“No one loves the messenger who brings bad news,” ― Sophocles.

Someone, said to be a close friend of Vladimir Putin and a member of the Russian Parliament’s Defence Committee, is reported as saying that London will be taken out by a nuclear attack.

Now what am I supposed to make of that? I have combed the newspapers and the Internet for indications of what it all means. Living not far from London should I start digging a bomb proof underground shelter or get out of the country? Answer came there none.

One thing is certain: if I choose to run then Germany should be my first choice and France the second. Andrew Gurulyov, advocating, so it is reported, the invasion of the NATO Baltic countries seems to have made a clear point that Russia would not start World War Three in Warsaw, Paris or Berlin. Curiously both Berlin and Paris have been reportedly reluctant to join in sanctions against Russia.

He is quoted as saying: “it is crystal clear that the threat to the world comes from the Anglo Saxons”. Everyone should note that this remark almost certainly includes the United States. Curiously, aside from finding any intelligent official analysis on the day of the reports I could find no official reaction,

I grew up in days when any Russian threat would be met by similar ones from both America and Britain. I have commented before that if asked to have another pint it was once common for people to look at their watches and remark “Why not, we’ve got at least 15 minutes", that being the estimated time between a nuclear attack warning and being blasted into eternity.

As previously stated it has long been my opinion that the Ukraine invasion came because Putin and his hierarchy misjudged the determination of Ukraine but also misjudged the extent to which European countries would go to support their determination to be free. With Britain, or “London”, lately described as being the leading supporter.

From the reaction to the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014 Putin can be forgiven for misjudging the west. In fact he did not wholly misjudge the reaction. Russian oligarchs had permeated western business society and infiltrated government and the media. The EU was divided - Brexit being the most dramatic disagreement. Germany was until recently and perhaps still is deeply involved in Russian business. France has continued to display a national interest in finding a diplomatic solution to Ukraine’s problems. Russia, as Stalin once had, wants control of Europe’s food basket.

NATO has been bogged down by similar unity problems, its members being divided on what should or should not be done. America has its domestic problems and while willing to send arms to Ukraine has shown a surprisingly distant take on the prospect of World War Three. Surprisingly the USA is not directly referred to in Gurulyov’s reported comments although, as stated above, presumably they would be included in his reference to Anglo-Saxons.

There lies the clue. Putin and his associates do not want to see the United KIngdom leading NATO nor, for that matter, getting closer to the European Union it just left. The warning from Gurulyov almost coincided with EU summit discussions that included French President Macron’s proposal for a European Political Community that could include the UK.

A key NATO summit takes place in Madrid next week and threats to wipe out London will no doubt be high on the agenda. Europe and the North Atlantic Alliance appear in some reports to be healing their differences and talking about unity. But it is taking a long time.

Meanwhile the threats such as they are do not appear to be generating much, or any, response if the media is to be believed. Perhaps it is inappropriate for NATO countries to respond to Russian threats. But then is it appropriate to give such statements from top officials huge publicity without rationalisation?

According to the news, America is focussed solely on abortion and the EU is divided and lacking direction. Russians close to their leadership threaten to invade Lithuania and Baltic NATO countries which technically would start World War Three with little if any western reaction. Which suggests to me a third option probably more appropriate than the two I mentioned at the start.

It is to live each day as my last and stop believing anything I read or hear in the media.

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Chris White

Chris White

Chris White is a former UK national newspaper journalist and was the founder and editor of a magazine focussed on EU affairs.

Now writing for EUToday, Chris has his own column, 'Chris's Corner'.

Chris is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, a professional association for journalists, the senior such body in the UK and the oldest in the world, having been founded in October 1884

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