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Europe minister denies UK taking ‘back seat’ in Ukraine talks

21 February 2014

21 February 2014

Has the UK been doing enough to respond to the dreadful situation in Ukraine? A peace deal is on the table, but it’s clear this morning that nothing has been agreed, with Polish PM Donald Tusk sounding a note of caution that there’s an end in sight to this crisis. But there are suggestions this morning that the West has been a bit sluggish and weak in its response. Europe Minister David Lidington answered accusations that the UK was taking a ‘back seat’ in pushing for a resolution when he appeared on the Today programme:

‘I wouldn’t describe it as taking a back seat. I think it would be slightly ridiculous to have 28 foreign ministers all going off in concert. They are acting on behalf of all of us, and we are continuing to be active. The Prime Minister spoke yesterday to Chancellor Merkel, to President Putin, and he will be speaking to other European leaders today.

‘It was a cordial conversation [with President Putin]. The Prime Minister made very clear to the Russian president our concern about the slaughter that was going on in Kiev, and the need for a swift, peaceful resolution to that immediate crisis, leading to an inclusive political process within Ukraine. We certainly hope that Russia too will use her influence to bring about a permanent secession of violence and political progress in Ukraine.’


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  • global city

    Tymoshenko’s gang are trying to hijack the revolution for their own thugs.

    of course the UK has taken a back seat. That is the obvious consequence of being in a political project where the idea is to form a new group in control of all fields. Why would they give the UK mandarins a front seat?

    Perhaps it is an appropriate wake up all for the traitors at the Foreign Office that they do not form any part of the future foreign policy crafting of the EU?

    Putin knows that with regards to continental issues (i.e the EU) Cameron is less than irrelevant.

  • Roy

    Better we come out in support of a continuing fully independent Ukraine, encouraging a non interference by Putin’s Russia, rather than try to gain any understanding with say, Syria. The question is: is it too late? That Putin has now applied the noose around the neck of Ukraine and posted his henchmen in neatly strategical positions to eradicate any dissenting actions by the ‘free’ Ukraine?

  • Rocksy

    Yawn

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Why ridicule the obvious when the reality on the ground is undeniable?

    http://cdn1.spiegel.de/images/image-662034-breitwandaufmacher-olzw.jpg

  • JonBW

    The EU precipitated this crisis.
    It would be better if they stepped back from it.

    • HookesLaw

      Pathetic rubbish
      meantime the Times reports
      ‘At the end of the bloodiest week in independent Ukraine’s history, when
      government snipers killed scores of civilians on the streets of Kiev,
      defections and mass no-shows by MPs of President Yanukovych’s party tilted
      the balance of power in the Verkhovna Rada decisively in favour of the
      opposition.’

      Its a pretence to say that the president has any democratic mandate.

      • JonBW

        Then the Times is demonstrating its ignorance.

        The bloodiest week in independent Ukraine’s history would have taken place in 1918 when Poland invaded or during the 17th Century ‘The Ruin’ when Poland and Russia fought over Ukraine and Khmelnytsky, the early Ukranian Nationalist allied with Russia.

        The West overlooks the loyalty many Ukrainians feel to Russia for cultural reasons; support for the protesters is consistently overestimated.

        Ukraine has problems and the West is making them worse.

        • HookesLaw

          So its Western snipers killing the civilians is it? The west calling on the Ukraine govt to stop killing its civilians is wrong?

          Ukraine did not exist in 1918 – it was created by the Soviets in 1919. As such it was hardly independent.
          It only takes a moment to understand the real meaning of the article.
          I suppose the notion of Ukraine wanting to look West to the EU is a bit of a bummer for the nutjobs.
          As it is the Opposition leader has been released from prison and there are going to be fresh elections. Assuming these are fair then thats the way for the problems to be resolved to all our satisfaction, one way or another.

          Hopefully whoever is the new president will be free from corruption – unlike the present one.

          • JonBW

            Ukrainian history dates back to Kievan Rus,more than 1000 years ago and has always been entwined with that of Russia: the Ukrainian Rada was established before the Russian revolution; Ukrainian Nationalists were represented at the 1918 Peace negtiations.

            A substantial portion of the population want to look East: like it or not, that’s the reality.

