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Opinion

Welsh Europeans must stand with Ukraine – their fight is our fight too

24 Feb 2022 3 minute read
Russian tank in Ukraine. outube stream of the STRC Ukrainian television and radio broadcasting. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Neil Schofield Hughes

For those of us who consider ourselves European, this is a desperately dark day. An illegal war of aggression is launched against a European democracy, by a power denying that country’s right to exist: it strikes at the heart of the very idea of liberal democracy.

And for we who have been part of the general European movement in Britain – who opposed Brexit, who see the catastrophe that Brexit was always going to be unfolding before us, and who argue that we must remain close to the EU and one day return – it is a reminder that Europe is far more than the 27 Member States of the European Union.

At the same time, we need to understand the links between Putin’s aggression against Ukraine and the history of Brexit. We need to remember the close ties between the British Right and Putin’s Russia (and how far the pro-Brexit Left was driven by a sort of post-Soviet nostalgia – the latter-day ‘tankies’ who make excuses for Putin now just as they did for the Soviet Union that invaded Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968).

And we need to recollect how the campaign to leave the EU was funded, and how many of those involved in that campaign have taken to social media in recent days to defend Russia’s aggression against Ukraine; and to understand – it’s a matter of public record – how far the Conservative Party that delivered Brexit is awash with Russian money.

Internationalism

Brexit and the attack on Ukraine have the same roots – ideological, financial and practical. Brexit was part of Putin’s strategy to destabilise the West, to undermine its ability to resist Putin’s imperial ambitions. And, with Boris Johnson unveiling a sanctions policy that essentially signals to Russian money that London remains open for business, who is to argue that he has not succeeded?

Europeans in Wales and beyond must join the dots. Brexit and the attack on Ukraine are inextricably linked (and Westminster politicians who talk about “making Brexit work” should reflect on the ideological nature of the project they – no doubt inadvertently – are appeasing).

The attack on Ukraine is an attack on every European. The European Union remains the most successful peace project in modern history: the values of the EU, set out in the Lisbon Treaty, of democracy, internationalism and freedom of expression; those are the values that aggression against Ukraine violates.

Ukraine’s fight is our fight too.

Neil Schofield Hughes is Chair of Cardiff For Europe, a board member of Wales for Europe, and one of Wales’ representatives on the National Council of the UK European Movement. The piece is written in a personal capacity.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago

My other half has just handed me her copy of Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West…

I’ll be back in a week or so…

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
7 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

*BREAKING: Ukraine helicopter has landed in Gonial, Belarus carrying delegation for talks with the Russians. Cross fingers and toes .nd light candles for a resulting peace!*
28.2.2022. 13:53 local time.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
7 months ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

Ukraine delegation perhaps headed by Ukraine first president Leonid Kravchuk so that’s a plus, though he must report to Pres. Zelensky, so we can only pray.
Other: Racisim again at the Polish and other borders, with brown and black people fleeing the fighting being held back until Ukranians recieve clearance.
I have no moral pose on this issue, just that when push comes to shove?

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
7 months ago

Neil, do you not think you are a tad late to this party? Had the Western powers implemented the Minsk Agreement they signed up to we may never have got here. The withdrawal of foreign troops from Ukraine, withdrawal of heavy weapons from borders and monitoring of the ceasefire never happened and the West, especially the US and UK re-armed Ukraine. Putin is not a nice man but we aren’t exactly blameless here either. Just to add that a Russian sniper, armed with a British rifle firing British ammo is almost indistinguishable from a Ukrainian sniper shooting British bammo back… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Kerry Davies
Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
7 months ago

We are all Europeans – no matter what the hard line Brexiteers say. Russia – under Putin – may currently be the threat but there is a bigger threat on the horizon – China. We have to be united and strong to meet this threat. My hope is that one day Wales will join the EU as a separate country. When it does it will benefit immensely from the economic and military cooperation.

Captainmidnight
Captainmidnight
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

My hope is that one day you will accept democracy and stop banging on about a done deal. There is no point in exchanging rule from Westminster with rule from Brussels. Wales needs to be run by the Welsh.

