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Stephen Harper, escalating his tough line on Moscow, warned this week that 'It's increasingly apparent to me that the Cold War has never left Vladimir Putin's mind.' Readers, print and digital, take the measure of Russia's actions in Ukraine


It is not our problem. The Prime Minister should stand down. He believes he has the backing of Canada's citizens. From what I've seen, he has none.

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Mike Cunning, Ajax, Ont.


If we do not stand by to help Ukraine, could we honestly expect other countries to help us?

Canada might not have the military power to go toe to toe with Russia, but we do present a formidable economic threat, as we are direct and growing competitors in the energy market. We can stand by our U.S. and EU allies in support of Ukraine, while at the same time offering a credible medium- to long-term alternative to Russian oil and gas in the EU and Ukraine.

Benjamin Carey, Kingston


Stephen Harper rips into Vladimir Putin's energy-based "one-dimensional" economy, his pitiful failures in governance and transparency of information, his politics of division, his alienation of youth, and his failure to work together with his opponents.

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Doesn't our PM realize that the same description applies to him?

Judith Ince, Vancouver


As soon as the president of Ukraine was deposed and formally asked for Russian help, it should have been obvious what steps Russia was going to take to protect both its western borders and Black Sea fleet headquarters.

Does anyone genuinely think that if another referendum were called, under UN or Ukrainian supervision, that the popular will of the vast majority of Crimeans would not be to rejoin Russia?

There is simply no going back for the Russians. So we have a clear choice to make: Enter into reasonable negotiations in order to fully secure the eastern borders of Ukraine – other than Crimea – or continue to goad and escalate our way back into the Cold War and even military conflict.

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The long, hard lessons learned in the Cold War of how to strategically handle such dangerous situations appear to have been largely forgotten. Evidently, NATO had no contingency plans for the inevitable Russian reaction to the uprising in Ukraine.

Russia remains a formidable nuclear power. We need to stop the rhetoric and adversarial posturing and develop balanced and realistic deescalation strategies.

Cdr. David Newing, Royal Navy (UK, retired), Chelsea, Que.


If we interfere in the internal affairs of other nations, for whatever reason, what is to stop other countries from meddling in ours? Why then couldn't France help Quebec separate? Western countries are hilarious hypocrites.

Mark MacCuish, Calgary

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The sanctions against Russia will have an impact here as well. Bombardier is negotiating a $3.4-billion (U.S.) plane deal with Russia, talks have slowed since the Crimean mess started.

Job Action Plan anyone?

Pierre Bédard, Ottawa


Vladimir Putin's moves are more than a "war without weapons," more than rhetoric. His soldiers are armed. With additional military support for the mobilization of troops, he has gone well beyond using words to realize Russia's ambitions in the region.

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While the West employs words as its weapons, the Russian Bear has been awakened and is aggressively on the move, using the military to meet its national objectives.

Alexander Romanovich, deputy chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's parliament, is attempting to disguise the reality of Russia's actions by placing the emphasis on a "war without weapons," on words. He is clever, knowing perfectly well how to use the party line to manipulate the West.

Frank Marchese, Toronto


Since the 1990s, when Boris Yeltsin presided over the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR, a disastrous downturn in the Russian economy and a shrinking of the pre-1991 Soviet zone of influence, NATO has steadily expanded.

In 1999, three former Warsaw Pact members joined NATO. In 2004, seven more former Soviet-bloc nations did the same. Russia's fears of being surrounded by Western-armed, hostile countries can well be understood.

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The most important means to break this pattern is for NATO to guarantee that Ukraine will never be a NATO member. That would help considerably to scale down the crisis.

Larry Hannant, Victoria


The West gambled and lost. Instead of waiting for the next democratic Ukrainian election to oust the current corrupt leader in a long line of corrupt leaders, the West encouraged a coup – the same shameful strategy America exercised in Iran in the 1950s and more recently in Egypt.

The Ukrainian constitution was abandoned when the coup in Kiev succeeded. The Russians seized this opportunity, then moved their chess piece with a referendum in Crimea. The end result of this chess game: Russia gets the Crimea, its naval base and an increase in gas revenue by rescinding the subsidy that the Ukraine was receiving.

The West, as the loser, gets a basket-case nation, still full of corruption, and $35-billion, conservatively speaking, in debt.

Wait till the people of the EU, Britain, America and yes, even Canada, realize that some of their hard-earned tax dollars, through the IMF, ultimately will be going into Russian coffers when Ukraine spends them to buy Russian gas at an even a higher price.

As Vladimir Putin surely is saying: Checkmate.

Larry J. Samoil, Nanoose Bay, B.C.


We can't stand by and let other people invade countries with no consequences. Those who say otherwise are the same type who sat idly by during every other invasion and massacre in history, only to complain later about how tragic it was.

Jonathan Lerner, Vancouver


ON REFLECTION Letters to the editor

How and when we die

Having watched my father suffer with Parkinson's through 15 years of progressive debilitation, I wonder why the right to choose is not extended to how and when we die (MP Seeks To Change Law On Assisted Suicide – March 28).

There is a huge gap between the repulsive concept of euthanasia and the status quo, where the terminally ill are forced to spend their last days in severe pain, without dignity, to the distress of loved ones.

I know how my father felt.

He expressed it quite clearly.

Jon Nicholls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.


We many never know

Re Objects Spotted In New Missing Jet Search Area (March 27): In the age of instant communication, news is posted as events unfold, so information changes constantly as we wait to figure out the whole story.

We all want to know what happened to Flight 370 right now, but that's not how it will happen. It may be years, not hours or days – if we ever do know. Chances are, like Air France Flight 447, when we do, the real story will be far from what we imagined.

Tess LaPensée, Peterborough, Ont.


Disappointed by Chow's no-show

Should Olivia Chow become Toronto's mayor, she'll have to represent all of us and our varied points of view, some of which she may disagree with (Tory Takes Shots In Debate At Ford's Controversial Past – March 28).

You report she had concerns about the "moderator's neutrality" at the mayoral debate held at Ryerson University. However, bowing out of the debate was unacceptable. Democracy requires that our leaders listen to all their constituents.

I am deeply disappointed with her decision.

Aaron Caplan, Toronto


Wary of overtures on PMO

Re Progress on Democratic Reform (editorial, March 27): I took part in a Let People Vote rally this week to push for changes to the perversely named Fair Elections Act, which would censor Elections Canada and make it harder to vote. In light of what that act is trying to do, I hope Canadians are highly skeptical of Conservative claims to entertain Michael Chong's move to diminish the PMO's power. There is a danger they'll save face by nominally agreeing with the reform bill while interfering with its efficacy.

Victoria Cate May Burton, Halifax

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