            And the protests were not started by the government; certainly they have overreacted and behaved with considerable brutality. But to pretend that the opposition are blameless simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            It’s too bad Ukraine doesn’t involve islamofascists slaughtering Christians. You Camerluvvies would be there with bells on, helping the islamofascists slaughter those Christians, like you did in Libya and are doing in Syria.

  • rtj1211

    I’m not sure why we should be taking a front seat to be honest.

    Do we trade a lot with them? Do we want to?? Have we ever bailed them out?? Did we fight with them to gain independence??

    Sounds to me like it’s not important enough for Barack Obama so he’s ordered William Hague to get on his bike for him.

  • alabenn

    EU expansion dreams is now starting to meet reality, the minnows and financially insignificant have been swallowed, it now comes up to a country that has massive import for Russia, both strategically and as a supplier of basics that Russia depends upon.
    The EU has what in its armoury.
    A totally useless creature called Ashton who has no qualities that could be of use. Germany who if it wanted to do anything has an Army of drunken social workers who are not allowed to fight in the dark.
    France is a broken down old whore long past her better days.
    The UK now with a tiny army that has to beg lifts off the Yanks.
    The Yanks who have a witless fool for a President, a failed social worker who was elected because he was Black and a salve to white guilty conscience.
    No one in the world fears this broken force, it is a joke beyond belief, you would laugh if you could see how others see it.
    They are not laughing, they are gathering round to share the proceeds of the collapse of common sense in the West and they have plenty of time and lots of very bitter reasons to extract as much as possible, revenge being the main dish.

    • HookesLaw

      So lets get this right – there are anti Russia riots in Ukraine and is the EU that hes met reality not Russia? Btitain has always had tiny armed forces in respect of the USA. When France went into mali they had to ‘beg lifts’ off the RAF.

      Just to help you out a bit – today is Friday.

      With nothing better to do and with no reason to criticise the govt Ms Hardman invents an accusation.

      • alabenn

        There are anti Russian riots in part of the Ukraine, in other parts there is a large pro Russian populace.
        The BAOR used to be about the same size as the US army in Europe.
        Europe should have been the priority as regards defence, the east of Europe is where the biggest danger for Britain lies, the middle east and further never posed a serious threat once we ceded the Empire.
        We owe nothing to any, but what should be in our interests should be defended, Afghanistan and Iraq are pointless and Libya was a joint penis extension for Cameron and Sarkozy

        • HookesLaw

          Ever heard of NATO – Europe has been our priority for defence. And the USA had many personnel in the UK as well as Germany. None of which takes away from the fact that the US Army has post war always been vast compared to ours.
          Now we have Poland in Nato and no East Germany and Russia on the other side of the Ukraine. Just who is gloing to invade Europe?
          Are you suggesting we waste billion maintaining the BAOR?
          In fact its now going to be based in Wiltshire.

          How delusional are you.

          • alabenn

            No, I have not suggested the BAOR should be maintained, I said that Europe was where we needed security, NATO is a busted flush as the poor political leadership is lacking, the only thing that Britain should do is maintain a force big enough to contain a threat from Europe, not be in Europe, mismanagement of affairs by the idiots that control the EU are the biggest danger.
            That you deliberately read something you wanted is just the sort of socialist type tactics that you now seem to deploy in your posts.
            I have no interest in Britain fighting as they have done in the past to prevent one or the other European countries hacking themselves to death, we will have enough internal troubles shortly due to the feckless political midgets now in the ascendency in this shell of a country.

            • HookesLaw

              Do not talk even more rubbish.
              NATO is not a busted flush.
              ‘a force big enough to contain a threat from Europe’? Like who? Denmark? Are the vikings going to attack us again?
              Who is going to attack us ‘from europe’? We are allies with Europe through NATO and also America Canada and Turkey.
              Is this the way the typical nutjob mind works?

              ‘deliberately read into’??
              I read your insane last para and it does not need Dr Freud to work out your problem.

              • alabenn

                .I read your insane last para and it does not need Dr Freud to work out your problem
                I see you cannot help yourself, anyone not agreeing with you is mad and racist, your stock replies to everyone.
                I do not care what people like you think, because you have a unchangeable mindset, a dull automaton is an apt description for people like you.

    • Alexandrovich

      Concise, precise and, if I may say so, piercingly accurate.

    • global city

      Yes. It will make a good documentary series for C5, ‘When Blocs Collide!’

