kiev not to accept a peace plan.
    If the West had supported the Minsk agreement there would have been no War in the first place.
    The West supported the “illegal” overthrow of the democratically elected government in 2014.
    Turned a blind eye to Kiev shelling the ethnic Russian Ukrainians.
    You are fully aware that Kiev wants to remove Russian culture from Ukraine and has banned the Russian Language from being spoken. This really amounts to banning the Welsh language in the UK.
    Kiev has got it’s way with a great lost of life and destruction as the ethnic Russian Ukrainians have know moved out of Ukraine but taken the land with them.
    So just get the UN to rubber stamp the reality.
    The cost to Europe’s economy has been enormous. Who has benefited from this ?
    Probably the US and Russia at our expense.
    Another example of UK politicians putting ideology before common sense (and true facts) at the expense of the people.

    1. Mickey Taking
      December 14, 2023

      Welsh is withering anyway without help, use of Russian will continue regardless.

    2. Wanderer
      December 14, 2023

      +1. I wish the BBC might be so honest.

  30. Peter Wood
    December 14, 2023

    Good Morning,
    That rare occurrence has appeared; I agree with the new Lord Cameron – take and spend for Ukraine all the Russian money in western banks. We’re together with Ukraine against Putin, or we’re not. Decide.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 14, 2023

      Oh Zelensky and Cameron will defend the ‘Coke’ plant in Avdeyevka at all costs! Neither can do without!

    2. Mitchel
      December 14, 2023

      And what about western assets in Russia?

    3. DOM
      December 14, 2023

      Tell that to Merkel who spent years wooing him, buying his gas and financing his State machinery

      How short memories are. I’m bored of hypocrisy

    4. paul cuthbertson
      December 15, 2023

      PW – Cameron is a privileged UK Establishment lap dog puppet and will do as is instructed. Why do you think he was suddenly installed into the position of FS where he cannot be questioned????

    5. Lynn Atkinson
      December 15, 2023

      And then all the ‘foreign investment’ in our countries will be withdrawn in case we pick a fight with their country. Brilliant. You should stand for the Labour Party, or Lib Dems … or Conservatives .

  31. Everhopeful
    December 14, 2023

    I do hope that the reason for this retreat from the yellow and the blue isn’t simply that the war hawks are looking elsewhere?
    Anyway…what’s the carbon footprint of a war. ( with plenty of “accounting” of course).
    “Absolutely nothin’ “?
    I doubt that!

  32. miami.mode
    December 14, 2023

    WW2 proved that modern wars are won by industrial and financial strength. Disinterested parties will continue to purchase oil and gas from Russia at a discount and unless Ukraine gets substantial assistance from the West then Russia will win. The only real alternative is for Russia to be starved of finance through the world banking system so it therefore looks extremely bleak for Ukraine’s future.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 14, 2023

      The West has lost control of ‘the world banking system’ – no petro-dollar and pretty soon no Reserve Currency, so the whole USD 34 trillion falls on the heads of American taxpayers and it will crush them. These are the problems that the west can’t duck and why nobody needs to do anything to us – they will just watch is crash and burn from afar.

    2. Mitchel
      December 14, 2023

      Russia is operating outside “the world banking system”.One of the best analysts of the new world order in finance (in the English language) is Kathleen Tyson(a former central banker who has executed high level systems projects for the Fed and BoE)who describes herself on twitter as a”Global Liquidity Plumber (triparty repo,FX & optimization)”.Follow her on twitter/X or read her new book :”Multicurrency Mercantilism:The New International monetary Order”.

      As she says this order is emerging “without the west dominating or even being invited to the negotiating table.”

      THAT is why you have the Ukraine War…..(and why the utterly brilliant Governor of the Central Bank of Russia,Elvira Nabiullina,was named “Disruptor of the Year” by Politico last month.

  33. Frances
    December 14, 2023

    Third option international press remind everyone that having done so much damage no Ukrainian will ever accept Russian rule. Zelensky cannot promise that Ukrainians will not place car bombs or poison Russians in Ukraine in Perpetuity.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 15, 2023

      Zelenski was elected on the slogan ‘Peace with Russia’. He got a landslide!
      Then the west offered him billions – all unaccounted and able to fall into selected pockets.

    2. Mickey Taking
      December 15, 2023

      A permanent night time curfew for Russians else the ‘midnight rambler ‘ stranglers and snipers will score their victories.

