THE main focus in the news this week has naturally been the evacuation of European residents from the conflict in Sudan. Meanwhile all is quiet on the Ukraine front and it is slipping down the news agenda.

There is an eerie silence punctuated by ever-increasing whispers becoming more resonant in diplomatic circles that a compromise to end hostilities should be on the cards.

No doubt the countries which have been providing weaponry for Ukraine to prosecute the engagement with Russia are congratulating themselves that the conflict has been contained within the borders of Ukraine and has not escalated. War weariness is taking its toll on the energy and enthusiasm of those countries which are also feeling the pinch in the drain on their military material.

War-hardened the Ukrainians certainly are despite the severe damage to their country's infrastructure, the heavy losses to their forces and the displacement of large elements of their population.

Are we in the period of calm before the spring offensive or are we about to see crushed the hopes of President Zelenskyy, whose aim has been to retake any territory lost to the Russians, who have also endured massive losses in troops and heavy weaponry?

The allies of Ukraine have been happy to see it bear the brunt of this attritional war without it spilling across borders but now there is a whiff of betrayal in the air which could well disillusion that brave country in the trust it has placed in those who have cheered them from the sidelines without endangering themselves.

It will amount to a betrayal if a treaty is mooted to allow Russia to retain the territory it has taken and Ukraine is left with no more than 85 per cent of its nation under its control.

Just think of the effects that will have on the morale of the Ukrainians and the former satellite states of what was once the Soviet Union which Putin dreams of resurrecting as he nears the end of his days.

If there is no line drawn in the sand to deter Russia from its reconquest of its former satellites, then Nato and the West will lose face when it cobbles together a treaty which temporarily brings the fighting to an end as though a lasting solution has been found.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

McCarthyist stench abounds

JOHN Russell (Letters, April 23) states that the police are part of the Scottish Government – they are not; they are distinct and separate. He claims their investigation against the SNP is understandable and appropriate. Understandable, yes. Appropriate, absolutely not.

I was born in 1949 and have never seen the likes of this police investigation into any party in my lifetime, in spite of every political party at one time or another having received donations of extreme dubiety, whether from Russian oligarchs, crooks, City financiers or just “dark money” with no visible trail.

The City of London has become notorious as the global laundromat for dirty money, and some of it has undoubtedly leached into Parliament. None of this has seen the type of investigation that has happened in Scotland.

Why worry? We know that the security services launched operations against the SNP in the 1950s, and placed “their” people into the police and trade unions in the 1960s to curb their advance (the SNP files were locked away for 50 years by the Wilson government). I have served in the armed forces of this country and would agree that “spooks” would not be doing their job if the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Corbyn Labour Party et al, were not infiltrated/monitored by the British state, but it is fair to ask if this unique police operation is more a political operation than a financial investigation.

In a liberal democracy, it is important for the media to stand above the fray and ask those with power pertinent questions about the misuse of that power against minorities (Scots wishing self-government in this case), but in Scotland our media is quiescent, if not actually complicit, with Scotland’s “other Government” seldom being bothered by Scottish journalists.

With regard to the McCarthyist stench that now pervades Scotland, its politics and media, I wish to state:“I am not now and never have been a member of the Scottish National Party or otherwise affiliated with it”.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Read more: SNP is the victim of a ruthless campaign

Scale back devolution

THERE is genuine justification for a reduction in devolved powers in Scotland as our education, NHS and ferry services are in a dire state after many years of SNP minority government.

This would be a logical step towards giving local authorities more power in Scotland and dissolving the grossly expensive and ineffective Holyrood experiment.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

How King can make good

THE upcoming display of regalia, pomposity and obscene amounts of money spent on the Coronation of Charlie in May has me planning some kind of escape.

Here’s an idea to endear you to your plebs, sorry, subjects, Charlie: how about melting down that ton of gold on four wheels, donating the two £1:8 million flats in Edinburgh that mummy gave you (given to her by a grateful pleb), the undisclosed profits from the sale of biscuits and tat from the Duchy to all the homeless and desperate people in these islands?

I can hear the calls already of "off with her head” . As you have guessed, I’m not a royalist. A quote from James Connolly says it all: "A people mentally poisoned by adulation of Monarchy can never attain that spirit of self-reliant democracy."

Veronica Nelson, Edinburgh.

Tokenism for Scotland

YOU report that the “Scottish coronation” service planned for after the Westminster ceremony will be “similar to the thanksgiving service held on 1953 during the late Queen’s first visit to Scotland following her coronation" ("King Charles coronation: Special Scottish service planned, heraldscotland, April 23). If so, no amount of clever PR or linguistic sophistry will make it in any sense whatsoever a coronation.

For the event in 1953, the Private Secretary to the Sovereign, Sir Alan Lascelles, and Sir Austin Strutt, senior official at the Home Office, decided that as Scotland ceased to exist from 1707, all efforts should be made to avoid the event being considered “a coronation”. Therefore when the Honours of Scotland were brought forward, the Queen's acknowledgement was by touching them before they were removed.

What is planned is little more than ritualistic tokenism, being no less limited and just as removed from a coronation as the original event on which it is based.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

China pot calls kettle black

THE Chinese Ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, says that the Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are not necessarily sovereign because he knows of no international treaty of recognition.

The necessary treaties were signed for the peoples of Russia and of each Baltic state in 1991. The opinions of no other nations are necessary. Neither has opinion subsequently changed in the nations freed in 1991.

Indeed no international treaty recognised Russian annexation of the Baltic states in 1939. That was made possible by the pact between Hitler and Stalin, which only mentioned what would happen to Poland, but enabled both dictators to grab anything else within reach.

Mr Lu also thinks the jurisdiction over Crimea depends on opinion. Luckily it does not depend on his opinion. The opinions of Crimeans can only be consulted after the war, because referenda imposed by occupying armies cannot be taken seriously.

I personally hope that internationally-supervised referenda will eventually take place to find out what Russian speakers outside Russia want. It is one of Putin’s most persistent lies that Russian speakers necessarily want him.

I should also explain for Mr Lu that the Chinese Communist Party and its leaders have no legitimacy as rulers of China, because the Chinese people never chose them.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.

Read more: Stop the indy distraction. The SNP's time is up

The purpose of net zero

DEBATES over global warming and dealing with builders have something in common. In both cases, we have to assess the claims of people who know much more than we do ourselves. With tradesmen, we manage to do it. There is no reason why the same can’t apply to the scientists and others active in the climate debate.

The greens were prophesying doom and demanding that we live a much poorer life before global warming. The 1972 book Limits to Growth predicted worldwide famine, catastrophic environmental degradation and population collapse. The book was based on computer models developed at MIT, then as now one of the world’s top ten universities.

When the claims of Limits to Growth proved to be bunk, the greens looked around for a new catastrophe to scare us with and settled on anthropogenic global warming (AGW). They and bandwagoning politicians repeatedly gave us deadlines to change our behaviour or catastrophe would ensue. Deadline after deadline passed and the world went on much as before.

So they changed the name from AGW to climate change. The beauty of the new name is that greens can point to any weather that is an outlier from average and sagely claim it as evidence of climate change. The threat is so vague and general that it is not a scientific theory capable of testing.

We, who contribute only a very modest part of human carbon dioxide output, are to decarbonise our society, while the Chinese, the Indians and others build thousands of new coal-fired power stations. The inevitable conclusion is that the purpose of "zero carbon" is to effect revolutionary change in Western societies rather than to "save the planet".

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.