Putin’s answer to break Ukrainian resistance in the cities, that have witnessed unrelenting bombardment by Russian artillery, is to enlist the support of some 16,000 Syrian mercenaries, men who are seasoned urban fighters with a reputation for ruthlessness. Such combatants will use brutal methods to dislodge pockets of stubborn Ukrainian city-dwelling militia, with the Syrians posing a distinct threat of employing chemical weapons, something the Assad regime did with impunity except for the one laudable stand made by President Trump. Putin will, of course, distance himself from the behaviour of the Syrians, but since he is paying these mercenaries, responsibility for their actions is with the hireling. The need for careful monitoring of the these urban fighters is essential if the West is to have a credible claim of atrocities being committed by the invaders. Embedded journalists are well placed to record any war crimes. Whether the international community will hold Putin to account, remains to be seen.
Sucking in foreign mercenaries to fight Russia’s war raises important questions as to whether the Ukrainians should do the same, funded by the West. There must be many veterans that would willingly volunteer to support Ukraine’s struggle. This could tip the balance in Ukraine’s favor, and show the West is prepared to become involved as proxies, a role that has been a defining characteristic of the Cold War. Providing weapons and general aid to Ukraine is helpful but she needs specialist soldiers that can counter the Syrian threat.
The latest US opinion poll suggests 25 percent of Americans feel President Biden is incapable of dealing with crises. Certainly, his leadership to date is lacklustre, to be charitable, and what with dither and public announcements that leave his aids scratching their heads, the Free World should, rightly, question the man’s ability to inspire confidence. It doesn’t matter whether the President of the United States is Democrat or Republican, what matters is whether he is decisive, has very able advisers, and can rally his nation and allies to oppose tyranny. Surely the USA, that has a wealth of talent, can find a man or woman who has outstanding leadership qualities, intelligence and a breadth of knowledge of international affairs. Where are tomorrow’s leaders?