Vladimir Putin and his sycophants have recently started threatening the US with possible repossession of Alaska, which Tsar Alexander II sold to the US under the Alaska Treaty of Cessation in 1867.
But of course, Putin has no regard for treaties or other international agreements, such as the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, under which Russia guaranteed Ukraine’s security in exchange for Ukraine surrendering its former Soviet nuclear weapons to Russia.
The bombing of the Maternity Hospital No. 3 in Mariupol and the horrors of Yablunska Street in Bucha, among a litany of other atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine, disambiguate Russia’s position on the Geneva Convention, if there had been any lingering doubts after Grozny and Aleppo.
Putin has been heralded as the ‘Great Chess Master’, but just as he failed to predict the response of the West and Nato to his invasion of Ukraine, he again seems not to have thought two moves ahead.
Is he really going to open the Pandora’s box that is historical territorial claims? That would seem remarkably myopic for the leader of a sprawling and now economically and militarily-crippled empire comprising well over 100 subjugated nationalities. Furthermore, it has potential land disputes with several powerful neighbours.
By his own logic, Turkey could claim Crimea, which the Ottomans lost through war to Catherine the Great, while Germany may wish to claim Kaliningrad Oblast, formerly East Prussia, which was lost to the Soviet Union at the end of World War II.
More worrying, Japan has recently revived its claim over the southern Kuril Islands, while there are also restive forces in China that lay claim to Vladivostok. But even more importantly, Russia just needs to stop behaving as the schoolyard bully.
Mullagh, Co Cavan
It’s that time of year again in Northern Ireland. Thousands of pallets, costing tens of thousands of pounds, have been gathered and will be erected to form leaning towers of hatred with flags and burning effigies atop.
Imagine if that time, energy, enthusiasm and money was spent building up civic spirit and good cross-commmunity relations?
Carrowmore, Co Sligo
Several questions must be raised about the annual stupidity of July 12 bonfires. As even reclaimed timber pallets cost about €4, these huge mounds must cost several thousands of pounds. Some new pallets are burnt too, which raises the figure considerably.
These timber mountains are built with absolutely no safety considerations, often in close proximity to houses or apartments, and this year one man died during construction of a very big bonfire.
Where are the police, fire officers and council workers when these monstrosities are being erected over the many weeks it takes to build the really large ones?
Why are nationalist effigies and the tricolour burnt without punishment? The answer to all of these, and other relevant questions is: It’s Northern Ireland, stupid!
Justice Minister Helen McEntee’s increased funding for the reduction of domestic violence will be seen in many quarters as some way towards reducing the risk of violence within the family household.
While Ireland ranks 93rd in the world for domestic and sexual violence, according to the United Nations Statistics Division, we cannot be laid-back in our approach to fighting this hidden scourge.
One approach to combat harm to women and children would be adopting legislation similar to that of ‘Clare’s Law’ in the UK. This would essentially allow people to request information on a partner from the police.
Women or partners concerned by the behaviour of their partner would be able to find out if they have a history of abusive behaviour.
If this was implemented, it would probably help reduce incidents of domestic or sexual violence.
Many women are afraid to progress their concerns through the court system. Others may withdraw for a variety of reasons, including lack of supports, concern for their children and promises made by an abusive partner that they will mend their ways.
By adopting a ‘Clare’s Law’ in this jurisdiction, it may go some way to protecting women or partners by give them the tools to make an informed decision.
Letterkenny, Co Donegal