OPINION - Evening Standard Comment: Sanctions are vital, but it is weapons that win wars

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Britain will reportedly soon send armoured missile launchers to Ukraine after Russia started its full-scale offensive to take control of the country’s east (PA) (PA Archive)
Britain will reportedly soon send armoured missile launchers to Ukraine after Russia started its full-scale offensive to take control of the country’s east (PA) (PA Archive)

The battle for the Donbas has begun. The long-awaited Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine appears to be underway, with vast artillery and rocket attacks.

Vladimir Putin may have withdrawn his forces from areas around Kyiv, but his war aims have not atrophied. He still wants to destroy Ukraine, refuses to view it as a real country and has no regard for human life.

Severe sanctions, including embargoes on oil and gas, can cripple Russia’s economy. But it is weapons that win wars. The sinking of the Russian warship Moskva demonstrates that hard fact.

The challenge for the West is to continue to provide Ukraine with the arms necessary to defend the homeland without leading to dangerous escalation or direct conflict between Nato and Russia.

Ultimately, the British people recognise that Ukraine’s fight is a shared one. It is about freedom, democracy and the rule of law. We must not waver.

Back to the office

As workers return to the office after the Easter break, it is a reminder of how crucial commuters are to the London economy. The Government should be leading by example by ensuring civil servants are working from their offices.

Yet there is huge variation between departments, with some only seeing around a quarter of staff coming in.

An element of hybrid working may be the new normal for many, but there is clearly far further to go to encourage civil servants back into their Whitehall offices and around the country.

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