MORE SANCTIONS COULD HELP STOP PUTIN’S ADVANCE.

How much more appalling can the Russian behaviour in Ukraine become ?  When I heard they were operating mobile crematoriums in Mariupol in a concerted effort to hide war crimes I thought that it equalled the worst atrocities committed by the Nazis. No wonder that Vadym Boynchenko , the city’s Mayor has described his city as a “death camp” or even a “new Auschwitz ”.  It is shocking to think that apparently there are still 150,000 people somehow existing there in what remains of a beautiful thriving city, now reduced to rubble.  How do they get water to drink ? What do they eat ?  Then you have the irrefutable evidence emerging of the Russian’s savage behaviour elsewhere, gang-rapes, beheading, systematic terrorisation of the population.  Mr. Boynchenko said that the Bucha atrocities are “tip of the iceberg”.  By God I can well believe it.

I am still convinced that Putin and his cronies are ultimately going to have a difficulty containing the flow of information arising out of this war.  What happens when the body bags start arriving home ? What about the younger connected generation who must be seeing the grim reality reported by the Western media.  It can’t all be dismissed as lies.  Despite state media painting a very different picture they must be feeling the impact of the sanctions and wondering why.  This is why it is so essential for the EU to keep up the pressure by trying to eliminate purchases of Russian oil, gas and coal.  This is the fuel that runs the damn war machine.

Putin is playing for very high stakes and he is also driven by this Messianic belief that he is restoring the glory of a great Russia.  You throw  the Orthodox Church into the mix and you have a very dangerous cocktail.  Add to this the question about his health. Is he using steroids and to what extent?  Imagine a guy on steroids with his finger on the nuclear button ? Terrifying to say the least.  However, he now has a major problem on his hands and it is brutally simple.  He cannot fail because if he does he is finished.  So having missed his primary objective – the capture of Kyiv and the decapitation of the Zelensky government – his focus falls on the Donbas region which contains the so-called Republic of Donetsk and Luhansk, which are sympathetic to Russia.  He has told his generals that he wants a break-through here by May 9th.  This date holds significance because it is when there is a huge military parade in Moscow to celebrate the end of the Second World War and the overthrow of the Nazis.  How Putin has the brass-neck to call the Ukrainian government Nazis is totally beyond me.

I have no idea whether the Russians can gear themselves up for a new onslaught but clearly there is going to be a ferocious battle in Eastern Ukraine.  The Ukrainian authorities have told citizens to flee now or risk death.  It was depressing on Thursday that Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Chief, warned that the war could last months even years.  It is incumbent on all European nations to do what they realistically can to stop this carnage.