Re: "Warmongers are watching the wrong channel," (The Hill Times, Scott Taylor, Nov. 16). Russia—the Kremlin—has now thoroughly tested the "weak West" and found it will not yield. If Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people have been paying attention, they now know the West will not invade Russia or it would already have happened. The West is more than willing to secure the legitimate borders of Russia according to the agreements Russia herself has signed. The West would like to see Russia no longer as a permanent threat to the world order—a concept to which they have agreed. That choice is up to the Russians. I'm sure we all want a world where we can trade and not invest our precious resources on weapon systems that challenge the environment and life on Earth. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Commander of the combined Russian forces General Sergei Surovikin have announced they have withdrawn from Kherson, Ukraine, to spare the lives of Russian soldiers. After sacrificing the lives of something like 100,000 Russians through death and injury, this rings more than a little hollow. The failure of the Kremlin to manage this assault, and the Russian military in general (the chaos of the conscription process), is obvious. Families of Russian soldiers are rightfully angry with a callous government intent on prosecuting an unwanted war and one that cannot account for the whereabouts of their family members. If Russia had not threatened Ukraine, it is unlikely that talk of joining NATO would have turned into intent. What has been accomplished? The myth of the powerful Russian military has been destroyed, hundreds of thousands of the best and brightest young people have left Russia, Putin has convinced Europe and the West of what they should already have known: an autocrat running Russia cannot be trusted. They lie and repudiate agreements that the trusting West take at face value. It is hard to see a future for Russia, unless the government can transition to a democratic model that respects the will and the needs of its people, and honestly enters into the spirit and process of the United Nations and international rule of law. Putin could still make the change, and save himself, and Russia. After all, it's only money. Tom McElroy Toronto, Ont.