Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 29.03.2018
An attack by Russia against British subjects in the United Kingdom deserved the punishment of the expulsion of a few of Putin’s spies. It merited a more severe response. But what do attacks by Russia against Ukrainian subjects in Ukraine deserve? In the past five days, Russia’s army invading Europe in Ukraine has attacked an astonishing 190 times. On 190 occasions the Russian armed forces attacked Europe’s defenders with long-range artillery, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, heavy mortars, grenade launchers, machine guns, and small arms.
Western democracies have acted against Russian aggression by expelling spies. Britain was defended. Now what? How does the West take further action to stop Putin at war? The answer has been obvious for over four years: defend Ukraine.
The countries who expelled Russian spies should now sanction the organizers of the illegal Russian presidential ‘election’ in Ukrainian Crimea which took place on March 18. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Pavlo Klimkin, met with European Union foreign ministers the day after the fraudulent voting took place on Ukraine’s southern peninsula, and he handed his colleagues a list of 140 individuals who were responsible. These violators of Ukrainian law and EU policy should be sanctioned, as Russian individuals and entities were in 2014 when Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014. Foreign troops from Muscovy occupied Ukraine’s territory of Crimea, and soon afterwards part of Ukraine’s territory in Luhansk region and Donetsk region in Donbas. Over 10,000 people have been killed in Putin’s War in over four years of relentless Russian attacks. Starting this past weekend, Russia has been bombarding Ukrainian defenders and civilians across the invasion-of-Europe battlefront in Donbas with renewed violence. From March 24 through March 28 inclusive, Russia attacked Ukraine a shocking 190 times.
The West is perfectly capable of learning how to walk and chew gum at the same time. Expelling Russian spies after Russia launched a nerve agent attack in Britain is reasonable. Sanctioning organizers of an illegal Russian vote in Ukrainian Crimea is reasonable. Doing nothing in the face of violent Russian aggression is completely unreasonable.
The EU, Canada, the United States, and other countries sanctioned the six so-called ‘deputies’ who came out of the illegal Russian parliamentary ‘election’ in Ukrainian Crimea held on 18 September 2016. It would be inconsistent not to sanction the 140 organizers of the illegal vote of March 18 of this year.
Western democracies should be doing much, much more to help defend Ukraine. The West can and should defeat Russia. The absolute least they can do now is to put the 140 organizers of the illegal vote in Ukrainian Crimea on the sanctions list, freeze their assets, and ban them from travel.