AS the drive to war increases, the area of permitted debate, alas, decreases. Though we may already have passed the tipping point, I trust there is still space in your columns for a dissenting voice on the seemingly relentless drive to a wider war in Ukraine.

Those calling for a fight until the last Nato-equipped and financed Ukrainian soldier has "liberated" the Russian-occupied Donbas (the bulk of whose ethnic Russian population have little wish to be liberated by Kiev) should pause for thought. What are they defending and what would be the consequences of such a policy?

First, they are defending a regime that came to power in 2014 after the overthrow of an elected pro-Russian government in Ukraine. The Nato-backed coup was carried out with the active participation of ultra right-wing groups like the Azov Legion which committed UN-documented atrocities from Odessa to the Donbas itself. Kiev then entered into a binding international agreement at Minsk to respect the political, cultural and other rights of the Russian minority in the Ukraine.

This was an agreement it had no intention of keeping and with Nato backing, did not keep. It is clear that had Kiev respected the Minsk Agreements there would have been no invasion and no war in 2022. None of these facts feature in the Nato-dominated western media narrative, which is a fairy tale of a Russian ogre menacing a Ukranian Prince Charming.

Nato was determined to continue the successful "roll-back" policy initiated after its original formation, which first led to the demise of the USSR and then to the incorporation of its former sphere of influence in eastern Europe – despite promises to the contrary – made to post-Soviet Russia.

The war's initial cause was the Russian invasion last year, but its ultimate cause was and is the eastward expansionist policy of the US and its European allies since the end of the Cold War. Nato miscalculated, thinking Russia would, as it had since 1990, acquiesce; then Putin miscalculated thinking conquering Ukraine would be a pushover. So, one year on, we have a situation which no one foresaw, or could have done: a long-drawn-out, grinding war.

The consequences of aiming for a "defeat" of Russia are clear. For Russia this war is, and has been stated by its political and military leaders to be, existential; that is, they will most probably use nuclear weapons to prevent Russian military defeat.

If Nato continues to limitlessly fund and arm Kiev with the intention of the reconquest of the Donbas, nuclear war becomes a very high probability. Donbas is not worth Armageddon. A ceasefire, and peace negotiations without preconditions, is the only way that a catastrophe can be avoided.
Ian R Mitchell, Glasgow

Let's salute the real DRS

I DO wish people would stop referring to the Deposit Return Scheme as the DRS. The real DRS is Direct Rail Services, which operates 75 diesel-electric and 10 bi-mode locomotives the length and breadth of Britain.

If you drive the A9 you will likely see a DRS loco hauling a train of containers for Tesco. DRS is also responsible for moving all our nuclear fuel, some passenger services, snow clearance, some track maintenance, and rescue "Thunderbird" diesels which are vital when electric trains stop working.

It has depots at Carlisle, Crewe, Sellafield and Motherwell. Unlike the Deposit Return Scheme which is unnecessary and a drain on resources, DRS is a vital part of our infrastructure and has a healthy balance sheet.
William Loneskie, Lauder

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Can't we all cheer up?

ANENT the Letters Pages on Saturday (March 4) ... dearie me, what a bunch of weary willies and depressives there are.

From “giving up on my dream of independence" to “SNP running out of road” to “Wake up to sleeper fears” the tone was just terrible.

But then I read the letter from Thelma Edwards, where she describes the small but many ways that bring "joy snacks". That fair cheered me up and indeed made my day.

If the majority of the rest of your contributors had an ounce of that sort of approach and attitude then this country would be a happier, more equal and more prosperous place.

Jings, now I’m starting to describe Scotland post-independence.
George Archibald, West Linton

Showing their mettle

ROBERT Jeffrey’s entertaining piece ("Rattling sound of type, ink-stained aprons and smell of oil... the era of hot metal was full of fun", The Herald, March 4) reminded me of a school trip to the then Daily Express building in Albion Street in the hot metal days. We were told as we arrived that if a big story broke we were out the door, which luckily didn’t happen.

I remember the press hall with the noise of the giant Goss presses and the smells of ink and oil. The typesetters made a "slug" (I think that’s the correct term) of our names which we got to take home.
Stuart Neville, Clydebank

Say cheese for peace

RE the correspondence on Latin: Back in the Middle Ages, a young man from Glasgow was a novice in a monastery about 50 leagues south of the Dear Green Place.

One morning he was bidding farewell to a small group of travellers and he asked them where they were headed. They replied that they were hoping to reach the next monastery to the north before nightfall and asked if it was far away. The novice informed them that it would be a full day’s journey, and, handing them some bread and cheese, added: “You’d better take a piece with you.”

At this point, the Abbot passed by, silently approved of the Scot’s actions, and resolved to translate the young man’s words into Latin. However, the Abbot had heard only the last three words of what the novice had said.

The foregoing is, allegedly, the scenario which introduced to the world the Latin phrase/blessing with which this letter ends.

Pax vobiscum.
Al Cowie, Milton of Campsie

Love all

ROBIN Johnson’s letter (March 4) on declining Latin verbs brought back some pleasant memories. I was fortunate to be educated at a time when state schools were allowed to teach Classics. I do remember that as I declined the imperfect singular tense, amabam, amabas, amabat, I decided that, on reflection, the last alternative was probably the best one.
Angus Hazle, Paisley

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