Ukraine invasion would be disastrous, Putin warns


won’t pretend to be a foreign policy expert and have no idea if Russia has any intention of invading Ukraine (again, i.e. annexed Crimea and backed proxy forces in the eastern Donbas region in 2014.)

One thing is clear, and that is that the specter of conflict has revealed divisions within the Western alliance. In particular between the United States and Germany (on arms and energy) as well as France, which wants an increased role for the EU.

Side note – I find that you can tell a lot about a person or a politician depending on whether they call the membership of Eastern European countries in NATO “expansion” (bad) or enlargement (good).

This moment is ultimately an existential crisis for Ukraine, a nation all too aware of its history, both distant and recent. Let’s not forget that at the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine – with a population of 52 million – possessed 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads – the third largest arsenal in the world.

He agreed to abandon them and sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as part of the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, in which the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia pledged to “respect the independence and sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine” and to “refrain from the threat or use of force” against it. Obviously, in 2014, Russia broke the commitments it had made.

Fast forward to today, and Boris Johnson has warned President Vladimir Putin that an invasion would be a “disastrous step” that could see Russia bogged down in a bloody and protracted conflict.

The Prime Minister said he did not believe war was inevitable and there was a chance that “common sense could still prevail”. The withdrawal of some embassy staff and dependents from Kyiv suggests deep pessimism within the Defense Ministry and Number 10.

Elsewhere in the journal, and in some change of pace…fasten your seatbelt – it might get uncomfortable. Lucy Holden connects with five exes to revisit her defining relationships. Everything for his personal fulfillment/your pleasure.

In the comments pages, ‘Stranger shouted ‘dirty Jew’ at my friend. I was totally unsurprised” – ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, Rob Rinder reflects on the rise of anti-Semitism in London. Rob also has his say on Kate Middleton – expressing his deep-seated desire to live in a “Kate-ocracy“.

In the meantime, do you want to know when the cost of living crisis is really hitting home? When you pay four pounds for a donut. Melanie McDonagh’s open candidacy to serve on the Monetary Policy Committee is well worth reading.

And finally, our wine and spirits columnist (what a job title) Aidy Smith says there’s more to a booze-free life than Dry January. But whether you’re sticking it out for an extra week or making it part of your lifestyle, it’s got us the best non-alcoholic beverages to explore all year round.

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