Mon. May 23rd, 2022

Carl Scott’s superlative letter (“A defense attaé despairs at inevitability of conflict”, March 23) gives us a chilling feeling of how we have been played like pawns and our politics equally corrupted by – to coin a word often used by the Russians – “pernicious” Russian influence that we have been too naive to counter. It does not bode well for us. Oddly perhaps, I feel optimistic for the Ukrainians in the medium term. They have the entire western world behind them. I salute their position of not simply yielding to Russian negotiation demands and calls for surrender.

The Ukrainians are a truly brave people, their history forged by the struggles of Zaporozhian Cossacks and other groups and now emboldened by their ability to resist what was thought an inevitable Russian conquest.

The Cossacks were fighting figures on the ground in Ukraine for centuries, often battling with other people whose descendants now inhabit this proud country. This has made them a people with fight in their blood.

The Cossacks, over the centuries, were Russified to suppress dissent against Moscow. But since the 1980s their descendants have combined with other Ukrainians in a real and welcome revival of Ukrainian nationalism.

Ukrainians have once again become familiar with their own history, their history outside the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. They know that the Cossacks in their history were some of the most resolute fighters to have ever lived. I can only hope that this legacy of Cossack fighting spirit, combined with the determination of Ukrainians with different ethnic roots, will carry the Ukrainian people to successfully defend their homeland against the wanton aggression from their out-of-control Russian brother.

Abigail MacCartney
Oakham, Rutland, UK

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