Coffee House

William Hague: Ukraine is the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st Century

3 March 2014

8:45 AM

3 March 2014

8:45 AM

You couldn’t accuse William Hague of using soft language on the Today programme this morning when he said that ‘it is certainly the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st Century and it will require all our diplomatic efforts, but also a great deal of strength in the western world in order to deal with this satisfactorily’. He urged Russia to ‘return to that situation, to being in its bases, to having its assets in Crimea’ while recognising the ‘sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine’.

[Alt-Text]


But what will the international community do, other than use strong language that Putin may or may not care to ignore? President Obama’s ‘red lines’ now mean very little after President Assad crossed them in Syria. Hague insisted that ‘there are a range of other significant costs… the world cannot just allow this to happen, the world cannot just say it’s ok in effect to violate the sovereignty of another nation in this way’.

But over the next few days it will be worth watching the language that Britain deploys and how active a role it takes both in urging Russia to retreat and in setting up these ‘costs’ – economic sanctions – as there is a sense this morning that Britain is taking a back seat on this issue.

More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.




Show comments
  • FreeSpeech101

    This is war against PUTIN and RUSSIA. West wanted to steal crimea from Russia. Period. Why ? its easier to wage war by imploding russia inside than starting nuke war. Putin had enough of it and do not want to lose crimea’s port. Eastern and South ukrain may have russians but they are not overwhelming majority. Unless he see them harmed he won’t move. But i think putin is more reactive and probably will lose to Bankers. Because bankers always had power , they only need reasons to kill you. They will bring russia down with nukes or without nukes. Putin will end like qadafi. Its only way. No one go against bankers can survive. Only slaves and puppets allowed to live. Most gruesome criminals of saudi arabia allowed to commit terror worldwide and no one touched them. Why ? they are crypto jews (saudi royals)

  • serguei_p

    Its Munich 1938 again.
    A former imperial power is invading recently formed independent state on the pretext of “defending our own people”.
    And the same as in 1938 the West won’t do anything about it.

    After Sudetenland, Hitler occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia, after Crimea Putin will go after the rest of Ukraine.
    And then, in both cases – Poland.

    If Mr Cameron does nothing, his name will be in history next to Neville Chamberlain’s name.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Oh dear. So Wet Willy Eunuch goes into full headless chicken mode and is resorts to hysteria already. Clearly a demonstration of his and the West’s almost total impotence on this matter.

    Will this threaten the existence of the Euro as the PIGS crisis did? I think not. Just because the EU’s imperialist aspirations have been thwarted even with the century only 14 years old doesn’t make this the worst crisis of the century and even if it were, give the EU a chance. I’m sure in the next few decades they can concoct far more serious crisis with which to bemuse us all.

  • OriginalChris

    I think that William Dartmouth UKIP MEP has some very sound
    advice, including the comment with regard to Baroness Ashton:
    “..UKIP MEP William Dartmouth has warned that the government’s current approach to the crisis in Ukraine risks making the situation in the region even worse. He said: “Ministers must take the greatest care to
    ensure that they do not give western Ukraine false hope just as the West gave
    anti-Assad activists in Syria false hope in the early days of the rebellion
    there.

    “If popular uprisings are based on a false premise of expected Western intervention when none is on the cards then all that happens is that dangerous instability escalates with no good end in sight. “The Government must be very careful not to get Britain drawn into a conflict that could easily escalate from a regional crisis to a global one.

    “Neither is there any desire among the British people to get dragged into yet another far-flung conflict, whether that be directly or through any EU co-ordinated action. And let us remember that the EU’s High Representative Baroness Ashton has never been elected and has zero political legitimacy in the eyes of the British public.”
    http://www.ukip.org/newsroom/news/1201-ukip-mep-warns-the-government-not-to-get-dragged-into-conflict-in-ukraine

    • HookesLaw

      He is basing his argument, if his specious and prejudiced words can be granted that term, on a false premise.

      And UKIP as I recall were against any intervention in Syria and supported the way labour voted. They need not give lessons on false support. They undermined the support the govt wanted to give.
      UKIP are inward looking bigoted and isolationist.

      • Cyril Sneer

        Sadly many of us UKIP ‘bigots’ used to vote Tory…

        Go on insult your customers even more…. do a ‘left of centre’ Cameron.

        “And UKIP as I recall were against any intervention in Syria”
        And they were right about that.

        • Noa

          No, it was Labour that supported the original UKIP position.

      • Wessex Man

        Nu zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • saffrin

        UKIP have no intention in getting us involved in things that have no concern for us.
        The Ukraine, like Syria have nothing to do with us and UKIP are not war mongerers.

