An Ukrainian military truck on March 9 near Chasiv Yar, Ukraine. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post)

Vladimir Kara-Murza’s March 14 Tuesday Opinion essay, “Putin is planning a Soviet-style punishment for his critics,” should be required reading for Republican members of Congress and other supposed “patriots” — including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Fox News host Tucker Carlson — who have given their full-throated support to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime in its “territorial dispute” with Ukraine.

Mr. Putin is probably dancing with joy at the thought of completing his takeover of Ukraine and moving on to recover former Soviet hegemony in the NATO countries of Eastern Europe. Without U.S. leadership, NATO will be unable or unwilling to defend its eastern flank against Russian aggression. Meanwhile, China and North Korea are watching this very closely. The clear message sent by some Republicans is that the United States lacks the will to come to the defense of its allies around the world, imperiling two bastions of freedom in East Asia: Taiwan and South Korea.

B.K. Krueger, Ellicott City