  • Jez

    Come on Isabel, we have to have all of our input rubber stamped by the EU and the Obama administration first. Give then time.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Democracy cannot cope with a situation whereby two halves of the population want diametrically-opposed things. That is what is happening in Ukraine. Neither side is wrong. One wants to retain historical and ethnic relationships with Russia, the other wants to cut those ties. There are a lot of Russian-descended Russian-speaking folks in Ukraine. They are not to be blamed for being there, they have been there for generations. Likewise those who look towards the West are perfectly entitled to do so. The government has an unfortunate coercive attitude, the protesters include some nasty troublemakers.

    No lasting peace is likely without some sort of partition (although the populations are intermixed geographically). Russia is a little too active, but this is their sphere. The EU is a little too active, it is stirring up trouble for its own reasons, not in the interest of Ukraine.

    In short, this a difficult and persistent problem and simplistic analyses and kneejerk judgments will not help.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …nothing here that a few hundred Tomahawks can’t fix. Just look how well it worked out in Libya. Any questions?

    • Tom Tom

      Same in Scotland and Northern England

  • Kitty MLB

    This is horrific, and the article yesterday suggesting
    that Putin and his likeminded thugs wish to take over the
    world is quite sinister..Yet we cannot be the worlds police.
    Sorry if this sounds harsh but they need to deal with this themselves, the world now contains many Putins,
    are we going to take them all on?
    The EU involving themselves just makes the situation worse
    I am afraid.

    • rtj1211

      I think you need to take some meds if you seriously think that Putin is about to take over the world.

      I don’t know why you think he’s so dreadful: his social policies are exactly what your kind want. NO to gay marriage, strong defence policy and sound fiscal policy. He’s built a massive Sovereign Wealth Fund and is developing a Customs Union exactly how you lot want Europe to operate.

      But because some MI6/CIA front article says he’s bent on global domination, you come out with this twaddle.

      Read about what Mr Putin DOES, not what the pathetic British Press says he might do.

      • Kitty MLB

        Owen Matthews spoke of Putin and world
        domination in his article yesterday -As I said.
        ‘My kind’ I do not actually have a kind,
        and sorry to disappoint you but I am not homophobic.
        Oh , sorry I forgot, Putin is a example to us all.

    • Tom Tom

      Only group aiming to take over the world is in Washington DC using NSA and Subversion to take control of raw materials and minerals to deny them to China. It is a global game of the US trying to pen in China by blocking the New Silk Road in Central Asia and building AFRICOM to block Chinese expansion in Africa

    • Roy

      You, ( the British) missed an opportunity to take action against Putin years ago for downright murder of a soviet citizen wishing to take refuge on British soil. You would rather be nice and polite one minute whilst he does the complete dirty on you. Then wonder later on, why he continues to do his Stalinist tricks to incorporate more and more nation states to his larder. Hitler did it, Putin is doing it. Yet you treat him like a pop star.

  • OriginalChris

    Very interesting to see the EU’s intentions with regard to Ukraine. I refer to article by Iain McKie who quotes from Baroness Ashton’s external website:
    http://www.eeas.europa.eu/ukraine/
    “The EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship
    with Ukraine that goes beyond mere bilateral cooperation, encompassing gradual
    progress towards political association and economic integration.”

    Also McKie notes: http://www.ukipdaily.com/catherine-ashtons-swansong-creating-civil-war-ukraine/#.Uwcei7CPPcs
    “…The Ukraine represents a sizeable goal for the EU, it boasts a population of around 45 million people, and would increase the size of the Union by between 8 and 9 percent. But, the prize in Ukraine is not its people, it is its MINERAL RESOURCES….Ukraine has the world’s richest iron ore deposits….Ukraine is also the fourth largest coal producer in Europe…Ukraine is Europe’s only source of manganese ….5 of Russia’s 12 gas pipelines to Europe are routed through the Ukraine. The country enjoys transit fees from these, as well as discounted gas prices…..With its eyes on Ukraine’s natural resources and gas pipelines, the EU has deliberately been tweaking Russia’s patience. It created a game of piggy-in-the-middle that depended upon Russia NOT seeing the EU’s interference in its neighbour for what it really is: an asset grab…”

    • The Laughing Cavalier

      All the pipelines in the world don’t mean a thing if someone else has the gas.

      • HookesLaw

        All the gas in the world means nothing if you refuse to sell it to a customer.

