COMMENTS made by Vladimir Putin in the last few days about what he clearly sees as his destiny has caused great concern for all people including those in Russia.

In a consummate display of megalomania he compared himself to Peter the Great and said that he wished to take back all land that was previously Russia’s. He also seemed to suggest that there were some countries that are destined to be conquerors and those that are destined to be colonies.

Gone were the spurious justifications about denazifying Ukraine. Now we had a full-on imperialist empire building philosophy on display for all to see.

It's clear that Putin wants to resurrect in some way the old Russian empire.

This is not the same as the Soviet Union because pre-1918 Russia contained the three Baltic republics, Finland and Poland. All of these countries, bar Finland which is applying, are now of course NATO members.

Putin's imperialist ambitions seemed to extend beyond Ukraine now to subjugating people in other European countries. Only this week one of his loyal supporters suggested derecognising Lithuania.

Those who know their history will see that there are some parallels here  with 1930s Germany. Putin seems to suggest that there are some people who are destined to be conquerors i.e., superior and those who are inferior.

This carries echoes of the Nazi description of some people as Untermensch, people who were inferior to the master race. Although Russia is not yet run by Nazis, that comment carries uncomfortable echoes of racism.

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The Russian armed forces gained a great deal of practice in their dark arts in Syria just as the German armed forces got their practice in Spain.

Just like Hitler, Putin is suggesting that all speakers of his language should come under his personal authority. He invaded part of Ukraine in 2014 and annexed it, just like Hitler did with the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. And just as Hitler went on to invade the whole of Czechoslovakia and then Poland so Putin is doing the same with Ukraine.

The unanswered question is where will he stop? Any sane person would know that in any confrontation with NATO forces Russia is bound to lose.

They are massively outnumbered population wise, and their weaponry is inferior.

I suspect that what Putin will try to do next after his invasion of Ukraine is to probe NATO, possibly by looking to threaten Lithuania.

He will bank on NATO countries being weary of conflict and therefore reluctant to intervene to protect one of their own members. A failure to do so would of course mean the end of NATO. It's one in all in or nothing.

Russia's actions in Ukraine also carry uncomfortable echoes of the ethnic cleansing that took place in Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

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We have seen millions of refugees fleeing from areas of conflict and the Russians have not hesitated to destroy as much as possible in the areas they have attacked.

Take Severodonetsk, for example, where history is literally being erased there as the Russians adopt a scorched earth policy to remove all traces of the city's existence. This is no ordinary war; it is a war of forcible removal of populations and the deliberate destruction of as much as possible .

This is why it makes perfect sense for Finland and Sweden to apply to join NATO. Neutrality means nothing in a world where Russia is so aggressive.

At one point the Russians were even menacing Ireland with incursions into Irish waters.

Ireland’s neutrality meant absolutely nothing to them and perhaps the time is coming for the people of Ireland to consider whether neutrality is a viable option in the modern world.

If Putin was trying to weaken NATO, he has so far done the exact opposite and brought NATO even closer to his borders than before, but this is not a calculating, chess playing leader we are dealing with it is somebody who is using a military bulldozer in order to entrench his own warped view of history.

Through all this we have seen some on the far left in politics who have been equivocal about Russia's invasion.

It's too easy for them because of their anti-Americanism, to try and find other reasons rather than Russian expansionism for the invasion of Ukraine.

I have seen some try to suggest Ukraine is indeed run by Nazis and the Russians are simply trying to remove them from the country. I have seen others who keep on equating Russia with NATO.

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They rightly call for Russian troops to be withdrawn immediately but they also equate that with opposing NATO expansion as if NATO was in some way to blame for the activities of the Russian army.

This is simply wrong, countries join NATO because they feel threatened and they want security, they are not forced to do so.

NATO does not invade countries with a view to getting them to join. There is no equivalence between the current actions of the Russian government and the understandable desire of countries to join a large security organisation to protect them from invasion.

The world is entering a difficult period where people are rightly concerned about the threat to world peace. But let's be clear, this is all because of one man and his imperialist designs on countries around him. Let's hope that we are not staring at the 1930s all over again.

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