    3. a-tracy
      December 15, 2023

      A bit like the IRA you mean Frances?

  34. Dave Andrews
    December 14, 2023

    The EU may be giving aid to Ukraine, but with their purchases of Russian gas they are funding both sides.

  35. Ian B
    December 14, 2023

    War in today’s world is about deflection of poor leadership. The Ukraine situation was inevitable once Putin annexed the Crimea and the Wests so-called Governments so ‘Oh.. OK’. Were will Putin go next? Not forgetting the UN sees everything in reverse Kyiv used to control Moscow.
    Then we have the situation of Tiawan or officially the Republic of China that the despots in the Peoples Republic of China want to invade unless they surrender. It was the reverse, the UN recognized the Communist uprising (taking the Country by force) by a dictator on the mainland as being the rightful rulers of the Country.
    The UN likes Rulers that take Countries by force, they favor Dictators over Democracies.
    Now we have the failing Maduro of Venezuela seeing the riches next door taking actions by force to the stealing of Gyana from its people.
    You could reason it’s the supra-national organisation like the UN that are causing these conflicts they favour dictators over democracies, then imply they (the UN) are some kind of international authority, themselves are dictators that have never been elected and are not accountable – says it all.
    Never forget Putin has money stacked up in his war chest that the UK could only dream of, he can settle in for the long haul and outspend the Ukraine donors in the West without increasing taxes until the West tires and gives up.

    1. Ian B
      December 14, 2023

      Like other Nations the UK is far from honest in the situation, yes, we send aid to the Ukraine, while at the same time keeping the Russian economy going, through the back door. We still sent Putin over a £Billion of our hard-earned cash because we refuse our own energy security, one of the UK’s Largest Companies (Unilever) is still fully engaged in oiling the Putin regime – don’t you love Ben&Jerry’s?. Even our own PM’s wealth has/is dependent on supporting Putin.
      So, the UK taxpayer is being asked to support the Ukraine while the UK elsewhere supports Putin putting more pressure on the UK taxpayer. It makes us all hypocrites and doesn’t solve a thing.

    2. Mitchel
      December 16, 2023

      “Kyiv” has never “controlled Moscow”.If you get yourself a decent history of medieval Russia,rather than regurgitating Ukrainian propaganda (enthusiastically disseminated) by western media outlets,you would know this.

      Ukraine is a relatively modern invention.There was never actually anything called “Kievan Rus”,just like there was never anything called the “Byzantine Empire”(it was simply the Roman Empire) or “The Empire of the Golden Horde”(the Qipchak Khanate).They are all post hoc historiographical terms used by foreigners.In their own time the Rus principalities-all dynastically linked-referred to themselves as the Rus lands.Kievan Rus is a period in time when Kiev was the leading centre,but there were other capitals both before and after,not a state.

  36. Robert Miller
    December 14, 2023

    Surely it is not for us to give them advice -our role should be to defend them from their cruel and savage invaders. More important we should re-arm so that we can defend ourselves if the Russians win. And for us to take up the slack which enfeebled America has created. Can we trust the American to come to our aid in a crisis?

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 15, 2023

      Europe is pumping out arms at its fastest possible rate – 4,000 155mm shells a month!
      Russia fires 20,000 a day.
      That’s just shells. Then of course there are missiles, drones, jamming equipment (they make our missiles and drones crash).
      When do you suggest we declare war – tomorrow? 😂🤣

  37. Bryan Harris
    December 14, 2023

    It’s a pointless war only kept going by the insane West funding it – It’s time we also stopped throwing our money down the never empty drain!
    Talk FGS

    Biden and the West have had plenty of opportunities to get across the table with Putin to end this dispute, but failed to do so because those that profit from war wouldn’t hear of it, so our leaders did nothing and more people died – but never mind they were just cannon fodder.

    The West still sits on it’s high horse regarding Russia – always the bad boy, and they continue to disbelieve even their own analysts who told them Putin had a very good reason for starting this war.

    Now that the money is running out the West will be forced to the negotiating table, and for sure it will be Russia that gets it’s way – that will be a little bit of justice despite the cost.

  38. glen cullen
    December 14, 2023

    ”Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and Russia was
    £2.6 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2023, a decrease of 82.9% or £12.6 billion in
    current prices from the four quarters to the end of Q2 2022. Of this £2.6 billion” https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/6554d1f2d03a8d000d07f993/russia-trade-and-investment-factsheet-2023-11-17.pdf – Govt factsheet issued 17th Nov 2023

    Did we still trade with Germany during the 2nd world war ?

