Writing a piece on the invasion of the Ukraine is taking longer than I expected, the big issue is now quite simple, Russia should not have invaded the Ukraine; it’s a war crime and yet the response of British politicians has been, on the whole juvenile, selfish, narcissistic or cowardly.

The Govt’s proposed sanctions were initially diaphanous, and later firmed up to include some personnel, inc. Putin  and a couple of banks. The UK is now co-operating with the EU in applying sanctions to Russia inc. to its central bank and to exclude an indeterminate number of banks from SWIFT. The EU have yet again moved on, to ban Russian Airlines and arm the Ukrainian military. This “follow my leader” on both sanctions and other measures show Britain’s post-Brexit isolation and weakness. Of course, Brexit was partly bought by Russia’s money in the interests of Putin’s Greater Russia project. And even today, no-one is talking about accelerating the Registration of Overseas Entities Bill, which would allow us to know who owned what and is seen as an important anti-corruption measure. It’s a private member’s bill; the oppositions should be pressurising the Govt. to adopt it and ensure time in the House[s]. There’s a very limited call for the publication of the “Russia Report” detailing what British Intelligence know about Russian funding of the Tory Party and the Brexit campaign. This too, must be published and fully investigated.

The last two Tory administrations have weakened the UK’s ability to defend itself in Europe. There has been a persistent decline in Army personnel numbers, breaking Johnson’s 2019 manifesto promises. When asked for military help, we are unable to offer it because we have none spare; we are left to Liz Truss’s stupid comments encouraging a 21st equivalent of the International Brigade.

The Tory Govt. has also failed to offer solidarity on the issue of refugees. It refuses to carry its share and refuses to act in solidarity with the EU’s border countries. This is shameful.  Cooper’s statements on immigration are the right side of the line, but seem to be issued through gritted teeth, why not just support the EU announcement, a question for both Labour and the Tories.


The snails pace reaction of the Tories, and the evidence suggest the Tories have been bought, but we need to ask if any of Labour’s senior players have been too? We need to see the Russian Report!

Starmer’s positioning the response as a required loyalty to NATO and then the banning of RT (once known as Russia Today) are mistaken. While NATO is all we’ve got, there are problems with it, although Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made both Finland and Sweden think about their neutrality and will have put the fear into the Baltic state governments. The inconvenient truth is that the US is no longer a reliable ally in the defence of Europe. Trump was explicit that Europe could not rely on the US to honour the mutual self-defence commitments of the NATO treaty and Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was also an indication of the reliability of the US as even a leading ally in defending Europe.

In fact the most important thing we can do as citizens of the EU is to express our solidarity with the Russian peace movement.

If we were to ban RT, the Russian Government would probably breathe a sigh of relief and ban the BBC in Russia just at the time when it might do some good in informing the nascent anti-war movement in Russia of the impact of its own efforts and the solidarity from abroad unkless it’s too busy shopwing pictures of govt. ministers togged up in military gear.

And yet, despite the seriousness of the crises, and as a result of the fake prioritising of NATO, Starmer has time to attack the Socialist Campaign Group and Young Labour, whose social media assets the party has seized, and its Conference has been cancelled. It’s almost as if the pro-NATO position was designed to troll parts of his own party.

There’s serious solidarity work to be done in the UK, let’s get to it.

What is to done about the Ukraine in the UK
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