Letters: As Russia flails, the free world must not waver in its support for Ukraine

·9-min read
Russian police officers stand guard during an unsanctioned rally, after opposition activists called for street protests against the mobilisation of reservists ordered by President Vladimir Putin - Reuters
Russian police officers stand guard during an unsanctioned rally, after opposition activists called for street protests against the mobilisation of reservists ordered by President Vladimir Putin - Reuters

SIR – You report (September 20) that the Russian nationalist Igor Girkin has suggested that further military defeats could “finish” Vladimir Putin.

If he is correct, it is imperative that the nations of Nato immediately deliver more military supplies to Ukraine. A rapid increase in Russian casualties might help to alter the mindset of the Russian people.

As the regular Russian military is no match for the Ukrainian army, the reservists will be walked over. Time is of the essence.

Angus Jacobsen
Montrose, Angus

SIR – Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent requests for more weapons are reminiscent of Winston Churchill’s famous remark to the Americans in February 1941: “Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”

If Western allies, including Germany, respond as positively as President Roosevelt did then and Liz Truss has done now, can there be any doubt that the brave Ukrainian forces will soon reclaim the territory that has been taken from them?

Dr Charles Hanson
Carlisle, Cumbria

SIR – Not counting the 900,000 Ukrainians estimated to have been forcibly relocated to Russia, it may be true that those who have fled there during this conflict and the earlier one in Donbas would be likely to vote for the unification of eastern parts of Ukraine with Russia, were they to return. However, their numbers are dwarfed by those who fled west or were displaced into other areas still under Ukrainian control.

Russia has, effectively, ethnically and politically “cleansed” the areas of Ukraine it has occupied since 2014, and those who might have voted to stay have been forced out. Any “referendums” that the Russians now hold are shams, and any country that recognises them will make itself party to the crimes that underpin them.

Victor Launert
Matlock Bath, Derbyshire

SIR – Vladimir Putin will declare chunks of Ukraine to be parts of the Russian nation state.

Whether or not that helps Putin’s cause, it should remind us that, before the Russian invasion, it might have been helpful to the Ukrainians if Nato had declared Ukraine a member, with associated Nato protection.

Indeed, before the Russian invasion, why did Joe Biden and Nato announce that there would be no direct military engagement, were Russia to invade?

After all, a few days ago, President Biden happily committed the United States to defending Taiwan militarily against any invasion by the People’s Republic of China.

Peter Cave
London W1

SIR – The Russian people must surely realise by now that their deranged president has his ferocious grip on the wrong end of the stick.

Ian Burley
Cookham-on-Thames, Berkshire

Coronation cheer

SIR – Following suggestions that King Charles’s Coronation will be a “slimmed-down” affair, I do hope that those involved will think again.

By the time it comes around, we will all need something to cheer us up and unite us in the way that recent days have.

Tom Stubbs
Surbiton, Surrey

SIR – In the voluminous coverage of the Queen’s funeral, I have not spotted any mention of the remarkable sight witnessed by those of us who were standing along Windsor Road at Runnymede.

About 25 minutes before the cortege passed, there was a flash of gold on the river and the royal rowbarge Gloriana – which took part in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations – moored at the bend in the river closest to the road. The crew raised their oars in the air until the procession had passed, then resumed their journey towards Windsor.

It was a magical moment, and all the more so for being completely unexpected. Afterwards, many people took the flowers they had been holding and placed them reverently around the statue of Queen Elizabeth at this spot.

Stephen Spark
London SW17

SIR – Huw Edwards does not deserve a knighthood for his role in the BBC’s coverage (Letters, September 20). He was simply doing his job, and there are more professional presenters.

Ian Franklin
Totnes, Devon

SIR – Scilla Phillips (Letters, September 21) suggests planting trees as a tribute to the late Queen. Two of my grandsons, Luca and Owen, have decided to plant a rose shrub in her memory.

Ann Norris
Farnborough, Hampshire

Pension throwback

SIR – I sympathise with Mick Ferrie’s annoyance upon, at the age of 80, receiving a state pension increase of 25p a week (Letters, September 21).

When I learnt that I would be entitled to this absurd sum, I wrote to my MP, who told me that the “age addition” was introduced in 1971. At that time it represented about 4 per cent of the pension, which was £6 a week, but since then it has never been increased. The reason for this oversight was not explained.