  39. Ralph Corderoy
    December 14, 2023

    From WWⅠ, the West has funded its wars through money expansion and debt. It used to be wars were pay-as-you-go affairs funded through ‘temporary’ taxation and so needed public support. Far easier to make the money fiat, force local suppliers to accept it through legal-tender laws, and save the hard money for foreign suppliers. The public pay indirectly through inflating the money supply.

    The West has benefited from Ukraine fighting Russia. The West has spent the money but Ukraine has spent the lives. In return, Putin’s forces have been severely impacted, both men and machine. It’s a very cheap deal compared with a NATO v. Russia conflict. The problem is the fiat moneys were already more stretched than ever from idiotic, group-think Covid policies, the West isn’t legally at war so can’t prioritise the proxy one, and the media have grown tired as the clicks have dried up.

    The West will benefit again when the Ronnie and Reggie of the world’s reserve currency, the IMF and the World Bank, ‘help’ refinance Ukraine when peace returns. The attached strings, being centrally planned, may cause Ukraine to stumble as it picks itself up but the twins will be on hand to offer another ‘top up’ loan and a few more strings. Ukraine’s wealth and produce will be harvested by forcing its sale for US dollars, the debt’s denomination, increasing demand for the dollar.

    1. Mitchel
      December 16, 2023

      Most of Ukraine’s wealth is in the East and South-that is not going to be available to whatever remains of a Ukrainian state.The west of Ukraine(Galicia) has always been impoverished no matter who ruled it-the Austrians and Poles prior to the Soviet Union.There was mass emigration from this region,mostly to the USA,in the late 19th century.

  40. Christine
    December 14, 2023

    I fear our own politicians far more than I fear the Russians. Is it true that our government is giving control of our armed forces over to the EU? When I read the EU document that they had the power to conscript any EU citizen into a war this was my biggest reason to vote Brexit. Now I understand that our Government via PESCO and other agreements is allowing us to become subservient to Brussels. Whilst the noise of immigration takes the focus away from what’s happening our country is being taken in a direction by the Globalists that people will not be happy with. War is often a solution to a financial crisis. NATO is in peril. Ukraine cannot win against the might of Russia and we shouldn’t be drawn into this conflict. The media is very biased in their reporting. Negotiate a solution before things escalate.

  41. iain gill
    December 14, 2023

    NHS waiting lists are high at 7.7 million, so Rishi’s promises to reduce the list by 2024 is not going to happen. Probably the reason he did another 5 promises, in the hope that we would forget the 1st lot of 5.

    GDP has shrunk by 0.3%, so Rishi’s promise to “grow the economy” isnt going very well.

    National debt is not falling.

    The small boats are not being stopped.

    Inflation going down? er crashed economies do that.

    Even by his own definitions he is not performing.

    As the American politicians have said, they would prefer their spending to be aimed at reducing immigration to the US than on foreign stuff. I think the same applies here, we should be spending to reduce immigration, not all the various amounts of money we splash around the world.

  42. Lindsay+McDougall
    December 14, 2023

    We are missing a trick or two.

    Firstly, it’s high time that an estimate was published of the cost of rebuilding the residences, public buildings and infrastructure that Russia has destroyed, and held Russia liable to repay all those costs. There must be no relaxation of this demand as long as Vladimir Putin remains in power.

    Secondly, we should carry on supplying the weapons that Ukraine wants but instead of giving them, we should charge Ukraine for some of them, particularly any aircraft supplied. Ukraine could be provided with a soft loan, rather along the lines of the USA-UK lend lease arrangements of WW2. Ukraine could use reparations paid by Russia as payment.

    Thirdly, frozen assets of the pro-Putin oligarchs could be permanently confiscated and used to part finance Ukraine’s war effort. Lord Cameron has floated this idea.

    Fourthly, we could put a price on Vladimar Putin’s head. He has killed a lot of people so there is no moral objection. Maybe one of his oligarchs would oblige.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 15, 2023

      The IMF has just given Ukraine USD 1 billion. Should last a month.
      Do you think that countries should ‘put a price’ on the duly elected heads of the leaders of other nations?
      Of course China has no politicians, just a Bureaucracy, nevertheless they might be upset if we start bumping them off. It would amount to a Declaration of War.