Either way though you are distracting from the current imperative that the whole free world should stand against Putin.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
7 months ago

Wales and the UK was never ruled by Brussels – and you know it. We had an option to abide by EU rules or ignore them, every EU law was ratified by Westminster first. Since when has this issue been cast in stone for eternity? It certainly wasn’t in ’75 for the leave campaign so why should it be for those who want co-operation with Europe and not isolation now? Has Wales benefited from Brexit – we all know it has not and regardless of the vote that is not fair on a nation already extremely poor.

Richard
Richard
7 months ago

Better than Putin 🇷🇺 rule I guess

Quornby
Quornby
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

I basically agree Steve, but one glimmer of hope is that China as a manufacturing country needs the US and EU markets so won’t bale out Russia’s Hitler for ever. Meanwhile in the UK…… what a time to have an imbecile in Downing Street!

Captainmidnight
Captainmidnight
7 months ago

Again people who do not believe in democracy are distracting from the main issue, which has nothing to do with Brexit.

All of the free world must stand against Putin’s imperial expansionism. If we do not stand together there will be no free world, EU or otherwise.

Cynan
Cynan
7 months ago

What has Brexit to do with democracy, when so many Brexiteers wish to overturn two referendums confirming self rule for Cymru.
We need no leadership from England on this (what we’ve never had, we don’t miss).
Our leader makes relevant statements. Yours mouths weak kneed tokenism and faux Churchillian pronouncements about things he has no influence over

Rob
Rob
7 months ago

This is the United Nations Charter of 1945 “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” If Russia gets away with this then what kind of a precedent does that set for International Relations? Will China annex Taiwan, would boundary disputes between India and Pakistan intensify? The International Order will be flushed down the toilet. Those who argue that Eastern Ukraine is Russian speaking or ethnically Russian, does this mean that Mexico could annex… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Rob
I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob

One now hears western leaders talking about Minsk 2, but when the Russians were banging on about it none of them took any notice. Similarly with the Nato (ie USA) expansion East. President Macron lately tried, but the Berlin conference collapsed because Zelensky refused to budge, as was his right, of course. But he was lead to believe the West would back him, but they took him up an alley, and left him there.
Ukraine may survive if it chooses neutrality. Let us hope it does.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

Wise counsel. Nothing stopping them promoting military neutrality while engaging with EU on markets. It will be a harder sell now because of the damage done to date but worth aiming for it.

Quornby
Quornby
7 months ago

I am outraged that the UK media are reporting the Hitler like ravings of Putin. It’s like giving airtime to a serial killer.

Quornby
Quornby
7 months ago

Just heard that there will be a £50,000 limit on UK Bank deposits by Russians. £50k!!!! Why not zero????? If I felt any loyalty to London I’d hang my head in shame.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

Boris thinks £50k is small change. Shows how much in touch with Russian kleptocrats thinking he is, but how remote he is from us the common herd.

Pob lwc
Pob lwc
7 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Just an England wouldn’t get to decide on an independent Wales’ future security arrangements, so too Russia does not get to decide on Ukraine’s security arrangements. It is not up to Russia whether Ukraine has an army. It is not up to Russia whether Ukraine joins the EU. It is not up to Russia whether Ukraine joins NATO.

It’s no surprise you’re shilling for Putin, hdavies15. Like him, you’re a nasty ethnonationalist, and like him you’re a landlord parasite.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Pob lwc

A little something you might better understand – Oink Oink Grunt Grunt, Oik

Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  Pob lwc

Troll 😈 🇷🇺 Alert 🚨

Pob lwc
Pob lwc
7 months ago

Welsh Nat commenters on this website are shilling for an Imperial ethnonationalist state invading its neighbour, which claims that it “should never have become a nation” and belongs to them. Irony is officially dead.

Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  Pob lwc

😈—🇷🇺—-Troll alert 🚨

CrisCymru
6 months ago

The Ukrainians are massacring the Russians in Donetsk and Luhansk, both republics are in the east of Ukraine, don’t get caught up with western propaganda, check out the truth of what is really happening in Ukraine. Its the Ukrainians who are committing genocide.

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