Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

The Sunday Post view: The crimes of Vladimir Putin cannot, will not, go unpunished

Post Thumbnail

There have not been a lot of laughs in the last few weeks.

Sure, Matt Hancock did his bit to lift the national mood with his big interview but there are only so many times – 27 or so – you can titter at a grown man in a turtle neck burbling about love, love and turtle doves before feeling a little squeamish.

So, thank goodness for Alex Salmond. A former first minister of Scotland most recently seen on Russia Today, the Kremlin’s broadcasting sock puppet, until even he realised the jig was up. Seconds before the authorities finally reached for the plug, Salmond announced his media company would pause his show to help it concentrate on world peace.

“That certainly is our focus, and therefore Slàinte Media have decided to suspend The Alex Salmond Show until that can be secured,” he solemnly averred, presumably just before calling the Kremlin to give Putin the hard word.

It is the kind of pomp and hubris that has been tickling our ribs for years now but last week the former FM, clearly believing he was on to something, was at it again. You would need a heart of stone not to laugh.

With the world waiting, he stopped putting balls into a toothbrush glass to tweet his fears that Nicola Sturgeon did not understand Scotland’s place in a world at war after the first minister suggested the West should not categorically rule out a no-fly zone over Ukraine, now and forever.

More in pity than anger, Salmond tut-tutted: “In every international conflict for the last 60 years, the national movement in Scotland has stood for de-escalation and peace, not escalation and Armageddon. Thus ‘keeping an open mind’ on enforcing a no-fly zone is contemplating direct armed conflict between nuclear powers. Nicola should reflect.”

Whatever Nicola is reflecting on during these difficult, dark times, it will almost certainly not be what her predecessor thinks of what she says or what she does.

True, she may not have been speaking for Salmond or other erstwhile RT presenters but she was voicing the unspoken fear of many Scots: “If the sanctions are not slowing Putin, how much of this horror can we watch before saying enough? How many maternity hospitals can we watch being bombed before saying no more?”

Analysts differ in their assessment of Putin. Some say he only needs an off-ramp, that the West must build a “golden bridge” to a peace deal that saves face in the Kremlin and gives him an out. Others, who sadly seem more convinced and convincing, suggest the Russian leader is not interested and will not stop until he has Ukraine, all of it, even if, by then, it is a desert, boundless and bare.

Today, the horror is unfathomable, the misery incalculable but what is untenable is the gnawing fear that a few years from now, Putin will have Ukraine and the rest of the world will have only an uneasy conscience. The atrocities committed cannot, will not, be forgotten. The savagery inflicted on civilians, ordinary men, women and children, cannot, will not, be forgiven.

And the terrible war crimes of Vladimir Putin cannot, will not, go unpunished.