Coffee House

Sir Malcolm Rifkind delivers a stern warning on Ukraine

18 March 2014

18 March 2014

MPs moved seamlessly today from debating the breeding season of the hare to the situation in Crimea. It’s been quiet recently, but this afternoon the House of Commons chamber hosted one of its better speeches from Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who was bristling with a cold, disapproving fury. This crisis, he told MPs, wasn’t just a crisis for Ukraine, it was a crisis for every European country. And Europe was failing to recognise this, and failing to respond adequately, he argued.

‘For the first time since 1945, a European state has invaded the territory of another European state and has annexed part of its territory. The Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister, President Obama, other European leaders have stressed, as has the Shadow Foreign Secretary, that this is a crucial moment in the history of Europe.

‘That’s fine rhetoric, but the rhetoric is only going to be justified if it is matched by our response to what is happening and what could still happen. And I have to say that on the basis of the measures announced so far by both the United States and the European Union, on visa controls and asset freezes for individuals, I say with great sadness that is a pathetic and feeble response that does not match the seriousness with which those implementing these responses have themselves acknowledged we face at the present time.’

He warned that Crimea showed that the Russian objective was to ‘effectively control all the areas of the former Soviet state’ and warned that European leaders needed to do everything they could to be able to look themselves in the eye ‘in order to ensure that that the horrors of the 1930s are not repeated – not in exactly the same form, but in a form that will damage European security and stability for a generation to come’. He argued that Putin needed to feel real financial pain on the Russian economy in order to stop.

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Hague in his statement had made clear that the UK will be pushing for further sanctions with European leaders. He also announced that Britain is suspending all arms exports to Russia and stopping military co-operation with the country. He wasn’t bristling in quite the same way as Rifkind, but his language was strong. He warned that ‘the credibility of the international order will be at stake’ if leaders did not send up to ‘such a profound breach of international agreement’. He also warned chillingly that ‘there is a grave risk that we have not seen the worst of this crisis’.

P.S. It was clear that Labour wanted to be supportive, with Douglas Alexander rebuking one of his own MPs – Paul Flynn – for speaking out of turn. The House should speak with one voice on this, he argued. Which sounds very noble, but Alexander’s constant desire for restraint does frustrate some in Labour who are keen to hear some kind of discernible policy from their party.


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Show comments
  • Roy

    Not until the people of Europe wake up one day and find they have no choice of what they do and say, (close now isn’t it), will they realize a stand has to be made and they’ve missed the bus. Freedom throughout the ages has had to be fought for continuously, today is no exception. Keeping quiet and saying nothing is not defending freedom, it is submission to the works of tyranny.

  • Baron

    Isabel, have a peep.

    Someone should tell the ‘great man’ how our new friends behave.

    http://www.euronews.com/2014/03/19/ukranian-tv-boss-assaulted-and-forced-to-resign-by-far-right-svoboda-mps/

    • Denis_Cooper

      Now that these neo-Nazi thugs have forced him out of office by beating him up I expect that the international community will recognise whoever replaces him as the president of the TV station as being the legitimate president.

  • Roy

    The US should have had an aircraft carrier in the Black Sea with supporting destroyers. The EU should have arranged maneuvers with the Ukraine. Instead we have an Hitler doing the same old takeover tack-ticks that gave him his cocky arrogance that started WWII . This make things that much harder to hold a line against Putinism, as his brazen bravado increases.

    • Wessex Man

      superb irony there, for a minute until I cottened on I thought you were serious and a warmongering desk warrior like Hooky.

  • Kasperlos

    The educated person and would-be authors, given we are at the centenary of the Great War, would be well advised to take names. Those names which have been appearing in the media since the Ukraine/Crimea/Russian events, the schemers, synchophants, liars, thieves, playing the great game for the spoils. Those names in the EU bureacracy, in the national governments, think tanks. Look somewhat familiar? Wash, rinse, repeat. Whilst most of the EU’s 500 million inhabitants go about their business, their fate is being discussed by only a handful of shills and dangerous bravado types called ‘leaders’. A handful of pompous armchair political hacks and psychopaths who would bear no suffering themselves from their thrilling games. Mostly aeging, these parasites see this time as a chance to go down in history with not a wit for the carnage or devastation their intriguing would bring. In 2014 we are getting a reality view of the march towards conflict. No need for made-for-tv BBC documentaries.

