Tensions are running high as Russian troops move in on the Ukrainian border. In response, Britain has rushed to provide military support to the former Soviet republic – but what is the EU doing?
It’s no secret President Putin considers the breakup of the Soviet Union to be one of the greatest disasters in recent history and his aggressive move on the Ukrainian border has prompted some to speculate he wishes to expand Russia’s territory once more.
The threat comes eight years after Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimean peninsula, a move that has claimed more than 14,000 lives.
In recent weeks, the increasing Russian presence spotted along the Ukrainian border has rattled Western leaders who are fearful of an attack similar to – or perhaps more deadly – than the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The latest intelligence from the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) states Russian troops are poised just 25 miles from the border in Belarus.
However – despite weeks of growing threats – the dithering and hesitation shown by the EU suggest the bloc is putting its own interests first.
By refusing to step in and send a clear signal to Russia, it has exposed itself as being fractured.
On the one hand, President Macron has said the EU must open its own talks with Russia instead of relying on America and NATO to conduct negotiations with the Kremlin – and declared that Europe needed to have its voice heard.
Since taking office in 2017, the French President has sought to improve relations with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and rebuild the EU’s post-Cold War relations with Moscow.
His plans to open a dialogue between the EU and Russia, separate from America and NATO, are in marked contrast to Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State’s calls for Western “unity”.
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Despite the Kremlin’s strength and brute force, the people of Ukraine will not take Russia’s attempts at an invasion lying down.
James Heappey, the UK’s armed forces minister, told Times Radio that Ukrainians were “ready to fight for every inch of their country”, and warned that thousands of people could die if Russia started an “extraordinarily stupid” war with Ukraine.
In a recent poll, 30 percent of Ukrainians said they would take up arms to fight, The Telegraph reported. That’s as many as 13 million people willing to stand up and fight for their country, with many millions more ready to resist in other ways.
If Western forces unite, it sends a clear message to President Putin that his bullying tactics are not welcome in democratic society – the EU now needs to step in and fight for the freedoms we in the West take for granted.