Ukraine seems a long way away from our lives in the West Midlands.
But we should all be concerned about the possibility of war there. Conflict with Russia will destabilise the whole of Europe and risks bringing other countries into conflict. It will have an impact economically, with gas and oil supplies to the UK potentially hit. And, of course, there is the human cost as millions of innocent Ukranians get caught up in conflict.
There are serious issues around the world that will impact all of our lives. Europe may be drawn into its biggest war since the 1940s and few seem to have realised how grave the situation might become.
The human cost would be atrocious while the economic impact would reverberate around the globe. Russia would face crippling sanctions and would most likely react by either switching off the gas supply to Europe or hiking the price through the roof.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is a bully and the West is united in standing up to him. He must be made to realise that war will cost him and his country dearly.
His gamble may be starting to backfire, however, as Nato fortifies its defences near to the Russian border.
Those European nations within Russian’s reach need greater protection as the talk turns to fears of a lightning war in Russian and the installation of a puppet leader in Ukraine.
Nato is preparing to deploy more troops while diplomacy is in overdrive.
A number of Russian demands are completely unacceptable and any incursion into Ukraine would be met by swift, retributive responses.
The impact of Omicron in the weeks prior to Christmas is becoming more widely known as West Midlands-based pub group Marston’s has revealed falling sales. The company suffered a slump in the eight weeks to mid-January as Omicron spread and operators worked under tough sanctions.
Marston’s is resilient, however, and has been a voice for the pubs and brewing industry during Covid.
While pubs went through a tough time at Christmas, they are filling up again now. People want to get back to some kind of normaility – and that means getting back to the pub for a few drinks or a nice meal with friends.
We must hope that there is no more disruption down the line and that we are heading to a stage where Covid becomes manageable and endemic. This year should be better than the past two, which is good news for prominent local businesses.