  • Radford_NG

    The NATO treaty states that an attack against one is an attack against all.We expected the attack across the European Plain;instead is was a bolt out of the blue against the USA.It was right we join in the attack against Afganistan-Al Qeddah sites.

    It is a different matter trying to impose a Hillary Clinton /Harman democracy on the Afgans.

    And the unjustified (I don’t like the concept `illegal`) war against Iraq.

    Then there is the intervention in Libya which turned into a war against Gadaffi and the intervention in the Egyptian uprising;which sparked illusions in Syria;all of which has lead to disaster.

    Now we have a failing US. President promoting a rebellion in Ukraine along with the Neo-fascists of the EU;supported by Haigh. All of the them whipping-up hate against Russia;whilst all of them are increasingly unpopular with their own electorates.

    So in truth we now get in reality the fantastical world of the `Capitalists`trying to save themselves as the Socialists for the last hundred years said they were doing.

    The matter started in the first place when the US aggressor,Bill Clinton,started an unjustified war against Serbia:the first time NATO guns fired in hot-blood.

    In this matter of Serbia; the British land commander refused radioed-orders from the*American*NATO commander to open fire on Soviet-Russian troops at Prestina airport.//~~~~~~~~~~//Going on from this;it was the British electorate that pulled the rug out from under the US imperialist aggressor when he sought to make war against Assad in Syria.

    The greatest danger in the future is that that Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton may become the next President of the USA,given her aggressive attitude to Russia in the present matter of the Crimea.

  • Richard N

    The people controlling Western media – which is really scarily homogenous nowadays, with every channel pumping out the same lies and propaganda, as ordered by the US and EU – must be really worried now, about why, despite their massive propaganda blitz of the last week, many members of the public in the West are clearly deeply unconvinced that the US the EU empires, by supporting a coup to overthrow an elected President the moment he decided not to join the EU empire, are supposedly the ‘good guys’ in this story, and Russia, which merely responded to their massive provocation right on their border, are somehow the ‘aggressors’ in this Ukraine mess.

    Unquestionably, more and more people are remarking on how all Western media basically say the same about everything that happens that is important to the US or EU empires. That’s not surprising, because it is really unquestionable now that the media in the West is centrally controlled – just as the politicians are.

    Thus, no wonder that everyone complains – not just in the UK, but in so many EU countries – that all the main parties in their country are basically the same. As with the media, that’s not surprising, because they’re all puppets of, and controlled by, the EU gang.

    I’ve noticed innumerable people in media comments sections recently saying that – like me – they totally support Putin and Russia in this Ukrainian affair, and that the crooks, liars and aggressors in this Ukrainian affair are our own governments (or rather, those that control our own governments) – together with their media puppets.

    • Rascalndear

      You are a sad sack indeed with your RT-fed propaganda. US and EU media is anything but homogenous by comparison… ranging from far left calls against fascist anti-semites to far right calls against the same. I suggest you pack your bags and go life in Poutineland for a few years, not in Moscow, but in a small town on the Volga River and see how it feels when you are unable to see anything but state-run television and are not allowed internet access… Good Luck!

  • anyfool

    West gives Putin ASBO
    Now the US and the EU have slapped him on the wrist by giving a few of his close associates a financial ASBO, they like the recipients in the West have actually laughed and boasted about having them, you really could not make this up.

    They have put the finger up to Obama, they hold the EU in such contempt they don’t even bother with the finger for them.

    • Two Bob

      He really is a man’s man!

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …let’s not get too carried away… he’s dealing with yobbos.

        • Two Bob

          Daniel Craig must be proud of his long lost brother.

