I write in response to the letter from Mr Trueman published in the County Times of March 18th in which he urges some understanding of Putin’s position in his invasion of Ukraine.

Whilst Mr Trueman’s argument has plausibility it lacks the wider view. Russia is indeed surrounded by other states, as are most states on the globe, and Mr Putin may well feel threatened but whether that feeling is justified is questionable.

The Munroe Doctrine Mr Trueman writes of was developed in the nineteenth century by the USA to tell European powers, especially Spain, to keep its nose out of Latin America. NATO, on the other hand, was developed in the aftermath of the second world war specifically as a defensive alliance against Russian expansionism in Europe; the emphasis being on the word defensive.

Whilst there is a logic in maintaining eastern European states, freed in 1991 from Russian domination, as a neutral buffer zone between Russia and the West such an agreement would depend on those states trusting Russia to leave them alone to develop as independent states with the governance their populous sees fit to elect.

There won’t be many Ukrainians alive today who remember the Russian induced famine that resulted in up to ten million Ukrainian deaths in the thirties but there may be some Poles alive today who recall Stalin murdering the entire officer corps of the Polish army in 1940 just in case they led resistance to Russian occupation but it is more likely that there are still Hungarians around today who remember the brutality with which Russia put down their bid for independence in 1956. And I certainly remember Russian assassins stalking the streets of Salisbury just a few years ago.

Could any east European states be expected to trust Russia’s intentions?

Mr Trueman contents that “There is no one in Russia who wants to kill me.” But, Mr Trueman, some of them would if Putin told them to.

There are some problems in the world that have no satisfactory solutions and the aspirations of the megalomaniac that is Putin to be a second Peter the Great is one of them.

Brian Ashley