Posted on 26th March 2022

Hopes that this obscene war would crash the Russian economy have diminished. For starters Russia has not defaulted on its sovereign debt. Central to all of this is one stark fact. Europe is financing Putin’s war with its purchases of gas, oil and coal. Keep in mind that they have been selling their oil at double the average price over the last 8 years. The chief culprit in this respect is Germany. Sure it would have a negative impact on their economy but they could source liquefied gas from the U.S. and Qatar. Professor Moritz Schularick from Bonn University has said that a halt to all German purchases of oil, gas and coal would cut GDP by 3%. “It could be done and the world wouldn’t end”. The truth of the matter is that this would be the price to pay for ending this war and the savagery and inhumanity it is inflicting on the people of Ukraine. Think of our children forced to drink water from radiators and go wanting for food. Our government must press for tighter sanctions against Russia. Otherwise Putin will have the capacity to prolong this conflict for as long as he wishes. To put this in perspective, as thing stand the U.S. Investment Bank Goldman Sachs are predicting that the Russian economy will grow by 2.4% next year and by 3.4% in 2024.

Distant view of Slane Castle

If true leadership is lacking in other European nations, Zelensky continues to excel. I still find it extraordinary that he was once a comedian for he is now at the very centre of what is a European-wide tragedy. Mark my words the events that are taking place will scar generations. He has inspired the Ukrainian nation to rise up and resist the Russian invaders and astonishingly now it seems possible in certain areas they may be forcing the enemy to retreat. The Russians have suffered the losses of 4 Generals and a Naval Commander together with thousands of troops. No wonder they are suffering from a loss of morale. This is far from the quick victory that Putin wanted. It is now essential that NATO makes sure that arms and supplies flow to the Ukrainian armed forces as rapidly as possible, particularly those weapons that help them to contain as far as is possible the threat from the air.

However, let us not forget for one moment that at the centre of this vile and despicable war is one man, Vladimir Putin. As long as he retains the levers of power in Russian what hope is there of peace ? Still one matter puzzles me, the manoeuvres of the former Chelsea owner and Oligarch Roman Abramovich. Curiously I stood next to him in pouring rain when I was in Moscow for a U2 Concert. Holder of both a Portuguese and Israeli passport he attended the early peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Zelensky is said to have asked Joe Biden for the U.S. to hold off sanctions on Abramovich on the basis that he might be useful as an intermediary. Maybe he is now on one of his super yachts. Anyway I am still dreaming of a palace coup or at least power seeping away from Vlad the Bad. I pray for an end to this dreadful war and the enforced migration of millions of people. This in itself will have a profound effect on the people themselves and the countries they settle in.

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