    • Rascalndear

      Your name matches your comment, alas.

      • Wessex Man

        listen pal, he’s my kind of anyfool!

  • AlexanderGalt

    The threat of sanctions rings hollow. We have even more to lose than the Ruskies.

    Military intervention is a non-starter.

    The Crimea will remain Russian. We will concede that after a decent interval has elapsed.

    For some reason nobody at the Telegraph has written about the meddling by the EU which caused this crisis in the first place. There’s a good piece on that called: “Only Two Possibilities” at:

    http://john-moloney.blogspot.com/2014/03/only-two-possiblities.html

    • Two Bob

      The Russian national anthem is awe inspiring. Blows Ode to Joy out of the water.

    • Baron

      No MSM outfit has publicised the meddling, the call between the Brussels Baroness and the Estonian minister, nobody has shouted for an investigation into the killing of the 86 people at Maidan because it doesn’t fit the EU narrative, but everyone knows about it.

      Soon, it will be as it was when the bolsheviks were in charge in Russia. The elites knew the unwashed knew the elites knew but everyone pretended nobody knew. Arghhh

    • Rascalndear

      The mistake the west made was NATO giving Ukraine the finger in 2008 after Russia invaded Georgia and took land away. That was the launch of hunting season on other Russian neighbors. Very predictable.

  • Two Bob
  • Curnonsky

    Anyone wondering how Hitler could have inspired such adulation in certain British circles during the 1930’s would find the comments posted on this thread illuminating. There is the same toxic mix of isolationism, xenophobia, and quivering worship for an authoritarian ruler with the principles of a street thug. There is the same undercurrent of “nothing to do with us”. There is the same idiot parroting of the aggressors ludicrous lies.

    Does anyone really believe that this will end with Crimea?

    • Wessex Man

      well no but I don’t want any of our troops fighting until everbody else have worn em down a bit!

    • Pootles

      I don’t know old you are, but if you’re under 50 you could probably join some para-military in Ukraine – the BBC film of the new National Guard seems to suggest that they’ll take pretty much anyone. So, over to you – join up. As for ‘does anyone believe this will end in Crimea?’, where do you think it could spread to ? Poland ? The Baltic (we’re in NATO) states ? Where?

      • Curnonsky

        Perhaps we could form a Coffeehouse Volunteers Battalion?

        And for Putin’s next target, I would nominate the Baltic states since they have large Russian populations. Don’t be surprised if they start to experience sudden outbreaks of civil disorder which can only be remedied by Russian “peacekeepers”. As for NATO, it is a hollow shell, a relic of a bygone era that only continues to exist out of sheer bureaucratic inertia.

        • Pootles

          Curnonsky, I misjudged you – I like the (self-deprecating) sound of your Coffeehouse Volunteers, and would join myself, providing we remained in a coffee house – there’s a rather good one not far from the Marshal Radetzky statue in Vienna, which is far enough East for our purposes.
          More seriously, if you remember, the ‘outbreaks of civil disorder’ in the current case came not from Russians, but from Ukrainians in Kiev.

          • Curnonsky

            Coffeehouse Volunteer Battalion motto: “Words Not Deeds”

            CVB insignia: A single white dodo feather.

            CVB mission: In the footsteps of Hemingway, to liberate the bar in the most expensive hotels, followed directly by medal presentations and division of loot.

            Having recently read “The Radetsky March” I like your suggestion, very apropos for our fin-de-siecle moment.

            • Pootles

              Yes, it is all a little eerie – shades of a century ago: the Great Game, the Eastern Question, despots and a house of cards empire, only this time it is the EU not the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A coffeehouse in Vienna is where we should be – waiting and arguing.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Sooner or later, the CVB would have to issue a manifesto. Bertrand Russell might be a good starting point:

              “I believe in using words, not fists… I believe in my outrage knowing people are living in boxes on the street. I believe in honesty. I believe in a good time. I believe in good food. I believe in secks.” (spelling altered to comply with the censor fascists)

      • Rascalndear

        All of the above, unfortunately.

