TWO years before her murder in Moscow in 2006, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s book Putin’s Russia was published to huge acclaim. It includes the story of the horrors inflicted during the second Chechen war, a war conducted at the behest of Vladimir Putin. Attacks on medical centres and old people’s homes, rape, pillage, torture and other atrocities became part of Russia’s weapons of war.

Anna Politkovskaya was not alone in testifying to these atrocities. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the European Court of Human Rights were among those bodies confirming such barbaric acts.

But the revulsion of the international community had no impact on Putin, as the people of Aleppo in Syria testified when Russia entered the Syrian civil war in 2015. The bombing of civilian infrastructure, besieging of cities and wanton attacks on civilians confirmed this is Putin’s military modus operandi. I agree with Ian Blackford MP that much of the west, including the UK, was asleep at the wheel for too long.

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Now the same horrors are being inflicted on Ukraine. However, there are other concerns as yet attracting little focus, other than through humanitarian organisation such as Revive Campaign (Reduce Explosive Violence Increase Victim Empowerment), of which I am chair. We are advocates for the victims of conflict and explosive violence. The impact on victims will be long-lasting and wide-ranging. Even if the war were to end today, Ukraine is now the most contaminated country in Europe with landmines and other types of unexploded ordnance. For example, as Russian forces have been leaving some areas of Ukraine to focus on the east and south, they have been positioning landmines in their wake. It will take years and a lot of money and effort to clear and make safe Ukraine’s physical landscape. And that will only be the start.

The UK, and indeed most of the west, have typically been unwilling to devote the scale of support to enable the rebuilding of lives, of families and of communities following large-scale conflicts. It is rare to find the same investment in the rebuilding of lives as is devoted to supporting war. Yet the needs are huge. For example, there is compelling evidence that women suffer more psychological harm than men in post-conflict situations, and that women also tend to carry the greatest burden in rebuilding families. Very little investment tends to be focused on women post conflict.

Revive Campaign currently has a researcher studying the impact on women in particular. One subject had to flee Ukraine with her young daughter, leaving her husband behind as a volunteer fighter. Should any serious harm befall him, it is inevitable that she will have to pick up the burden.

It is, therefore, not going to be nearly enough to invest in clearing the detritus of war and rebuilding the physical landscape. Rebuilding people’s lives will need much greater focus and support than has been typical of earlier conflicts. It is the longer term humanitarian and rebuilding tasks that Scotland should aspire to make a significant contribution.

Medics in all disciplines, psychologists, counsellors, speech and language therapists, community workers, and many other types of support workers will need to be mobilised as never before in Ukraine. So, too, will there be a need to increase institutional support for the most vulnerable – such as children orphaned by the war.

The need to focus on the innocent and vulnerable victims tends to get drowned out as war progresses. It is not helped as people’s attention is deflected elsewhere by the spread of conspiracy theories supporting Putin.

I am concerned also about the weak support for the innocent from the UK Government. Criticism of its approach to Ukrainian refugees has been well covered in The National, but there are other concerns that are less well understood.

Take, for example, the case of Medics4Ukraine efforts to get support to create a hospital for children harmed by the war. One of its leading members is my colleague and Dundee University-educated Dr Saleyha Ahsan. Among her many attributes, she is both a trained medical doctor and former military officer. She has worked in and written about many war-torn areas.

Along with others with a similar background she worked to ensure, a hospital for children in Aleppo, Syria was constructed and operated for the meagre cost of £250,000. Her group wants to do the same in Ukraine. However, the post-Brexit UK Government has created barriers to the export of medical supplies and other goods to Ukraine. Neither is it supporting Medics4Ukraine’s efforts to establish a specialist hospital supported by those with appropriate expertise.

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If such lack of support from the UK Government is happening now, I am deeply concerned about the future. It is inevitable that the public’s interest in Ukraine will wane. But the loss of a child’s limb doesn’t just fade away.

The harm done by this war will be long-lasting and we need governments across the world, including our own, to bring real commitment to the task of rebuilding the lives of the victims of this senseless war.

Roger Mullin is a former SNP MP and former chair of Westminster’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Explosive Weapons