The Russian invasion of Ukraine is unquestionably a travesty of international law and human rights. Boris has labelled Russian actions as 'war crimes' - but we will have to see how that can be adjudicated in an international court with a slippery entity such as Russia. But the basis of this blog is pro-Ukrainian.
Russia is clearly struggling to gain a strong military position in Ukraine but the sheer weight of numbers and weaponry they can bring to bear must surely indicate a final subjugation of the state of Ukraine but not of its people. Putin cares little for both civilians and his own troop losses - and history has shown us a commonality of approach here in the tactic of steam-rollering an opponent with massive numbers of expendable manpower. Blunt instrument warfare.
The West has imposed a considerable array of sanctions which are making a quick impact upon the economics of modern warfare. If a single British NLAW anti-tank weapon costs £90,000 or so, imagine what Putin must be spending on his widely dispersed forces firing off round upon round of artillery munitions. Very soon he will run short of roubles which sanctions will prevent him from shoring up with his illegal overseas stash's. May that all come to pass very soon.
Yet the West cannot sit-back and marvel at the wonder of electronic, economic warfare against Russia without having some misgivings about the wider impact of these actions upon the globalised world economy. As these sanctions bite into supply chains, international currency exchanges and confidence amongst the traders and bankers who pull the strings in these matters we will see a progressive weakening of global economies. Covid started the process off with limitations of supply across a breadth of commodities and goods that countries normally import. Shortage of supply equals higher prices in standard economic terms - which we now see increasingly in our own High Streets. Add to this the curtailment of energy supplies - much of which in Europe comes from Russia - and we see the same supply/demand crisis shifting the economic cross-over point much higher up the scale. To some extent, the West can blame its own misguided energy policies as being significant contributors to shortages - too optimistic expectations of renewables and green motivations and a shunning of nuclear options. All of these badly thought through policies have pushed the price expectations for Joe Public being required to pay through the roof - not just here, but throughout Europe. What it collectively highlights is the fragility of the global economic model. That model has shown itself to be wanting in the face of a crisis such as that happening in Ukraine but, more significantly, it shows a weak and uninformed position being adopted by commercial influencers and Western governments about the geo-political framework that ultimately controls commerce across the entire world.
Inflation is rising rapidly - everywhere - and as costs escalate so will labour demand more remuneration which will increase inflation further. A vicious cycle of cost pressures operates like a cyclone - once spiralling it is very difficult to control. We are, nevertheless, in no doubt that subverting the Russian economy is necessary to make Putin feel the squeeze and seek some face-saving escape that takes the pressure off Ukraine. It's not likely a quick fix so the collateral damage to Western economies will continue a while. This is the price of freedom - one that the civilised nations of the world are prepared to pay whilst they can. Some canny governance is universally required here.
But it would be a mistake to underestimate the manic madness of Putin. He is dangerous. His apparatchiks are fearful of him and under those circumstances rational and logical behaviour is absent. This crisis will last some time, perhaps long after the Ukrainian part in this is passed - and we should prepare for that.