    • Baron

      No, Curmonsky, Baron for one thinks it will go beyond Crimea, hasn’t yet made up his mind whether the KGB colonel will stop at the shores of the Atlantic, push his men to swim further west.

      You reckon the Americans should worry because it ill be the latter then?

    • Denis_Cooper

      I suppose in the Kremlin they may be asking:

      “Does anyone really believe that this will end with Ukraine?”

      and answering that question by noting Merkel’s words when she was in Dublin for the EPP congress:

      http://euobserver.com/foreign/123396

      “EU centre-right leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Poland’s Donald Tusk, have given the strongest support so far for Ukraine’s hopes to join the EU one day.”

      “Chancellor Merkel said that “Ukrainian people have the same right for freedom and democracy as we have in the EU.”

      She added: “And the same goes for the people in Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan,” referring to the other countries in the EU’s “Eastern Partnership” policy on former Soviet Europe.”

      While Cameron would not be satisfied with the EU stopping on the western shores of the Caspian Sea, he went to Kazakhstan on the eastern side and said that he wanted the EU to stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals.

    • justejudexultionis

      First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin…

  • rtj1211

    Dear me, Sir Malcolm, your marbles are a bit garbled right now.

    If you are saying that what is going in Ukraine is worse than what went on in the crumbling Yugoslavia in the early 1990s you need to be put out to grass tomorrow morning.

    Genocide took place there although no-one invaded (whether Serbs and Croats, Muslims and Christians were intermingling and murdering is perhaps more relevant).

    The people of Eastern Ukraine may not wish to join the EU and to date, no shots have been fired in Crimea.

    The behaviour is slightly abnormal, but it is not violent, it is not preventing the will of the people being expressed (unless you can provide proof that the referendum was rigged or intimidation was widespread) and is infinitely preferable to what has gone on in Western spheres of influence.

    The new leader in Kiev is a bit of a violent psycho to be honest: more at home as a gangland enforcer than a politician in a democratic Parliament, I would suggest.

    If we want to back horses in Ukraine, can I suggest you choose someone of vision, peace, economic honesty and someone free of corruption and mafia links?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …wait, why should Ukraine have what we don’t?

  • Denis_Cooper

    “For the first time since 1945, a European state has invaded the territory of another European state and has annexed part of its territory.”

    Well, according to europhiles like Rifkind Georgia is a European state and therefore it should eventually be part of the EU’s non-imperial empire, along with a host of other European states west of the Urals like Kazakhstan:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/01/eu-extend-soviet-union-david-cameron

    “EU should extend further into former Soviet Union, says David Cameron”

    “Speaking in Kazakhstan, British PM says European Union should stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals.”

    And even if Russia has not formally annexed South Ossetia and Abkhazia since 2008 it has recognised them as being independent states and no longer part of Georgia, so it’s only a matter of waiting for the referendums to approve unification with Russia as the referendum in Crimea has just approved unification with Russia.

    And it is a voluntary unification, not a forced annexation.

    • rtj1211

      If you wanna smuggle drugs, then annexing the Silk Route into the EU makes perfect sense.

  • D Whiggery

    I think most people would consider the annexation (with a veneer of democracy) of a predominantly ethnic russian Crimea that was previously part of Russia (not just the USSR) as slightly different to a Russian invasion of Poland.

    Call me when they get to Warsaw and I’ll stroll down the recruitment office, assuming of course that the British Army still has the money to recruit anyone.

    • Denis_Cooper

      No need to be in such a rush, there are plenty of fit young Poles in this country who could go back and defend their homeland before any Briton need put his life at risk in that cause. There wouldn’t be a scintilla of gratitude afterwards, your sacrifice for the Poles would be taken for granted along with everything else which they take for granted.

  • Colin56

    Well, he would do, wouldn’t he, as a former Foreign Secretary. let’s see how he does when he’s FS for Scotland, whether they buy his lawyerly way with other people’s money.

