Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 19.02.2019
Hostage-taker Putin refuses to release Ukrainian captives or to treat them properly as prisoners of war. By giving in to his baser instincts – as he always does – Putin is isolating the Russian Federation more than ever internationally. The way he conducts his very personal war against the Ukrainian people is winning Putin no friends, harming the standard of living of Russians, and making enemies of ‘brother Slav’ Ukrainians almost certainly for generations.
The Putin-Kremlin regime of state terrorism is holding 24 Ukrainian Navy sailors captive, illegally. This is subsequent to the Russians ramming, shooting at, and seizing three Ukrainian naval vessels on 25 November 2018. This was too much, even for the foreign-policy-by-consensus European Union. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, announced that new sanctions would be coming soon against Russian individuals.
“I can confirm that there is political consensus on some further measures to be taken – personal, targeted sanctions. I believe the formal adoption of the legal acts will be finalised in the coming days," Federica Mogherini said on February 18.
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, is visiting Kyiv on the 5th anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity. The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, expressed his immense satisfaction with the adoption of the ‘Above package’ of sanctions by the EU. Addressing President Tusk in a press conference, President Poroshenko said: “This is exactly what we, Mr. President agreed with you on in December. I am very glad and it is very important that we keep our agreements with Europe on unity and solidarity with Ukraine."
After the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, Linas Linkevicius, the Foreign Minister of Lithuania, wrote on Twitter: “It is completely unacceptable Russia still detains Ukrainian seamen and ships following military attack against Ukrainian navy in Black Sea. EU calls to release them immediately. Azov Sea does not belong to Russia, freedom of navigation must be granted. EU stands with Ukraine.”
Putin either doesn’t get it or doesn’t care. He is following up a minor military victory with a major diplomatic defeat. The Russian Federation is increasingly isolated after its act of war on 25 November 2018. Blunder after blunder by sabotage & disruption KGB agent Putin has been the hallmark of the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine since it began five years ago in February 2014.
Immediately, the purpose of new EU sanctions is to obtain the release of 24 Ukrainian POWs and of three Ukrainian naval vessels and to lift the Russian blockade of the Sea of Azov. Ultimately, the goal of the Free World faced with implacable Russian aggression is to stop Putin’s War and liberate Crimea and Donbas.