  • colliemum

    Has anybody at the FCO told Hague that actually the Crimea is an autonomous republic? Does he, does anybody at the FCO know what word means?
    Btw – since he is so happy to support the ‘self-determination’ of the Ukrainian people, as expressed by the ever-so peaceful demonstrators on the Maidan who helped their parlamentarians make up their minds, why is he now unhappy with the Crimeans doing exactly that? It couldn’t be, could it, because the Crimean PM doesn’t have the support of the EU, could it?

    • HookesLaw

      Of course they know these things. The issue is that the referendum which is planned is free.

      • saffrin

        Would Brussels recognise Crimea’s referendum Hooky, I mean if it err, aided the EU’s spin on things that is?

    • David J Noble

      @colliemum … this is not the way to self determination

      Crimea was handed to Ukraine in 1954 , part of Soviet Union pact.
      You don’t just take back with force … Russia wants to be respected internationally , this is also breach of 1994 agreement (non aggression).

      as always these things are driven by Mafia business / politicians hiding behind a popular cause. LAND GRAB.

      • colliemum

        It was then an Autonomous Republic, within the SU, as it was after the fall of the SU, and as it has been since Ukraine became independent. As Autonomous Republic, it is their right to determine that they do not want to be subject to the new regime, and it is their right to ask Russian forces, which are already there, to help against the right wing Kiev paramilitaries.

        As for that non aggression agreement: Russia has a very good cause to point to the breach of agreement between her and the Western Nations which ‘promised’ not to station missiles in the former Warsaw pact States, not that these states would become members of NATO. Well – it happened anyway, without Russia going on the war path.

        I agree with your last paragraph, albeit it was the EU/USA which went for that land grab, in the false hope Russia wouldn’t do anything.

  • Lady Magdalene

    We’ve got no choice but to take a back seat.
    We don’t even govern our own country …. so why on earth should we have any clout when it comes to Ukraine. The EU speaks for us – and the EU decided to foment a revolution in Ukraine.
    Since Cameron decided to dismantle our Armed Forces in favour of hosing money in the form of International Welfare at countries which either don’t need it OR have despotic rulers (or both), we’ve got no stick to wave anyway.

    • HookesLaw

      The twists the nutjobs are getting into over this is pathetic. How do you expect the world to grow and be prosperous if you ignore it?
      Our armed forces are not being dismantled and its clear from endless nutjob responses that they do not actually want our armed forces to do anything anyway.
      As ever all you do is misrepresent the truth to feed your own ignorant prejudice

      • Noa

        I am always surprised to read a new post by you, Hooky, having expected you to have dissolved in the bile generated by your earlier rants.

        • HookesLaw

          You bare the bile generating ranter.

          • Noa

            “You bare the bile generating ranter”.

            I can spare a fig leaf for your modesty.

        • Baron

          You’re in excellent form, today, Noa.

      • D Whiggery

        Do you think the people of the Crimea want saving or do you think they think that they have been already?

        • HookesLaw

          The people of the Crimea already have a referendum coming where they can state their future. Its already autominous. They can vote on their future.
          Of course many (mostly Muslim) tartars who fled following Stalins purges have returned to the Crimea following the collapse of communism. I wonder what they think of Russian intervention.

          All that is important is that the people get free elections and a democratically accountable govt. If they want to or not join the EU it should be up to them to decide democratically. The nutjobs do not want that, they cannot conceive of or tolerate people wanting to join the EU and dying for the privilige. Thats why they are supporting the communist/socialist/totallitarian Putin.

          I presume Putin does not like the sound of foreigners on his subway either.

          • D Whiggery

            The people fighting in the maidan seemed to me to want to live in a democratic country, free to trade with both Russia and the EU.

            It’s a big leap to go from there to asserting that they were dying for the privilege of joining the EU, although I do not doubt that there are some who find it easy to make that leap.

            I don’t think many are really supporting Putin but simply recognizing that the situation is far more complicated than a simple battle between pro-EU good guys vs Russian bad guys.

            The EU needs the Russian bogeyman, and Putin needs the Western bogeyman. Everyone’s a winner except ordinary people of course.

            “I presume Putin does not like the sound of foreigners on his subway either.”

            That’s just puerile.

            • Noa

              Puerile?

              Yes, that’s Hooky.

          • saffrin

            You are such a lying hypocrite.

      • Mynydd

        “Our armed forces are not being dismantled” no just cut down in size.