  • Rockin Ron

    Malcolm Rifkind – a complete non entity whose views will barely travel across this country rather than strike fear into Mr Putin. Rifkind and Hague are pathetic. They have no moral authority, no levers, no policies and precious few ideas that are not already hatched in America.

  • HookesLaw

    labour gave the green light to the world and in particular Russa to do what it wants when it went out of its way to vote gainst intervention in Syria.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …actually, an intelligent few sitting behind your hero Call Me Dave voted not to support your murderous islamofascist buddies in Syria as well, lad.

      • Wessex Man

        I don’t belive it, well I do, I posted a witty little reply to Hooky and it’s gone. Still never mind, mustn’t grumble!

        The actual proud honour of saying no to war with the Syrian State was of course Nigel Farage’s, followed bt Labour!

        I don’t know Hooky, you’ll say anything to try and smear UKip!

    • Mynydd

      To bomb Syria would have been to declare war on Syria. What would have been our response when Syrian air defences shot down one of our airscraft

    • rtj1211

      And what do you suppose America is doing in Venezuela right now??

      The country that does what it wants is America, not Russia.

      You can argue the morals of that as long as you like, but the military interventionist since 1945 has been Uncle Sam.

    • Baron

      Bollocks, HookesLaw, it was what the West did when the evil USSR collapsed, we surrounded defeated Russia with new Nato members, an organisation set up to stand up to the USSR, not the Russians. Was this a friendly gesture towards what everyone hoped would be a democracy? Was it likely to reassure the Russian unwashed, make them feel relaxed?

      We should not fall out with the Russians, we may need them again. There exists another power that may one day, when the Republic finally drowns in its debt, play its hand at replacing it.

  • Pootles

    What is it with ‘our’ politicians and journalists? They are people who have never and will never put themelves in the line of fire, yet they seem to have a fixation on driving towards war. They need to get it into their thick heads that after a couple of decades of ill-judged foreign ‘adventures’ (i.e. killing and maiming), most British people have had enough of their pompous nonesense and their ridiculous ‘it’s just like Munich all over again’ comparisons.

    • HookesLaw

      So its our politicians and journalists who are annexing another state – is it? You are the one talking about ‘war’ and its Putin who is moving tanks around.

      • Pootles

        Putin – moving tanks around, but in Russia. Not smashing up other countries – like the UK has in recent years. How many people have been killed in the Crimea? Our journos and politicians are strutting around like bedraggled old cockerels. Our politicians have effectively dismantled the UK’s armed forces (aircraft from aircraft carriers – no; the ability to put more than 20,000 combat troops on the ground – no), yet are talking this business up into something that they can’t control. It is totally unnecessary. Crimea was ‘given’ to the old Socialist Republic of Ukraine by Moscow as a belated, unsaid, apology for the Holodomor – but that didn’t mean that it was in any real sense Ukrainian. Or do you think the Soviet Union’s redrawing of historically blurred borders have some kind of set in concrete veracity?

        • Wessex Man

          unfortunately one has just been killed, still doesn’t change the fact that we shouldn’t be fighting Putin over this!

          • Pootles

            Indeed.

      • Baron

        If we didn’t back an armed gang of thugs (some of whose colleagues now sit in the provisional government in Kiev, perhaps the KGB colonel would not have moved his tanks around.

        As the hairy creature on the box says, HookesLaw, simples.

      • Makroon

        I could never take Rifkind seriously, he always sounds like a ham actor doing his “stern father” act, with way OTT hyperbole, why doesn’t he just do himself a favour and retire.
        As for Hague, is anyone supposed to be impressed with this bumptious, fake, nonentity ?
        With the dire state of our armed-forces, and a ruined economy to repair, I suppose we should be grateful that these two ineffective idiots are keeping the foreign policy seats warm.