  43. Bert+Young
    December 14, 2023

    The USA under Biden is a very unreliable condition ; apart from his old age and memory problem he does not have the respect and trust of the Western world ; he is a weak leader who cannot be trusted to maintain a position of forceful enough stance to the likes of Putin . His hate to the UK is obvious and stems from a bias that no strong and capable politician should adopt . Putin must not succeed in his invasion of Ukraine particularly at a time when the Presidency of Russia looms . The world needs a return to stability and the role of key leaders at this time plays an important place in restoring it . The USA has no choice other than to continue strong financial support to Ukraine .

  44. Denis Cooper
    December 14, 2023

    I see this disastrous war as an example of “imperial overreach” – by the EU, backed up by the US and NATO.

    This is from ten years ago, almost to the day:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25290959

    “Ukraine’s capital Kiev gripped by huge pro-EU demonstration”

    “The European Commission has said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will travel to Ukraine this week “to support a way out of the political crisis”.”

    Didn’t she do well, now the combatants have maybe half a million casualties and most of the world has crippling high energy costs and retail inflation and therefore interest rates slowing recovery from the pandemic.

    I don’t expect this to be a popular view, as like Boris Johnson we must all be gung ho to support Zelensky and his brave Ukrainians, and take the chance to sort out Putin and those pesky Russkies, and blow the human and economic consequences, and it can even be portrayed as unpatriotic to disagree.

    1. Mitchel
      December 16, 2023

      This war has been both provoked and promoted more by the UK than the EU;if you understand the trade system and the importance of the Black Sea to the UK establishment ,you will appreciate why.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 19, 2023

        The flags being waved at that demonstration were EU flags, not British flags.

  45. miami.mode
    December 14, 2023

    It’s noticeable that until recently Ukraine was often referred to as The Ukraine particularly in the documentary series ‘The World at War’ in a similar manner to The Steppes in Russia and The Pampas in Argentina. Historical terminology and the resulting consequence of its status is difficult to overcome.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 15, 2023

      The Russian Stepp is in Ukraine. Stalin drew some lines.

  46. Ian B
    December 14, 2023

    I Like This… ‘why is your reality at odds with ours?’ That was a question to Putin from one of his Citizens, it is the same question that the majority in the HoC should be faced with and in particular this Sunak/Hunt cabal calling themselves a Conservative Government? Everyone one is paying for their ineptitude and failure to manage.
    Particular this Sunak/Hunt cabal calling themselves a Conservative Government? Everyone one is paying for their ineptitude and failure to manage.
    To many side-shows and deflections, the Blair/Cameron (call me Dave said 10years ago had the target was 100,00 a year – so we got 1.2million, and he is still at it) inspired boat people, criminals seen as immigrants. Ukraine just lip service, the UK can’t even defend itself(Under Ben Wallace the Army has been reduced to just 77,540 down from 113,000 while these Tories have been in office). While we are burdened the highest taxes – ever, the highest borrowing – ever, no energy security, no sound resilient economy, no control of expenditure.
    Yet they want you and me to think there is a Conservative Party, not an extreme left wing Socialist Party

  47. Chris S
    December 14, 2023

    Allowing Putin to claim a victory wiil inevitably lead to him taking over other former-Eastern Bloc states. So far, Bidem and most of Europe have been behind the curve on arming Ukraine, which is why they have not made more progress.

    The F16 programme is the most obvious example. How could he think that Ukraine could have defeated Russian forces on the ground without modern armour and air superiority ?
    Ukraine has been held back in the same way as US forces were in Vietnam : not being allowed to use all the weaponry available.

    While I agree that Ukraine is more Europe’s problem than Biden’s, the effect of a Putin victory will be world wide. As well as more widespread war in Europe, the Chinese will be emboldened and will certainly take Taiwan and effectively take control of the entire South China Sea.
    Even kim Jung Un might fancy his chances on the Korean peninsula.

    We are in a very dangerous period of history : the ultimate cost to the West will far outweigh the price of continuing to support Ukraine.

    1. Mitchel
      December 16, 2023

      The reunification of Taiwan with China and that of the two Koreas is the thing that is”inevitable”,eradicating two hostile western weapons platforms aimed at creating trouble in Eurasia.The full integration of Eurasia will be a boon to the world – and the ruin of the predatory,war-mongering Anglo-American Establishment (hurrah!).

  48. XY
    December 14, 2023

    What advice should “the West” give Ukraine? Seriously?

