A chara,

I write to you in relation to the war in Ukraine and how it relates to the everyday people of Waterford. There are two realities we must face.

Firstly, Russia is winning this war. As Bakmut falls, the remaining territory east of the Dnieper river will almost certainly be consumed by the Russian war machine. From there, recapturing the Donbass and Crimea becomes an impossibility and will likely lead to a partitioning of the country. The rhetoric of Ukrainian victory only serves to cost the lives of countless Ukrainians and Russians. Meanwhile, the Minsk peace agreements gather dust on a shelf.

Secondly, the EU sanctions on Russia are not working. Even the IMF projects that its’ economy will experience slight growth in 2023 while painting a less rosy picture for European economies. Russia has simply opened new lucrative markets in the Global South, rendering sanctions impotent, and landing EU states with massively increased energy costs.

These facts – among many, many more – have been largely obscured to the Irish people by both its’ elected representatives and media in equal measure.

But the reader may ask: “Why is this important to us in Ireland?”

I suggest that the Irish public’s support for this war is dependent on shrouding the real horror suffered by Ukrainians and convincing us that they can defeat the superpower Russia.

I also suggest that the ordinary person in the street would strongly protest the continuing sanctions against Russia if they believed that they do nothing but hurt EU citizens. (Just look at your most recent ESB bill!)

Finally, may I suggest if the nuances of this conflict and its’ complex origins were widely known, then the reasoned, compassionate position taken by Sabrina Higgins last year – calling an immediate ceasefire and negotiations – would resonate resoundingly with Irish people? Our ‘leaders’ would be forced to promote diplomacy over further bloodshed.

Instead, the wanton suffering wrought upon the most unfortunate will continue while the world’s political and military elites play their power games. Mrs Higgins’ plea for negotiations will likely be ignored. Ukraine will lose what negotiating leverage it has, as Russia pushes forward and the US neoconservative eye turns towards China.

Is mise,
Fergal McDonnell
Co Tipperary