      • Tom Tom

        Qatar has a problem then which is why it has been funding a war in Syria

    • HookesLaw

      The Ukraine’s mineral resources belong to the Ukraine and it can export them according to market prices. Just off the top of my head I am thinking – just a guess mind you – that there would be less interference in the Ukraine’s mineral rights from the West rather than Putin.

      My information (United States Geological Survey: 2013 Minerals Yearbook. Page 85) is that the top five countries with the biggest iron ore reserves are
      Australia, Brazil Russia, China, India. Ukraine reserves seem to be a fifth of Australia’s. Maybe they have got it wrong.
      minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/2013/mcs2013.pdf
      In terms of production China leads the way by a massive margin over Brazil, Australia, India and Russia. Australia produces 6 times the amount of iron ore than Ukraine – says Wiki.
      There are roumours of an iron ore mine in Bolivia with reserves equal to all Australia’s – but this sounds more like an episode out of Poirot to be honest.
      Do you care to revise your advice on the currrent world geo-political situation?

      • rtj1211

        If Ukraine joins the EU, they belong to the EU, not to Ukraine. Foreign interests will buy up the assets and ‘introduce market reforms’ into agriculture and the Ukrainian people will have been dispossessed within 20 years. They’ll be back to servitude of the USSR but with a master that doesn’t speak their language and doesn’t want to.

        It’s their choice, but they are mad.

        • HookesLaw

          How do they ‘belong’ to the EU? How is it that the Spectator peddles al, this twaddle. Has it been taken over by D. C. Thomson.

          • Tom Tom

            Why
            does the UK have a Renewables Target ? Did you read yesterday’s FT with
            the example of it costing an industrial company £27 to boil a kettle on
            UK electricity tariffs ? Why is there an EU Energy Market which makes
            Shale Gas of more use to Belgium than Britain ?

            Why do we have GM products shoved down our throat when the US blackmails/bribes the EU ?

            • HookesLaw

              This does not explain iron ore ‘belonging’ to the EU.

              ‘Prices for UK industry overall are slightly lower than the EU average, according to figures from Eurostat’ – so says the FT.
              You are talking about a few massive users of power which the UK system does not actually want to be active at peak times.
              Germany discriminates against small users at the expense of big users. One way or another the public pay.

              Thanks to 13 years of labour inactivty we have limited capacity and these measures are a result in an attemt to smooth out demand. It has nothing to do with the EU but all to do with socialist ineptitude.
              Fruit loop nutjobs are doing their best to see a return of a Europhile Labour govt.

              As for GM
              Well various countries in the EU ban GM crops.
              http://gmoinside.org/eu-delays-approval-of-genetically-modified-crops-until-2014-sort-of/
              ‘Only two GM crops are currently approved for cultivation in Europe, where opposition from sceptical consumers and environmental groups remains strong.
              That compares to more than 90 GM varieties approved for cultivation in the United States and about 30 in Brazil.’

              As our readers will no doubt conclude this is a strange definition of ‘shoved down our throat’

        • global city

          Common Resources.

          They are trying to build a Directive now for ‘energy’ as well… so all that North Sea oil would not be the UK’s or the Scots, it would be the EU’s… just like the fish we used to have!

  • JimmyLinton

    The report on newsnight yesterday was deplorable. It’s almost as if there is an agenda to fan the flames of violence. Not once was it mentioned that the government of Ukraine is a democratically elected entity. The treatment of the Russian chap by the idiot presenter was shocking.

    • Reconstruct

      Do you get some sort of reward for watching Newsnight these days?

    • HookesLaw

      Check reported election fraud in Ukraine and the financial interests of the president and his family.

      • Tom Tom

        or France……..

    • rtj1211

      Of course there is. It’s the BBC’s chief foreign policy role nowadays.

      If you watched RT the past 3 months you’d have heard a very, very different story.

      I don’t know what is true, but I don’t think what’s being spun in the UK is.

  • swatnan

    Intervention would just have made things worse. Yesterdays events where the crowd of protestors turned violent on the Police who in turn retaliated for fear of their lives, had all the resemblance to Bloody Sunday and Sharpville. But it finally brought home to both sides that only they can solve their own problems. Partition of Ukraine is not an answer; safe havens are not the answer. Kathy Ashton was right not to intervene and escalate the problem.