        • Baron

          A good and longish laugh, Baron had reading it, thanks, Makroon, he needed it.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Hand wringing, huffing and puffing about an understandable annexation arising from the contractions and expansions of the old soviet union that has absolutely nothing to do with us. Yet 17 years ago the British government meekly handed over responsibility for a vibrant city state to a totalitarian communist regime with the blood of its own students recently on its hands simply because “they had no other choice” (according to the wets in Whitehall and the wets here).

    Such principles.

    • rtj1211

      Actually that was a treaty with China which ran out. Short of renegotiating it, what were the British supposed to do?? Take on a country of 1 billion people by wheeling out Maggie for the Falklands v2??

      Send the flotilla through Suez and across the Indian Ocean, fuelling up in Singapore and asking the Sultan of Brunei to let us use his kingdom as a base for our supply aircraft??

      I have to tell you that I have worked with Hong Kong citizens who were educated here and have trained medically here and they earn far more money in HK than they do in London.

      So it’s hardly a commie dictatorship where you can’t get rich, is it??

      • Wessex Man

        and your problem is?

      • Colonel Mustard

        The treaty ceded the island of Victoria and Kowloon south of Boundary street to Britain in perpetuity. That means forever. The treaty, which China did not recognise anyway, only “ran out” for the New Territories.

        I know all the “arguments” for caving in to China’s demands and scuttling out of Hong Kong with our tails between our legs but they don’t seem to apply to Gibraltar. And when it comes to the inability to do anything in the face of such awesome power that doesn’t seem to stop our Whitehall invertebrates from demanding a “response” to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea.

        Never said it was a “commie dictatorship”. The special arrangement lasts until 2047 but there are already rumblings about the way the place is being governed. Is it relevant whether Crimeans can get richer under Russian or Ukrainian sovereignty?

  • http://batman-news.com The Commentator

    Incredible to think this idiot was ever Foreign Secretary. Although when you look at Hague may be it isn’t quite so surprising. So, once again: Russia has not invaded Ukraine and has not annexed Crimea, no matter how much the unelected Neo-Fascists in Brussels insist that they have. EU: the greatest threat to peace in Europe since 1945.

    • HookesLaw

      As thick idiot comments go you take some kind of prize. Seeing right wing nutjobs falling over themselves to support a real fascist dictator is illuminating.

      • Wessex Man

        Have you volunteered then Hooky?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …for which, the nutjob, the thick idiot or the fascist dictator? He’s qualified for all , you know.

    • Wessex Man

      Oh Putin will claim the Crimea within hours but it’s still none of our business!

  • saffrin

    Rifkin, just another wheel me out with the script Westminster carear politision.
    Whoever runs the EU behind the seans is 100% responsible for creating this mess. An EU entially dependent on the goodwill of President Putin for gas supplies I might add and all our ‘leaders’ and ‘rent a journo’ can do is run down Putin for stabilising the public unrest provoked by Brussels’ half baked attempt at yet another European annexation.
    They must take the general public for complete mugs.

    • Baron

      Spot on, saffrin, you should replace the bald one from Yorkshire at once.

  • In2minds

    Rifkind, Russia must be terrified !

  • Tom Tom

    Rifkind is a typical lawyer, a self-righteous prig. He is also blind to Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968 and seems oblivious to what France, US and USA undertook in Serbia. These politicians of Rifkind’s ilke are pompous and brimming with courtroom self-importance and should be kept out of diplomatic matters or defence – he is a menace

    • swatnan

      Agree. Rifkind Hague and even Alexander are all talking a load of cods.
      Ukraine is in turmoil, with nobody really in control.I feel sorry for Russia to have such a basket case on its doorstep. Ukraine should never have sided with NATO. That itself was a provocative act to Russia.
      In fact its time to wind up NATO. Its these unholy Alliances that are going to drag us all into another full scale war, just like in Yugoslavia.
      Crimea has always been a part of Russia; a drunken Mr K ‘gave’ it to Ukraine, but its time to take it back.

      • Hello

        Ukraine is in turmoil largely because Russia engaged in a soft power battle with the EU and, on losing, self-righteously decided to take another pop this time with hard power.