    The West, if such there be, should stop advising and start listening.

    They advised Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a piece of paper, The Budapest Memorandum. As we can see, it was meaningless.

    Putin and his ilk simply use any settlement as time to re-arm, rebuild economy and try to normalise relations. There is no peace to be had. Ukraine is saying that loud and clear (along with Poland and others) – the West needs to start listening to them.

    Ukraine will not sign any peace deal because they know it would not be real.

    As I scrolled down here to post, I was amazed to find so many utterly dense contributions from posters who seem t be blissfully unaware of that simple fact. Negotiation today means war postponed to tomorrow.

    We needed to give Ukraine the weapons to end this a long time ago. It is clear that Putin will not try to use nukes, every red line that’s been crossed has passed without action. And he knows it would lead to reprisals (not necessarily nuclear ones) that would mean the end of him – which is what he cares about most.

    Get the F16s, long range ATACMS and others to the battlefield asap. War is cheap for the West when Ukraine is doing the fighting.

    Also, in geopolitical terms, Taiwan is vulnerable to China, who are watching carefully to see if Putin gains or loses in net terms. The only deterrent to China is the economic hit of any sanctions would be greater than for russia.

    If Ukraine were brought into NATO now, Putin would do nothing but bluster, as we can now see. That allows us to wage this war longer than Putin can, since that is now his strategy (to wait for the democracies’ public to start squealing). As we can see from the self-interested comments above, sadly, it seems to be working.

    1. XY
      December 14, 2023

      P.S. Believing the stipulation of weapons only being used within Ukraine at face value is rather illogical.

      The concept of fungibility applies. Money is a fungible resource, so are weapons in this context. Every Western weapon they use in Ukraine potentially frees up a Ukrainian weapon to be used in russia.Which is all well and good.

      However, it would be etter if they simply removed that restriction. A war where one side can throw everything into offence and leave its own territory almost completely unguarded is farcical. Fear is driving Western policy, not strategy.

  49. Derek
    December 14, 2023

    Surely, common sense and history should tell ALL western Leaders that we cannot afford Putin to win. Do they not recall that appeasement initiated WW2 and the subsequent terror reign of Stalin? Ditto Putin ambitions.

    1. formula57
      December 15, 2023

      @ Derek – If “common sense and history” fashioned postures then all western leaders might recall an imposed, one-sided, unworkable situation as represented by the Treaty of Versailles had its parallels in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Ukrainian government in 2014.

      Historian A.J.P. Taylor spoke of WW2 as “Hitler’s war” and we may characterize that we see now as Putin’s war but it is not axiomatic that those two share the same intentions and so require the same responses.

      1. XY
        December 16, 2023

        The intention of both wars was to conquer territory belonging to other sovereign countries. That is all we need to know.

        If we let Putin win, authoritarian states around the world will be emboldened – China in Taiwan etc.

        Also, Russia will recover and do it again – history shows us that. They are invading Crimea and the Donbas regions for a reason – their rich resources and strategic value. The rest of Ukraine has resuorces too if Putin can take them. If Putin and his cronies keep those resources then russia will be much stronger in the future, more than compensating them for the cost of this war over time.

        The calculation is that the weak leadership of the West, focused on being re-elected rather than doing what their countries need, will allow relations with russia to normalise in time. Fossil fuels have a l;imited lifespan in the world market, so russia, Saudi etc are scrambling to make their place in a world which doesn’t really use oil for much except making plastics, lubricants etc.

        They also expect that the same weak Western leadership will fall for the old leader-change gambit – when Putin goes, the new leader will mutter platitudes and be allowed back into the fold.

        When people talk of the West becoming war-weary it amazes me that countries with none of their own people involved in the war can become weary of letting other people die for them – and instead of that weariness turning them to actually participate in protecting their own futures, it leads them to abandon the very people who are giving their lives by proxy.

        It realy is that simple So hang your heads in shame and spare me your feeble pseudo-logic attempting to justify your self-serving weakness.

  50. forthurst
    December 14, 2023

    Modern Ukraine was drawn on the map of Europe following the coup d’etat by the Bolsheviks under Vladimir
    Lenin. It was quite deliberately drawn so that two incompatible people would be locked into the same country, thereby ensuring that they would potentially be engaged in internal conflict in the future and so neutralised as a threat to the USSR.
    It was therefore highly predictable that that conflict would arise when the US State Department in pushing its foreign mercenary force, NATO, ever further east to engulf Ukraine and then encouraging
    the Western Ukrainians who aligned with Germany in the last war to attack the Russian speakers in the South and East, that the latter would remove themselves from the Ukraine and join Russia. That has happened, so it will not be reversed unless the US orders its mercenary force to attack Russia. The Tory Party’s response should be to remain neutral and cease to send our money and materiel to prop up the Zelensky regime.

