An early morning attack on Ukraine, amphibious in the south and by land from the east. Bombing of airports and military instillations. Bogus claims that aggression is justified to keep the peace. All of this has been predicted and it happened almost to the hour that it was expected.
The bilateral mechanism known as détente has failed. The exclusion of the Ukraine from Nato has left the country defenceless with no obvious route for the west other than financial sanctions against Russia.
We know what sanctions do, they hit the people not the oligarchs and politicians. The people behind the aggression have little to fear from sanctions, they are binding their country to them by the phoney sentiment of “a just war”.
Meantime an opinion poll in America says that only one in four Americans are bothered about an invasion of Ukraine. What is more important to them is the impact of conflict on the price of petrol they pay at the pumps.
It is easy to be desensitised to war when it is a far away people who are at war with their neighbours , but when it means paying more for “gas”, it’s serious.
For all our understanding of the causes of war, the fundamentals do not seem to change. Wars are started not by the people but by those at the top of the power chain for whom war is an instrument of extending power and writing themselves into history. From Napoleon to Stalin to Putin, those who want to exercise dictatorial power have seen aggression as the expression of their ego.
That is why we can and must focus on what can stop Vladmir Putin. For if we allow him to believe, as we allowed previous dictators to believe, that the invasion of Crimea can be justified , then we give him to believe that the same is the case in the Ukraine. And then where?
The terrible consequences of our indifference to international law-breaking are felt not by us having to pay more for petrol, but by the human misery forced on ordinary people who live in the towns , cities and villages of Russia , Ukraine and Crimea, all of which pay a high price for the illegitimate actions of those who lead them.
I am at my computer , three hours into the invasion of Ukraine, with limited information but a heavy heart. I can do no more than put this down as testament to my not being indifferent , though powerless to do more than type these words, embed this tweet, look at those faces.
Our basement in Kyiv now filling up with families with small children. The kids are holding colouring books. Heartbreaking
— Luke Harding (@lukeharding1968) February 24, 2022