David Cameron is not irrelevant or wrongly absent from the issue of the future of Ukraine. The decision of Germany and France to take up the question of peace with Russia does not make the UK irrelevant any more than it makes the USA irrelevant. Russia is well aware that NATO is the main decision making body over the use of western force, and the UK is an important part of NATO’s political decision making and command structure.
Let me begin by making clear I do not support Russia. I condemn any supply of Russian arms to the rebel forces, and any use of Russian military personnel to help them. The last thing the Ukraine needs is more weapons and further resort to violence.
By the same logic I do not support the west supplying weapons or military assistance to the Ukrainian government. The west should do all it can to promote a political settlement within the troubled territory. Sometime the protagonists are going to have to sit down and talk to each other, so why not start now rather than after hundreds more have been killed by both sides in the conflict.
Ukraine shows that far from being a force for peace in Europe, the EU can become a destabilising influence. Ukraine was relatively stable before the EU offered closer links with Ukraine and encouraged politicians sympathetic to the west in what was a very split country. Today the pro western government in Kiev is unable to speak for many of the Russian language citizens in their area, with the dreadful consequences we see. I do not want the west actively supporting or encouraging a government which shells and fires on its own civilians, whatever the provocation. I want the west to assist that government to talk to all its citizens and discuss what a new political settlement might look like that could meet the legitimate political aims of the many in the parts of Ukraine that do not currently look to Kiev for succour.
Russia may well be trying to split the west by hosting Germany and France. Nonetheless I wish Germany and France well in seeking a negotiated peace. Of course they must make clear that NATO will not accept Russian military expansion into NATO guaranteed countries that wish to remain independent of Russian control. They are however right to see if there is a political way forward in a country close to Russia, a non NATO member, which has stumbled into civil war in part thanks to the offers of the EU as well as owing to Russian military opportunism. We are told they will try to draft a paper and talk again at the week-end.
I do not support or welcome EU adventurism, whilst condemning Russian aggression. The EU has behaved badly. It needs to redeem itself by leading overtures for a peace in Ukraine based on voices and votes, not shells and guns.