Dear Editor,

Most of us will have been shocked by the brutal and bullying behaviour of Putin towards Ukraine. The British government is right to support a fellow liberal democracy against the dictator Putin and his cronies. It been good to see the West starting to pull together. Meanwhile Putin will be blaming it all on NATO aggression and illegal sanctions. There will be some such as Trump who are apologists for this aggression and will be marching to Putin’s beat. Fortunately, few who will be echoing Putin’s propaganda and ignoring his attempted rape of Ukraine.

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In Russia itself, each day thousands have been arrested for taking part in anti-war protests. Dissent in Putin’s Russia is not tolerated and is the act of a brave person. We must remember that Putin is our enemy and not the Russian people. The lack of success of Putin’s military in making quick and substantive progress in Ukraine means that we will be in for the long haul. Putin cannot afford failure as this will mean the end of his regime. Like a bad gambler he will have no hesitation in redoubling his efforts. This will lead to more blood and tears but that is the price that will have to be paid.

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Our government will have to do more. Imposing sanctions will have severe economic costs not just for Putin and his cronies but also ordinary Russians and ourselves. Sanctions will hit our pockets but it is a better option than heading towards a World War. We have to continue providing military and humanitarian aid. As private citizens we can donate to the British Red Cross and others as well as local charities to help. I understand the Polish shop in Andover has opened one. Finally, we need to be more generous to Ukrainian refugees and should follow the lead established by the European Union, allowing them free entry.

Luigi Gregori

Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson for North West Hants