WATCHING Sky News chief correspondent Stuart Ramsey shot at and wounded along with one of his team, while clearly working for the press in Ukraine, was harrowing in the extreme.

That his team was targeted by Russian soldiers while attempting to report on the conflict should however, not be a surprise.

The world may have changed in the fortnight since our last edition, but what has not is the tyrant Putin’s hatred and disdain for journalists.

Russia has, after all, been one of the most dangerous countries to be a reporter over the last two decades.

Over 20 journalists have been slain in the country since Putin came to power, while most opposition leaders have also been imprisoned.

The dictator simply does not want his dirty laundry aired or anyone questioning him.

What ALSO hasn’t changed is the strength and generosity of the expat community in Spain.

Faced with the third giant crisis of the century, we have quickly rallied around our fellow Ukrainian expats, who number around 112,000 in Spain, mostly on the coast.

With an outpouring of compassion and generosity, the great Community of the Costas has jumped to help.

Showing their true colours, they have collected, donated and organised themselves to help in any way possible.

Alongside the Spanish (and some Russians, it should be pointed out) we have donated in our tens of thousands, with many offering their homes to refugees – and even driving there to pick them up.

Some have even upped sticks to go and fight.

And that should be no surprise – particularly for all of us schooled in the history of Spain and its infamous, tragic civil war.

Just as tens of thousands of foreigners joined to fight for the Spanish Republic in the 1930s – collectively known as the International Brigades – Ukraine has set up its own International battalion and is now recruiting.

No Pasaran
Photo of a besieged Madrid during Spain’s Civil War. Archive image.

Take note Russia: Madrid was completely surrounded, but under the passionate rallying cry of ‘No Pasaran’ (or They Shall Not Pass) it was NEVER taken during the savage three-year war.

Joining to fight for the democratically elected Spanish Republic in 1936 was described as the ‘last great cause’.

With Kyiv now nearly surrounded, this must be the first great cause of the 21st century.

Refugees At Warsaw Train Station In Warsaw, Poland 8 Mar 2022
Anti-Putin and anti-war posters displayed in the centre of Warsaw. (Photo by Attila Husejnow / SOPA Images/Sipa USA).

For Putin is now definitively an evil pariah not scared to kill innocent civilians and journalists doing their jobs.

Said to be the world’s richest man, which is hard to prove due his lack of transparency, he certainly has the full trappings of wealth, befitting of the most corrupt leaders.

This includes a mansion on the Côte d’Azur and, closer to home, a giant mansion near Marbella with a helipad, 24-hour security and three underground floors. As first revealed by this paper over a decade ago, completely denied by Moscow’s official press agency, which derided us as a ‘tiny and biased’ newspaper called ‘the Olive Tree’.

We have always stood by the story with impeccable sources and knowing he was obviously not going to be buying it in his own name and would, of course, deny it.

But it’s the giant complex that Putin’s been building on the Black Sea for the last decade that will ultimately spell his downfall. In fact it almost guarantees it.

For the massive estate displays the very same megalomania displayed by the former Communist dictator of neighbouring Romania.

And it was appropriately from his gross, outsized 7000-room, 13-floor Bucharest Palace that tyrant Ceaucescu was summarily dragged out of by an angry mob and later hung in 1989.

Dear Vlad: it’s coming!

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