Ukraine invasion: History proves Russian President Putin will not succeed in invading Ukraine

What have I learned regarding the events in Ukraine? Never ever be surprised, always expect the unexpected.

By errol edwards
Friday, 25th February 2022, 2:16 pm

I joined the RAF way back in 1983, almost a year to the day of the start of the conflict started in 1982.

Did I always think I’d join the armed forces? Not really, but I was always attracted to the physical side of the forces, I'd probably have been more suited to the Parachute Regiment or Royal Marines.

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Ukrainian servicemen walk at fragments of a downed aircraft seen in in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. It was unclear what aicraft crashed and what brought it down amid the Russian invasion in Ukraine Russia is pressing its invasion of Ukraine to the outskirts of the capital after unleashing airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending in troops and tanks from three sides. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)

A friend of mine was in the Royal Air Force at the time; he sold it to me.

The UK was going through one of its worst recession on record, jobs were scarce, so the Air force, to me seemed like a good option.

Three years sounded like a good option, the shortest spell you could do at the time.

More importantly, we’d just come out of a bloody war in the Falklands, logic would dictate to me there wouldn’t be another war for some considerable time.

Natali Sevriukova reacts next to her house following a rocket attack the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

With regards to the troubles in Northern Ireland I decided I would take my chances.

From April 1983 I was a member of the Royal Air Force, not thinking about war, confident war would not happen.

When you're a member of the armed forces you learn about conflict, and the consequences. You train for war in the hope it never occurs – most servicemen become pacifists.

Although we weren't at actual war, the Cold war was very real.

We all learned about the Cold War, this really educated me how fragile the world was, and how world peace dangled by a thread. The cold war was always in the background for most servicemen.

I always thought the biggest deterrent to war is the consequences of war, as we all know how brutal war can be for everyone, no one escapes the consequences, which can carry on for decades after cessation of hostilities.

Who would want to put their country or another into those circumstances.

President Putin has stepped over the line now causing deep rooted physical, psychological and economic scars which will last generations after people of this generation are long gone.

President Putin must have no thoughts to this, he's akin to every dictator, or tyrant of the 20th, and 21st century.

History has taught us that dictators and tyrants never fare well in the long run – does Putin think he will be an exception?

I was a serviceman when the cold war was in full flow, this was starkly brought home to me in my training sessions.

I learned about Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical warfare, and all outcomes if we came into the conflict then USSR, or any other power willing to use them.

I also learned that The United States Air Force had numerous bases in the UK and Europe, along with their missiles, this was primarily because of the threat from the East, I knew nothing of these bases before I joined up.

When we had annual training sessions, which featured Cold war escalations, this left me feeling ever so slightly fearful, not for me, but for family and friends, who were ignorant and unprotected.

The training was very informative, about various warfare scenarios, and lasting consequences. The more you know about warfare, the more you don’t want it.

Thankfully over the years the threat lessened, and the warming of relations between the East and West began.

With the fall of the Berlin war, the dissipation of the USSR, we all began to feel a little safer.

I was still in the Air Force in November 1989 when the Berlin wall came down.

A momentous time for all, we thought world peace was a possibility.

I think we all breathed a sigh of relief worldwide, serviceman or not.

Apart from the troubles in Northern Ireland we thought we’d cracked it, the threat from the East was over?

“Never ever be surprised, always expect the unexpected.”

From 1990 to present the British armed forces has been in conflict or in a war, right up to the present day.

This invasion of Ukraine has taken me back to the threatful times of the 80s when I was learning about war from people who knew what they were talking about.

I’m reminded of CND, the ladies at Greenham common, and their protests against war and the use of Nuclear weapons, the horrors of war. Although widely decried by many in power, and mocked, and derided by the ill informed.

Although no one in power would ever admit to their influence, I wonder what those ladies are thinking now?

Putin has taken the world back to the dark days of the 80s Cold war, when the RAF were on constant readiness to the threat from the East.

A couple of years ago I watched the film, Threads, written By Barry Hines, first shown in 1984.

This to me is the scariest film I’ve ever seen, possibly because it was filmed in Sheffield, not the amusing film The Full Monty was.

Although set roughly at the same time, the two films are polar opposites

This fictional film is about the build up, and then eventual war between the United States, NATO and Great Britain, against the USSR.

The film showed the build up, first strike and post war consequences of nuclear war in Sheffield, a very difficult watch.

I think to myself, instead bombs, sanctions, or rhetoric we should drop several thousand copies of that film over Putin.