Tannock: Sanctions against Russia should be intensified to Iran style levels
Speaking in a debate today on continued Russian aggression against Ukraine in the European Parliament, European Conservatives and Reformists Group foreign affairs spokesman Charles Tannock called for EU economic sanctions to be intensified and for Ukraine to receive the military means necessary to defend itself.
Dr Tannock said:
“Each time we debate Ukraine the situation is worse than before. We are witnessing now the second phase in President Putin’s aggressive plan to partition- or swallow up – Ukraine on a pack of lies.
“Putin is a clever operator and he knows how to stage the attacks in eastern Ukraine with the right balance of Special Forces and home-grown activism. But it is an insult to our intelligence to hear from Foreign Minister Lavrov that Russia plays no part in this.
“The revanchist insurrection currently witnessed in the Donbass region is unprecedented; it seems to have sprung up virtually overnight, when all students of politics regarding sub-state nationalism know that genuine movements take many years of development in the face of profound state oppression – to take root. There is no state oppression in eastern Ukraine whatsoever; the people are free to speak whatever language they choose, and to live their lives as they see fit. To assert that the eastern Ukrainians are facing systematic human rights violations is nothing less than an insult to those countless minorities around the world whose rights are genuinely under attack. Besides, a perceived lack of language cultural rights cannot justify foreign invasion – and in the case of Crimea outright illegal annexation – under any circumstances.
“The appropriate forum to resolve these differences is via elections, representation and negotiations, not a paramilitary barricade. Putin believes that he can get away with it: but the west must not allow a democratic, potential future EU member state, to be carved up or destroyed under our very noses.
“We must continue diplomacy with the Kremlin, but the EU economic sanctions regime must at the same time be intensified to Iran style levels and Ukraine should be given the means militarily to defend itself. Too many people in Europe remember only too well what happens when tyrannies wilfully disregard the sovereignty of free states and the wishes of their people. The past of the previous century must not be repeated on our continent.”