Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 14.11.2018
Europe has an army which is fighting in the trenches to stop a foreign invasion. That army is the Ukrainian army. Since the Russian Federation invaded Crimea and Donbas in 2014, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been the only fighting force to stop the Muscovy aggressors. Europe doesn’t need its own army, despite what President Macron of France has said. It already has it with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. France should be joining Ukraine, stopping Putin at war, and restoring the shattered peace of Europe. Europeans who live in Ukraine already have what is effectively the European army. Macron should recognize that.
Properly speaking, the European army should be NATO. But since 2008 NATO members have made a catastrophic error: they have failed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance. This near-fatal mistake committed by France and Germany has been exploited by Putin, who invaded Georgia in 2008 and invaded Ukraine in 2014. A coherent defence of Europe from Russian aggression will only be possible when Ukraine and Georgia contribute their armies to collective security in the wider North Atlantic region.
A real European army is NATO that has Ukraine at its core. The genesis of this can be seen with LITPOLUKRBRIG – the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade. The Brigade was officially inaugurated on 25 January 2016, almost two years after the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine. Headquartered in Lublin, Poland, LITPOLUKRBRIG is comprised of troops from two NATO member countries and one non-NATO country. The Brigade focusses on training and technical interoperability, which are essential to a united defence against Russian aggression.
There is only one military threat to Europe: Russian imperialist aggression. The Russian Federation is waging war right now against the largest country that lies wholly within Europe, Ukraine. Europe is defended when Ukraine is defended, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine are doing that effectively all along the battlefront in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, especially now that they have organized for combat as the Joint Forces Operation.
If French President Macron is serious about a European army he should insist that Ukraine be brought into NATO immediately. If he is serious about defending Europe against Russian aggression then he should support the Armed Forces of Ukraine with everything French state power can bring to bear. A century ago, France sent an expeditionary force to Odesa to fight against the Bolsheviks. France could send a large expeditionary force to Ukraine today to backstop the Ukrainian army.
Ukrainians are defending their homeland from Russian invasion, and in doing so they are saving Europe. No one can deny the right of the Ukrainian people to defend their sovereignty and restore the territorial integrity of their state. France and Germany and the UK and every other European power that abides by the rules-based international order can only be on the side of Ukraine in the Russo-Ukrainian War.
The Ukrainian army is the European army. The peace of Europe that has been shattered by Putin’s War will only be restored by bringing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, robustly backing Ukraine’s defence of Europe in the trenches of Donbas, and by liberating Europeans who now live under Muscovy captivity in Crimea and Donbas.