Cameron Morice
Reading, Berkshire

Lesson for the NHS

SIR – A friend in a nearby village broke her leg badly last week and had to wait 15 hours in terrible pain for an ambulance. Yes, 15 hours.

At the same time, on holiday in Greece, I suffered a serious asthma attack.

I went to the local hospital and was immediately put on oxygen while still in reception, without anyone asking my name or filling in a form.

I was then transferred, by ambulance and ferry, to another hospital on the mainland, and after that to a third hospital, where a team of enthusiastic medics tested and treated me. On both ambulance journeys I was accompanied and cared for by a doctor.

All this on the magic UK Global Health Insurance card. Anyone who believes the NHS does not need root-and-branch reform (Comment, September 21) is deluded.

Richard Gaunt
Horsington, Somerset

SIR – My husband has just received two first-class envelopes containing letters with duplicate details for an NHS appointment next Monday (Letters, September 17).

Apart from the short notice – we are both disabled – what a terrible waste, again, of NHS funds.

Kathy Benn
Helsby, Cheshire

SIR – A minister of health once told me that he hoped that the problem of providing dental treatment under the NHS would go away.

It has.

Dr Nigel Knott
Seend, Wiltshire

Energy failures

SIR – Many will surely agree with Tony Lodge (“We need a public inquiry into this energy disaster”, Business, September 17).

For more than a decade, successive governments ignored security advisers who said, time and again, that Britain was in grave danger of being too reliant on other countries for its energy needs.

We must now hope that Liz Truss and her colleagues act fast to exploit Britain’s coal, oil and gas reserves, while Rolls-Royce develops its modular nuclear reactors.

Burning trees by importing wood pellets from North America and Scandinavia – wood that produces more carbon dioxide than coal – simply because trees are “renewable” after many years is just one aspect of the net- zero strategy that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

James A Cowan
Belmont, Co Durham

Best foot forward

SIR – Jeremy Langmead’s article, “Why don’t men wear proper shoes anymore?” (September 21), gave me pause for thought.

Now retired, I do own two pairs of trainers, but can’t imagine wearing them to any event remotely formal in nature. It must be a generational thing.

When I started work in the City in 1975, the mantra was: “No brown in town.” I recall my first visit to the floor of the London Stock Exchange. There was a rumbling followed by banging from the far side of the floor. When I asked what was going on, I was told that somebody had been found wearing brown shoes and was being removed.

I also remember my grandmother saying: “You can’t trust a man who wears suede shoes.”

I now have to admit to falling foul of that particular lore most days of the week.

Tim Oldfield
Wye, Kent

Why customers have ditched cash for cards

Take note: Barrels of Money by the American artist Victor Dubreuil (1880-1910) - alamy
Take note: Barrels of Money by the American artist Victor Dubreuil (1880-1910) - alamy

SIR – I cannot understand the prejudice against bank cards displayed in recent letters (September 21). I carry only a small amount of cash and use my credit card in preference to my debit card because it gives me 0.5 per cent cashback.

I have had a credit card since I was an undergraduate in 1973. My bank issued it as a combined cheque guarantee and credit card. I have never got into debt because I only purchase what I can afford. The monthly statement means I can track what I have spent my money on much more easily than if I had paid in cash.

Roger Jackson
Stockport, Lancashire

SIR – I am surprised that any business accepts payment by card.

I don’t use mine very often but in March I used it to pay a vet’s bill. On my next visit they said they hadn’t received the money. I produced my bank statement to show that the sum had been taken from my account. Using that statement they were able to claim the money.

I mentioned this incident to a friend who had been shopping in Harrogate and York, and was still waiting for two debit card payments to be taken from his account. Maybe some card payments simply disappear into the ether, never to be settled.

Eric Harpham
Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire

The DVLA, Specsavers and the fitness to drive

SIR – Jennie Bedford (Letters, September 21) wonders why the DVLA appears to value Specsavers’ opinion more highly than that of other eye specialists.

I am awaiting a cataract operation and, by choice, am not currently driving. On two occasions I had eye tests in Specsavers, as road signs were blurred. I was told that all was fine and sold eye drops.

I then booked an appointment with an independent optician who suspected a cataract and referred me immediately for a hospital appointment. I’ve had my pre-op already.

Jacky Staff
Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh

SIR – The answer to Jennie Bedford’s question may be that Specsavers has a contract with the DVLA. The same problem arose with a friend of mine who went to another optician. Weeks of waiting for the DVLA to complete its paperwork followed.

Jonathan Mann
Gunnislake, Cornwall

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