President Putin has defended his “unprovoked” full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday by saying that there was no other way to defend Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has released a statement saying that 137 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have died as a result of the attack.
A female audience member on BBC’s Question Time programme told the panel that “Putin is Hitler with nuclear weapons.”
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world with over 6,000 weapons.
In an address to those siding with Ukraine, the Russian President warned that those who “interfere” will “face consequences greater than any you have faced in history”, which many people believe is in reference to nuclear warfare.
The audience member added: “I’m scared, are any of you scared?”
Presenter Fiona Bruce directed the questions to Timothy Garton Ash, an historian, author, and Professor of European studies at Oxford University.
The Professor’s work focuses on communist regimes in central and eastern Europe.
Professor Garton Ash replied: “We should all be scared, and we should be prepared for much more threatening behaviour coming our way.
“You know, we keep making the same mistake. We keep thinking this stuff is happening over in Eastern Europe and it’s not going to affect us.
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He wrote: “Now we have done it again, not waking up until it is too late to the full implications of Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea in 2014.”
When discussing the response of Ukraine’s allies, the Professor noted that there is a challenge that comes with the use of sanctions and that further issues need to be addressed such as Russian money in London.
He said: “Sanctions are slow, they need to be comprehensive, and the other point made was a very good one, very often the loopholes in sanctions are enormous, they take time to work so I think it’s important we are putting on these sanctions.”
However, the historian warned that “London has been far too hospitable to people in a broad circle around Putin.”