Putin, Ukraine and UKIP

I was in the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee today when it voted 49-8 in favour of the EU’s trade agreement with Ukraine, preparing the way for a simultaneous ratification of the agreement by both Ukrainian and European parliaments next week.

This reaffirms, in a practical and non-military way, the support of 28 European democracies for Ukraine in these difficult times. It’s not an exclusive agreement; it in no way precludes Ukraine reaching agreement with its other neighbours to enhance trade and cooperation with them. Nor does it envisage EU membership for Ukraine. But it does respond to Ukraine’s request to deepen its relationship with the European Union.

Many members of the committee, including representatives from each political group in Parliament, outlined their positions before the vote. Of the eight MEPs who voted against the agreement, some opposed the timing of the deal, with new elections due soon in Ukraine. Some felt that, for now, we should refrain from doing anything that might annoy Russia. But UKIP’s position of total opposition went one step further.

Firstly, the UKIP MEP Lord Dartmouth ranted and heckled from the back, and then stormed out of the room when the committee made the simple decision at the start of the meeting to keep this item on its agenda. Now, I know that, as the hereditary 10th Earl of Dartmouth, he may not exactly be accustomed to making decisions through debate and vote, but this did seem to be taking it a bit far!

More worrying, though, is the UKIP line supporting Putin and claiming that a trade agreement with Ukraine is somehow an example of EU aggression. It takes breathtaking chutzpah to claim that non-exclusive trade constitutes aggression, while Russia is ‘only defending itself’ when it annexes part of the territory of its neighbour, supports violent separatists in another part and tries to prevent a sovereign country from choosing to trade with its neighbours.

UKIP’s pro-Putin line has been aped by other far-right parties in Europe. In return, Putin has given support to several of them. It is a truly worrying trend.

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6 Comments

  1. “Despite the presence of these elements, Russian propaganda that claims Kiev’s “fascist junta” wants to cleanse east Ukraine of Russian speakers is overblown. The Azov are a minority among the Ukrainian forces, and even they, however unpleasant their views may be, are not anti-Russian; in fact the lingua franca of the battalion is Russian, and the majority of them have Russian as their first language.

    Indeed, much of what Azov members say about race and nationalism is strikingly similar to the views of the more radical Russian nationalists fighting with the separatist side.

    The battalion even has a Russian volunteer, a 30-year-old from St Petersburg who refused to give his name. He said he views many of the Russian rebel commanders positively, especially Igor Strelkov, a former FSB officer who has a passion for military re-enactments and appears to see himself as a tsarist officer. He “wants to resurrect a great Russia, said the volunteer; but Strelkov is “only a pawn in Putin’s game,” he said, and he hoped that Russia would some time have a “nationalist, violent Maidan” of its own.”

    That last bit there, about giving Russia it’s own nazi-led Maidan – that will be an incredibly tempting proposition to some in our political hierarchy.

  2. “UKIP’s pro-Putin line has been aped by other far-right parties in Europe. In return, Putin has given support to several of them. It is a truly worrying trend.”

    ..and yet it was McCain who flew to Kiev to shake hands with the Swoboda leader, it was Nuland who handed out food on the Maidan which eventually turned into a neo-nazi fronted coup.

    It’s not stupidity which makes the EU – and it’s MEPs – keep quiet about this, so what is it ?

    I guess they are confident that even though they are fuelling nazism in Ukraine and across Europe, that they can somehow deal with it later when Ukraine is a modern multicultural society – planning ahead by decades.
    This would also mean decades of war, and maybe Breivik will not be the last of his kind. We can’t solve the Irish terrorist problem, or the Islamic terrorist problem, what makes anyone think the far right will be any easier especially, as with ISIS, they are getting our money and weapons.
    I’m not a UKIP voter, but I noted Mr Hookem’s use of the word blitzkrieg and I think, given what has happened, it’s not an entirely inappropriate word.

  3. The EU and US instigated a coup in Ukraine using far right neo Nazi elements who have now formed volunteer battalions who are killing innocent civilians in the east of the country. Simply to a search for Kristina and her baby and see what the Ukrainian army and Azov battalions are doing. You support this?

    As for Crimea being ‘annexed’ the people used their right to self determination to re-join Russia when they saw what the Kiev government were doing to those in the East of Ukraine and were scared that would happen to them. They now have the protection of Russia from far rights.

    All this simply because some Ukrainians don’t want to join the EU. All of the main 3 parties support Kiev who are now the first Nazi government since WW2.

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