Picture: Every Night for Ukraine 022 Russian Embassy Finland. Author: rajatonvimma /// VJ Group Random Doctors
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding before us following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. The risk of a major military conflict is remote but real, and the situation on the ground continues to change. We asked our contributors how they think Putin’s aggression will impact politics and policies in the UK and what if any changes are needed?
Peter Sonnex, veteran, former Brexit Party candidate and political campaigner.
I despair. As an Army Veteran, I ache for the senselessness and failure that is armed conflict – the so-called last resort in our international rules-based order. Of course, there are those whose interests will be satisfied by all this and who will benefit from it in some way. Then, there are the rest of us, the ordinary citizens of the west, Russia and Ukraine who are paying the price.
Ukraine has been an independent state for more than thirty years. It has aspired to join the EU and NATO. Such memberships have not been forthcoming, and we ought to ask ourselves why this should be. For everyone hailing and siding unequivocally with the bravery and resolve of a sovereign Ukraine in the face of Russian ‘special military operations’, I’m sorry, it’s all a bit bloody late.
To be clear, I am no cheerleader for Vladimir Putin. In a protracted game of chess it is he, with Sergey Lavrov (with whom I have shared the same room), who has had the longer-term strategy in mind. Short-term, narrow-minded EU and NATO sabre-rattling, whilst failing to put their money where their mouth is has not helped. Annexation of Crimea and the Donbas without consequence has not helped. An ongoing civil war in Ukraine has not helped. A young country with divided communities and conflicting loyalties has not helped. For all of us, Ukraine constitutes unfinished business from the end of WWII, the breakup of the USSR and the Cold War we had the arrogance to believe we had won. What is playing out now, in the worst that humanity can offer, is a failure of vision, leadership and values on all sides. For the west only, add inconsistency.
I’m very nearly done with it. The same people who brought a disproportionate response to Covid-19 and are stoking the fires of a climate crisis without first considering our prosperity and energy security, have delivered another war and another humanitarian crisis in Europe. We can be outraged, even signal our virtue, but not while conflicts and humanitarian crises are evident over the rest of the world with hardly a mention – some facilitated by us.
We might change how we vote in order to challenge the incompetence inherent in the unacceptable status quo – no?
Back to the question, but I’m afraid with even more questions… If we were to substitute Northern Ireland for Ukraine and the institutions of the EU for Russia – how might we consider an answer? Clear to me are the ambitions of the EU as they may relate to the island of Ireland. Clearer to me is the lack of resolve at home to defend the Union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of which I am a citizen. Do the unionists in Northern Ireland have the resolve to send the clearest message in May elections to those who hold their interests elsewhere that the Union is worth defending? Or will our apathy hitherto over Ukraine and now over Northern Ireland prevail until it is likewise too late?
If you thought chess was complicated, wait until you try Mah-jongg…
Maureen Martin, Lee Green Ward Lewisham candidate for the Christian Peoples Alliance.
The situation with Russian military action in Ukraine is much more complex than the narrative being promoted by the mainstream media and those that control them. We are being led to believe that Putin is as always the “big bad wolf” and Ukraine is the innocent victim of a bully. It is not that cut and dry! There is propaganda on both sides. Quite frankly I am very reticent to agree with the same people who have fed us a steady diet of lies for the past two years concerning the pandemic and all things associated with it, call me a sceptic if you wish! The news cycle has suddenly shifted from covid, mandates, masks and vaccines to Ukraine/Russia. Covid has been completely abandoned by all major news outlets.
Several European nations EU member states have been manoeuvred into a very precarious position especially Germany who rely on Russia for the majority of its gas. In it’s haste to go “green” they decommissioned two nuclear power stations and started buying gas from Russia, now as a knee jerk reaction to the current situation and the realisation that they are compromised are taking steps to reduce their dependency on Russian energy, too little and too late! The sanctions being implemented are not any different to the sanctions that have been in place for some time. The only sanction that is a step further is the use of the swift system. This will impact Russia, however I do believe that Russia has alternative means of doing international business and this will not be as effective as hoped. However, there is a war being waged economically and the Russian economy is under attack, coupled with cyber warfare all these methods can be deemed by Russia as acts of war. In fact Russia has other nations who would be happy to buy their wheat and other commodities; China!
For us here in the UK, we must be careful not to join the war mongering drum beating narrative, desperately trying to emotionally manipulate public opinion into supporting military action by the international community with a no fly zone which would effectively be engaging in kinetic war. This is a regional conflict which I do not believe the UK needs to engage in on any level. We are not dependant on Russian gas comprising only about 4% of our supply, our involvement at this time can only be in response to international allies and has been slow in comparison with other EU nations, also bearing in mind that we are no longer part of the EU. Boris Johnson has blacklisted several Russian Oligarchs.
There is a view that the reason for the reticence of the UK in applying harder sanctions is the significant contributions that some of these billionaires have made to the Conservative Party coffers as well as the financial secrecy services provided by the UK in places such as the Cayman Island and Jersey. The UK is a major actor on the world stage in proving financial secrecy services resulting in an estimate worldwide tax loss of approximately £190bn annually.
Essentially the UK is not doing anything apart from the official line “co-ordinating with partners on sanctions aimed at starving the Russian Government of funds to further its unprovoked war against Ukraine” Just as in the case of Covid we are falling into line with the other G7 nations singing from the same hymn sheet.
Nigel Jacklin, Founder, The Democratic Network.
I do not know what is going on in Ukraine. I think the bigger question is…if I wanted to get a balanced view…how would I do that? There may be misinformation on both sides…I’d like to hear from both sides and decide for myself. We seem to have moved from censorship of ‘medical and scientific consensus’ to other areas including what’s going on in Ukraine. I have no idea whether Putin is more or less aggressive than we have been in the last two decades.