    1. Mitchel
      December 16, 2023

      No.Modern Ukraine was drawn on the map in 1945 (or 1941 under the terms of the Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement) by Stalin when western Ukraine(Galicia and parts of Volhynia and Bukovina) were annexed to Soviet Ukraine from Poland (which had grabbed them from the wreckage of Austria-Hungary in 1918) and Trans-Carpathia likewise annexed from Hungary.

      Lenin had earlier(early 1920s) transferred great chunks of industrial Russia(notably the Donbass) to the newly created Soviet Republic of Ukraine(capital Kharkov).

      You are right that the CIA/State Department gave a welcome to the Ukrainian Nazis who fled after WWII and has continued to cultivate them ever since.

      1. forthurst
        December 16, 2023

        You are saying the boundaries negotiated between Germany and the Soviet Union in 1941 survived the unconditional surrender of Germany in 1945?

        1. Mitchel
          December 18, 2023

          The post war boundaries of the Soviet Union,itself, were similar to those proposed by the Molotov agreement;obviously Poland was reconstituted in between Germany and the USSR on the ethnically Polish territory Germany had taken in that agreement.The historically Polish territory of Silesia(which hadn’t actually been Polish for centuries) was also returned to Poland and the ethnic Germans there expelled.

  51. Derek
    December 14, 2023

    It’s not only Ukraine the West must support, but also Israel. To hold back arming Israel and allow Hamas to build a stronghold back in Gaza would give reason for China to attack Taiwan, believing that the West would not now care to be involved.
    I believe perceived weakness in the West encouraged Putin to invade Ukraine to enlarge his empire. It must not be repeated, anywhere.
    Weakness provides opportunity to the enemy, strength ensures the power to overcome.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 15, 2023

      Russia and Israel are in the same boat. Both threatened existentially.
      Draw your own conclusions regarding Ukraine and Hamas.

      1. Derek
        December 16, 2023

        I do not understand. You compare Israel with Russia. Do you suggest that Israel is also the aggressor, despite it attempting to defend its citizens from future attacks? If you believe that, you must then believe the Allies were wrong to “invade” Germany at the end of WW2.

  52. G
    December 14, 2023

    How did the strategy for the counter offensive evolve? Who could have thought it a good idea to attempt to break Russian defences by direct attrition? Surely, in a battle between the weak and the strong, a direct confrontation of strength against strength is misguided?

    I am not well informed about what has been happening, but I am assuming that the Ukranians from the beginning have NOT been encouraged to expect an inexhaustible external supply of weapons and munitions indefinitely?! Surely a major part of financial aid has been used to assist the Ukranians in ramping up their own munitions manufacturing capability, just as happened here during WW2? Further, to ramp up their own weapons development program? Surely this has been done?

    Swarm drone technology seems a promising lead. I have Starling murmuration in mind.

  53. Stred
    December 14, 2023

    Half a million lives too late. Zelensky hand over to the army and clear of to one of his houses in Florida. Stop the counter offensive and get the poor half trained remnants back over the river, and then agree a new border with the Russian speaking areas. Declare Ukraine a neutral country and rebuild it as quickly as possible to get allowing the refugees from the disaster to the come home. Hold new elections and suppress the ultra nationalists that caused the country to split.

    1. G
      December 16, 2023

      ‘Half a million lives too late ‘

      Perhaps, just saying another lesson in the dangers of dependency as if we needed another one…

      Somehow I think that Putin will not stop though, which is your underlying assumption. Maybe he is after the natural resources of the country?…

  54. Mike Wilson
    December 14, 2023

    I’ve lost interest in the Ukraine situation. When did it become our job to sort the world our when our own country is such a mess?

    Mr. Redwood – there has been much talk of the ‘Rwanda scheme’. What, exactly, is proposed? I have read that the scheme is limited to 100 people and that, in return, we have to take 100 people from Rwanda who have Special Educational Needs. Is this, or anything like it, true? If it is – we have descended way below farce.