    • Kitty MLB

      And the EU must take some responsibility for this,
      they have enticed Ukraine with a pot of honey and that will probably
      will end up here.
      The ever increasing EU is a real menace, and we have no military capacity
      after our involvement in the middle east, that place as said before,
      Islamic terror is the real threat.
      We cannot involve ourselves whenever a country wishes for its own
      independence, its for them to deal with and we have our own issues
      in that department anyway- besides they do not want our help,
      quite sure they can deal with it on their own, especially
      when the majority of Ukrainians are closer to Russia then the EU.

    • Pip

      Without absolving Cameron of his culpability for downgrading the British Armed Forces, to be fair he could have increased their strength 500% and they still wouldn’t have been able offer any credible threat to Russia. This has been caused by the EU/US as part of their agenda of expansion and control of EU Borders and Influence and this is being done without mandate from the electorate of the EU countries, ironically it will feed the Eurosceptic Cause nor damage it.

  • D Whiggery

    EUr-up screwed up.

    We violated the sovereignty of Iraq William, we no longer have the moral high ground I’m afraid. Take that up with Tony Blair.

    • HookesLaw

      Iraq invaded Kuwait and then broke the terms of its ceasefire.

      • D Whiggery

        The first Iraq war was justified the second one was not.

        I guess you’re of the opinion that because Iraq gassed it’s own citizens in the 80’s that gave us the right to cook up evidence to invade the country a full 20 years later.

        • HookesLaw

          Youn can argue the bsecond one was not – I would argue the other way. Iraq was operating only under the rules of its ceasefire and it was violating those rules by killing its own citizens before the invasion.

          • D Whiggery

            If that was enough to justify invading Iraq, there would have been no need for the dodgy dossier.

            • HookesLaw

              I do not seek to apologise for Blair of Campbell.

              • D Whiggery

                I know, but it’s their actions that robbed the West of the moral high ground (its most powerful weapon). Arguing over whether Iraq broke
                UN Security Council Resolution 687 or not won’t change anything.

                • HookesLaw

                  Everyone including David Kelly thought Saddam had WMD and Saddams behaviour spoke for itself, so whilst I take your point I do not agree with it.

                • D Whiggery

                  Of course they did, but they’d thought that for years. What Blair did was deliberately create the impression that things had changed and that there was a new urgency, based on exaggerated and unsubstantiated information.

                • Wessex Man

                  NURSE!

                • Pip

                  Bullshit, you sound like a Guardian Hack, give it a rest you fool.

          • Pip

            We had no right whatsoever to invade Iraq, that’s why the Establishment had to lie and connive and invent a threat in order to justify its actions. Only lefties can see the reality and your type are part oft eh problem and will never gain power again in the UK.

        • Wessex Man

          please don’t confuse him, I fear for his health, he seems very liverish today!

          • Noa

            I wouldn’t worry,
            I suspect that, like Nelson Mandiba, he Speaks to us thanks to advances in medical technology.

  • Jez

    “…..how active a role it takes both in urging Russia to retreat”

    This isn’t going to happen i don’t think.

  • Noa

    Wincing William Hague and the mincing mandarins of the FCO look increasingly ridiculous in a world of realpolitik, where he and the EU can only take handbags to a gun fight.

    • Pip

      After Syria, Hague and Cameron have about as much credibility as the likes of Blair and Bush.

  • Frank

    It is surely slightly premature to call this the biggest crisis in Europe of the 21st Century! Apart from anything else, is Ukraine geographically even in Europe?
    This is a minor territorial tweak between Ukraine and Russia. Yes Russia deserves censure and the West can make all the major participants pay personally, eg travel bans and freeze bank accounts, and punish Russia by kicking it out of the capital markets.
    In due course, when all those in the Crimea (and Russia) realise that they are still living in the iron age compared to the standard of living of the western Ukraine, further adjustments will no doubt be sought.

  • scampy1

    Let us remember Billy the pop and Cameron wanted to back the jihadi savages in Syria?

    • HookesLaw

      No they didn’t. Your ignorance is matched only by your stupidity.

      • Wessex Man

        NURSE! Nurse! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Kitty MLB

    The EU must take responsibility for this
    enticing Ukraine to move closer to the EU when most of the people
    identify themselves with Russia. I thought the entire point of the EU
    was so that there would be no more wars in Europe.
    Do you really suppose Putin is shaking in his hobnail boots,
    perhaps another Cold War is imminent! even so we do not have
    a Thatcher or a Reagan, even the military capacity, and where would be the justification of getting involved – if that’s where you are heading with this ?
    I disagree Mr Hague the biggest threat to Europe is still the Islamic Terror.

    • HookesLaw

      Pathetic. The EU are not to blame. The corrupt elections are to blame and the corrupt ex president. The solution is simple – free elections fair elections and democratic choice.

