Major Oleksandr Bielov has just been demobilised from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, having reached age 60. An exhibition of war photographs taken by a member of his unit, Master Sgt Roman Naumov, is currently showing in central Norwich. Major Bielov gives his personal view on the current war 

It is difficult for the world to imagine the full scale of the tragedy that Putin has brought about in the heart of Europe, in my native Ukraine - one of the founding members of the United Nations.

Every death, every lost limb and every destroyed building is a tragedy. It could so easily spread across all Europe.

Ukraine cannot stop this happening alone. It can only be ended by the joint efforts of all those who want this to be the last war in the history of Europe.

This will require the complete defeat of Russia on Ukrainian soil. Unquestionable capitulation, with compensation for all damages, punishment of all war criminals and the sincere remorse of those, who by their silence, have supported and helped perpetrate this war.

Eastern Daily Press: Major Oleksandr Bielov says victory for Ukraine is a path to a safer world

Across the world, many leaders and other political figures, heavily influenced by Russian propaganda, are calling for negotiations and a truce. Ukraine is calling for peace, not a truce. What, you may ask, is the difference?

Peace is the final cessation of war. It is the recognition of guilt, the acceptance of responsibility and the punishment of war crimes, including the murders of civilians and children, the obliteration of cities and villages and the destruction of schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

Peace is a reminder to any leader hatching plans for new armed conflicts, that today, all wars must end in the defeat of the aggressor.

You may think all this impossible against a country as powerful as Russia. This, I believe is to underestimate severely the determination of the Ukrainian people, backed by Western democracies.

No amount of negotiations and truces will change the nature of the current Kremlin faction.

They cannot be trusted. They will use any break in hostilities simply to strengthen themselves and to continue the war. Crimes without punishment always lead to new and more violent crimes. Appeasement is the path to a Third World War.

Since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, every armed conflict in its former territories has taken place with the direct participation of Russia.

Transnistria in Moldova, Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenia and Azerbaijan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, two wars in Chechnya. Russia regards itself the rightful successor of the USSR. Under its current leadership, it is a truly dangerous beast.

Eastern Daily Press: Major Oleksandr Bielov says victory for Ukraine is a path to a safer world

The Russian people deserve better. They need leaders who listen to their people and who do not lie to them.

Leaders who can take criticism and who do not murder their opponents. The future of Russia should be decided by its own people, furnished always with the truth.

So what should be done? It is a difficult question.

The world has never faced such a threat before, where a nuclear armed nation is pursuing territorial gains.

We need a consolidated approach of all those who want to see the future of this planet without wars. The help and support provided by Great Britain, Canada, the United States, the European Union and other states has enabled Ukraine, so far, to restrain the aggressor.

But that is not enough. It is important for the whole world that we win. Victory for Ukraine is a path to a safer world, for the victory of good over evil.

The words of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill from his "Blood, Sweat and Tears" speech are very apt in the current situation: What is our purpose, you ask? I can answer in one word: victory. Victory at any cost, victory in spite of all the horror; victory, however long and difficult the way may be; because without victory there will be no life.

Oleksandr Bielov is a Ukrainian journalist, was a Major in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and was press officer of the Joint Forces Command (2022-2024). Here is a link to more on the current exhibition in Norwich