    Reply That is not the scheme

  55. formula57
    December 14, 2023

    Any advice should fit with British war aims. Those aims should include keeping President Joe preoccupied (to lessen risk of him doing other mischief), keep lines open to Russia in hope of forging a better relationship eventually, undermine the E.U., especially keeping the new warmonger Tusk in check, avoiding the U.K. having to involve itself more than it has, including through N.A.T.O., providing for enhanced international peace and security. (All this may amaze the FCID Office of course.)

    Accordingly, Ukraine should be told it has lost Crimea (never should have had it of course), may lose some eastern territories, and needs to look to making the future of the rest as prosperous as may be, ideally under the umbrella of guarantees from Russia, the U.S./N.A.T.O and anyone else who wishes to be embroiled as to future independence and freedom from attack. If it co-operates, there could (and should) be some type of Marshall Plan scheme to help it (better use of monies than the current weapons spend).

    Mr. Putin should be warned about further aggression, with a secret nod from the FCID Office that should Russian forces venture west of the Oder-Neisse line then he is in for a long, long meeting with our ambassador in Moscow to explain his intentions. If the U.K. is threatened or harmed, retaliation will not be of a restrained kind.

    I deplore those from other countries who are gung-ho to fight on to the last Ukrainian. Shame on them.

  56. The Prangwizard
    December 14, 2023

    Question is, when will Russia restart and win more territory. Not long. Almost none of their gains have been lost. We ought to be very concerned.

  57. glen cullen
    December 14, 2023

    ‘Germany’s main financial instrument for climate action projects, the Climate and Transformation Fund, will be endowed with some 12 billion euros less in 2024 and with 45 billion euros less until 2027, Chancellor Scholz has announced – just one day after COP28.’
    https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/scholzs-government-cuts-climate-fund-45-bln-euros-2027-response-debt-brake-ruling?fbclid=IwAR2P2uVWIUUowcn3JstNkqngHpgaBDYRQESt39A7el8lU-ObnMB6z8Ao118
    And the UK is still on track to spend trillions on net-zero

  58. mancunius
    December 14, 2023

    By agreeing today to open EU membership talks with Ukraine (in the face of the implacable opposition of Hungary represented by Orban, who agreed not to use a veto but simply not to be in the room when the vote was taken), the EU has paved the way to virtually underwriting the entire future financing of the state of Ukraine, even before anybody knows what shape or even what kind of independence that country will have once Russia has decided on its terms.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 15, 2023

      It’s the end of the EU. Rejoice!

  59. Iain gill
    December 15, 2023

    Well rather like the way we pulled out of Afghanistan showed the world that we are untrustworthy and our politicians are fickle and incompetent, removing support from Ukraine will be similar. The ruling political elites of the west really are worse than useless. Especially considering how open Putin has been throughout.

  60. a-tracy
    December 15, 2023

    Is all the money provided to The Ukraine by the USA on a similar basis to the Lend-lease-loans to the UK in the World War $4bn that we’ve only recently stopped paying back?

    Is the money given by the UK on payback over the next half-century as America did with us?

  61. Colin
    December 15, 2023

    I think the questions for the West are these. Are we going to let Putin take Ukraine? And then, are we going to let Xi take Taiwan? Are we going to let the new Russo-Chinese axis of tyranny, the enemies of all we hold dear, such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law, dominate the world? Are we satisfied that Western civilisation, democracy and freedom are done, finished? Are we going to hand over Europe to a Caliphate whose strings are pulled in Beijing? Or are we at some point going to stand up for ourselves and our civilisation’s values?

    Well, are we? And if our current crop of politicians won’t, shall we find some who will?

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      December 15, 2023

      No caliphate has its strings pulled by Peking! 😂🤣 quite the reverse.

    2. anon
      December 16, 2023

      Get back to us when we have control of our own borders and country!

  62. Linda Brown
    December 16, 2023

    We must continue to support Ukraine with military goods along with the Eu countries. This is like the same scenario before the 2nd World War and if we do not continue to support them it could escalate into something bigger and more dangerous to us all. It also shows us how military spending should be a priority in this country even if other causes have to suffer. Defence is of paramount importance to us as a nation as the illegal arrivals of all these young men is proving. We need to be prepared and as I worked for NATO I now understand, and appreciate, the constant exercises in war preparing that we went through which I did not then. It is frightening that we seem to be walking into another war without even worrying about it. I watch the younger generation round me who have no experience of war like conditions before and afterwards. Really worrying situation we are in.

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