    • Rhoda Klapp8

      Where can you find a compromise between the two camps? They want different things. The outside players won’t go away either, with their own self-serving agendas.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Partition can be part of the answer.

      • alabenn

        Most of the worlds supposed countries were cobbled together at the behest of colonial powers to safeguard their interests, that cannot remain, they will break apart with ever more violence if others intervene to prevent it.
        You would have thought that with the on going effects in Iraq, Libya, Syria and especially Yugoslavia allowing, maybe even encouraging breakups would have registered on the radar of even the political pygmies we let gain ascendancy over the levers of power.
        The vanities of small men have caused as many wars as religion, we now have both of these competing for victory in this race.

  • telemachus

    We need to support the Ukrainian President and Putin
    The EU have this wrong
    A Strong Russia and satellites is in all our interests

    • stevealbury

      how many people should the Ukrainian president be allowed to murder to restore his gangster government?

      • telemachus

        Word is that the terrorists in independence square are murdering policemen

      • rtj1211

        Considerably less than the British, French and Americans have killed on their gallivanting crusades since 2001.

    • The Laughing Cavalier

      Why?

      • telemachus

        As a foil to the hegemony of the American Christian Right

        • BarkingAtTreehuggers

          The Pope is Catholic. Last time I looked his residence was in Rome. The Rome/Berlin/Paris triangle scares you – go on, admit it.

          • HookesLaw

            You demonstrate the increasing entropy of rationality that this blog is descending into.

            • BarkingAtTreehuggers

              Eddie and Wilhelm, never mind Paulus never convinced me.

            • Alexandrovich

              Well, the thing to do would be to F.O. then. But for some reason you won’t, will you.

  • David Webb

    The events of Kiev HAVE NOTHING TO DO with any UK minister! To the extent that EU ministers have been involved, they’ve been stoking the violence!

    • fozz

      Quite. Why do we feel the need to interfere with everyone else’s problems however dire they are? Agree it’s awful what the Ukrainians seem to be doing to each other but it’s their country. There are equally awful things going on in the Middle East, Africa etc but we don’t attempt to fiddle there. We are not in charge of the world!

    • monty61

      Indeed. It’s about time our politicians had some collective therapy for the delusional thinking that what we say about Ukraine or anywhere else beyond our sovereign territory has any weight in the world. Why on earth should we rush to get involved?

      • telemachus

        But if we support Putin the Ukrainian opposition will begin to see that they are on a hiding to nothing

        • Tom Tom

          In 1938 Britain recognised the right of Sudeten Germans to be within the Reich and that made Czechoslovakia non-viable so Slovakia went off, the Poles seized Teschen and the Hungarians took their slice leaving Prague adrift so Germany took over there in March 1939 leading Britain to back Poland in refusing to negotiate over the international city of Danzig and refusing to let Germany build an autobahn and rail link to Danzig………..as a consequence Britain threw away its empire

      • OriginalChris

        See my post above on the “prize” for the EU that is Ukraine. The interpretation by Iain McKie is, I think, convincing. Maybe the UK is looking as though it is taking a back seat, but the EU is certainly doing the work for it in aiming towards economic integration and political association with Ukraine. See Baroness Ashton’s website – link above. Sounds ominous to me.

        • HookesLaw

          Bonkers.
          And so is the kipper you seem to think so highly of.

        • rtj1211

          It says a lot about the Ukrainians that they’ll turn down 10 times as much hard cash from Russia as they’ll get from the EU….

          • Tom Tom

            No. The terms from the EU would have made Ukraine like Greece. Far better to offer immediate free movement of people so Ukrainians can move to Britain and Germany for work

      • Kitty MLB

        Yes indeed, we have lived to regret getting
        involved with the troubles in the Middle east
        and have already made many enemies.
        What can we actually do anyway.

    • HookesLaw

      Absurd. Peace and increasing commercial activity and prosperity in the world is of inestimable value to the people of Britain.

      • Tom Tom

        It was when we had an empire but not now we have a welfare state funding consumerism for the indolent

    • BarkingAtTreehuggers

      The window of opportunity is closing with every day we come closer to the closing ceremony.

    • Tom Tom

      The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung of Merkel’s CDU receives taxpayer funding yet pays people in Maidan in Kiev. The US has a $5 billion allocation for activities in Ukraine and is paying people 300 grivni

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