        It doesn’t like the reality of modern geopolitics because it isn’t any good at it. Well, boohoo. Why should we sympathise with Russia again?

        • HookesLaw

          Careful, you are breaking in on a carefully scripted crack pot loony right wing nutjob love-in.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …you mean, as opposed to a group of you socialist nutters shrieking hysterically for the H2B and global warmingism and the EUSSR and bombs away in Libya and let’s help your islamofascist buddies slaughter Christians in Syria?

            • BarkingAtTreehuggers

              .. you mean, you just discovered a grouping that doesn’t exist?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …actually, laddie, it’s a group that includes socialist nutters like you.

          • Wessex Man

            Hooky, don’t you as a serious democrat see the irony of Hello’s comment, ‘in a soft power struggle with the EU.’ What in the name of our father ( had to think about that would probably got censored if I’d used original) are the EU doing so far from Western Europe, instigating revolution in a country next door to Russia with a very large Russian ethnic population.

            If Barroso had done the same in Wales, how would you have felt?

            • Hello

              Wales is part of the United Kingdom. Ukraine is not part of Russia, what it chooses to do, and who it chooses to engage with, is entirely up to the Ukrainians.

              I was not defending the EU any more than I was Russia, my point was pretty simple — sympathy for Russia should have ended the moment it decided to invade the Crimea. It was entirely complicit in the political games it was playing with the EU before.

              • Wessex Man

                It was Russian until 1954, when it was given to the Ukraine to keep them happy! I do wish you’d learn a little bit about the region!

                • Hello

                  And the Republic of Ireland was part of the UK, but I still think there might be some objections if we decided to annex it today.

                • Wessex Man

                  We don’t want to we also want the Scots to become Independent, generous to a fault!

                • Two Bob

                  Maybe we should give Scotland to Ireland as a gift?

                • Tom Tom

                  like we gave Diego Garcia to the US

                • Wessex Man

                  That choice should they chose it is in the hands of the Scottish people, it is not in the interest of the rest of the dis-United Kingdom to interfere.

                • Tom Tom

                  Yes but N Ireland did have a referendum about leaving the UK in the 1970s

                • Wessex Man

                  Bingo you’ve woken up.

                • Pootles

                  And before it was Russian it was Ottoman. Perhaps Johnny Turk might like to have a go?

                • Wessex Man

                  well you’ll have to ask them then, while you’re about it why don’t you ask the Native Americans if they want their territory back?

                • Tom Tom

                  What about Hawaii annexed by the US and formerly a British protectorate, or Diego Garcia taken from its inhabitants and given by the British to the US

                • Tom Tom

                  The Turks claim the right to invade Syria to guard the Tomb of Suleiman Shah so get ready for a NATO hot war in that region

              • Baron

                Crimea was Russian for longer than it was controlled by any other power. It’s transfer to Ukraine was akin to a transfer of Bishop’s Stortford from Hertfordshire to Essex, it had no meaning within the USSR, hence Crimea semi-independence within the Ukrainian jurisdiction.

                • telemachus

                  Baron
                  You are a perspicacious kind of a chap
                  And on this you have nailed it in one
                  The Russians have a visceral need to return Crimea to the Motherland
                  No amount of huffing and puffing of the West
                  Not even sailing the sixth fleet thru the Bosphorus would change one iota of what has happened

                • Baron

                  Funny, telemachus, how everyone thinks is all about democracy, the right of people, freedom of this and that. Instead, it hard money that drives the elites on both sides, here the Crimean oil reserves.

                  http://www.transeuroenergy.com/s/Ukraine.asp

                • Tom Tom

                  We should transfer Gibraltar to Spain and Malvinas to Argentina

                • Wessex Man

                  as long as they give theirs back, noproblem.

              • Tom Tom

                Wales is actually part of England in legislative terms, and originally it was to be fully integrated and submerged. Russia did not invade Crimea – it has 25000 troops stationed there by treaty. It is Russia

          • joeblow55

            At least make some sense, fool

        • Baron

          We should have sympathy with the Russians, because we may need them again, Hello.

          • Hello

            We may need them again? If we ever need Russia, then I doubt Russia will be inclined to help.

            • telemachus

              Without Russia and its magnificent strong leadership in 1944 we would all now be lauding the recently departed Adolf

              • Colonel Mustard

                The turning point of the Second World War was the Battle of Britain, fought and won by the RAF. Without that there is no doubt Hitler would have invaded, whatever revisionists try to argue now. He was ever an opportunist.

                Without Britain Stalin would not have got his Baltic convoys or his aircraft through Iran and the USA, on entering the war would have been hamstrung from contemplating any second front.

                When Germany invaded Russia Stalin, who had managed to destroy most of his military leadership in purges, almost broken down completely. There was nothing remotely magnificent or strong in his reaction. It was the stoic Russian people, Allied war supplies and the reality that failure to fight made the NKVD an equal fate to the Germans that kept them going.

                In hindsight there were lots of Allied errors. Foremost amongst them being the failure to properly exploit German military resistance to Hitler and caving in to Stalin’s spite.

          • telemachus

            Further Russia is always at its best when led by a strong man
            *
            Remember how they turned the tide of world war two

            • Baron

              You’re on the something, telemachus.

              Both the Russians, and to a marginally lesser extend the Germans, have liking for discipline, always choose order of the tribe over the chaos of individualism, both tribes indeed prefer strong leaders, and in particular if they sense the leaders to be promoting the greatness of the whole.

              The two most powerful nations in Europe today (Germany, Russia) have picked leaders who were brought up, imbibed the cult of communist inspired collectivism. Both leaders have respect for each other, both have natural backing by a majority of the tribe they lead, both are heads above the rest of the European leadership.

        • Mynydd

          Ukraine is in turmoil because since gaining independence in the 1990’s two governments have been overthrown by mob rule. When Mr Cameron/Hague sided with the latest mob on Russia’s doorstep what did you expect them to do, stand back and see their Black Sea Fleet under a potential attack from a NATO backed Ukraine.

          • joeblow55

            Same thing that overthrew the USSR. I didn’t here any whinging then.

            • telemachus

              Read the Redless Truth
              *

              The flames of protest thus vigorously fanned, the demonstrators got down to some serious regime change, overthrow of the democratically elected Ukrainian leader and replaced him with the losers at the previous election. The EU applauded.

              Then after having encouraged the putsch ringleaders to breach their constitution the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland persuaded the new regime to rip it up all together. The legitimacy of the new Ukraine is derived soley from the approval of the EU and America.
                                     
              To celebrate the overthrow of a democracy, that perfect symbol of the democratic EU, Catherine Ashton, the never-elected-to-anything EU foreign minister flew into Kiev to give the new state of affairs her seal of approval.
                

        • Two Bob

          Because they have a seriously kickass national anthem?

        • Baron

          Have a look at this, Hello, it’s our new friends, now. You must be very happy.

          http://www.euronews.com/2014/03/19/ukranian-tv-boss-assaulted-and-forced-to-resign-by-far-right-svoboda-mps/

      • Bohdan Kyiv

        I know a lot of mr. swatnans in Ukrainian and Russian web. There is no any word of trooth. Russian power is the 2nd in the world after China which pays, propably about 10 centes for every post. Russia began the war with Ukraine which wants to be free from Rus.imperia more than 10 years ago. The main parts of this war were economical and informative , but about 1mth it’s a real war with weapon and awful man-napping, tprtures and murders of Tatarian and Ukrainian in Crimea. There is no any difference brtween Putin’s Russia and nazist Germany. If the West does really values democracy and freedom, it must concentrate the efforts to eliminate Putin’s regime.

    • joeblow55

      Bs. You are a menace. To common sense.

      • telemachus

        He actually forgot to add that Rifkind was an apologist for Thatcher

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