      • Baron

        Curl up in a corner, keep evolving, HookesLaw.

        The administration before was corrupt, too, the next one after the fracas is over will also be corrupt.

        Old habits die hard, in communism, corruption was the way of life. It cannot vanish overnight because it still lingers on in the population at large, and hence in the character of those chosen from the masses to govern. Until we get the new generation untainted by the evil of the communist creed you so admire takes over in greater numbers, corruption will never fully vanish. Trust Baron on this, he knows, he’s seen it before.

        • HookesLaw

          What is important is progress. Pretending these issues are the fault of the EU nis pathetic. Democracy is important free elections are imortant. Turning our backs on helping that is stupid. But thats what the ignorant nutjobs want.

          • Wessex Man

            seriously Hooky, the EU is progress? are you mad, suggest that your look up the Toleration Directive and count your blessings that this is the here and now and not two years down the line!

          • an ex-tory voter

            So how many men do you propose should die in order to rid Ukraine of corruption and to install democracy there.
            Would 100 men be a reasonable price, would 1000 be acceptable, maybe 100,000 would not be too much to pay?

            If we have learnt anything in the last 30 odd years it is that democracy cannot be “installed”. In order to survive it must be nurtured and developed over time, maybe over centuries. Even then it only needs a centrist, statist government to begin eroding individual freedom and liberty for democracy to be threatened and worse still extinguished.

            You do not have to look far and certainly not as far as Moscow or Kiev to see that happening.

          • Pip

            The only progress we need to concentrate on is getting the UK out of the EU.

      • Pip

        Yes the EU/US are to blame, stating otherwise will not stop the truth emerging.

    • Baron

      Quite, Kitty, the two ethnic groups, the Ukrainians and the Russians, have lived together for over four centuries, lost many in the WW2, nobody knows for sure, but it may well be the blood that flows in the veins of most Ukrainians is a mixture of both.

      The country was quite peaceful, people were content with each other, no ethnic strive until the deluded EU crew began to interfere ostensibly to get rid of corruption. What we are faced with now is of EU doing, they should be brought to account.

      • HookesLaw

        Ukraine made overtures to NATO long before any EU involvement. The notion of things being ‘peaceful’ when a journalist was murdered 12 years ago on what seems clearly to have been the orders of the then govt is absurd.

        • an ex-tory voter

          The overtures to NATO were unsuccessful for very good reason. The overtures to the EU were encouraged resulting in the disaster we have today in Ukraine. Ukraine is paying the price for the EU’s arrogance and lack of forethought.

        • Pip

          Why am I not surprised that you are supporting the stance of the corrupt EU/US Elite that have caused this to happen, who would expect anything less from a Socialist.

  • saffrin

    Oh do keep up Willie, the lack of accountable democracy is the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st Century with open door mass immigration coming in close behind.
    The Ukraine’s troubles don’t even enter the reckoning Willie so stop promoting them into a crisis.

  • Bonkim

    Do you want to bail out a fascist state in Ukraine and hundreds of thousands flocking into the EU looking for work?

    • HookesLaw

      Word of the week ‘fascist’. Thrown out by the ignorant to act as cover for whatever prejudice they want to vent. The nutjobs are in a real old frienzy.

      • Baron

        HookesLaw, if western Ukraine goes it alone you may regret this posting.

        The Sloboda party, its men included in the provisional government, has asked Al Qaeda in Chechnya to boost resistance to Russia, want to kick all Jews from Ukraine. Some of the guys in the Sloboda outfit are a couple of feet to the right of Adolf. At the start of the year, they staged a torch demonstration (rings a bell?), some dressed in WW2 uniforms of the units that backed Adolf, operated his gas chambers, killed many civilians.

        But it’s OK with you, is it?

        • HookesLaw

          There are nutjobs in all countries all over the world. I do not have a problem with free elections and democracy. Last year we saw UKIP candidates giving Hitler salutes.

          • Noa

            And a Conservative MP wearing Hitler’s uniforms and memorabilia….

            • HookesLaw

              And a bloke who ended up as Labour shadow chancellor.

              • Wessex Man

                Nurse! Nur zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • Wessex Man

        You fascist you! you zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    It isn’t much of a crisis. Russia will take what it wants. The west will stand idly by wringing its hands. Ukraine will probably split. Crimea at least will end up Russian. Probably the Donetsk region too. Nne of this really needs to be speculated about, it has effectively already happened. And there isn’t a damn thing we can do. Except possibly fire the EU foreign policy crew who got us into this, although that ain’t gonna happen.

    Oh, sanctions, you say. DMMFL.

    • In2minds

      “It isn’t much of a crisis” – not until Putin turns off the gas supply to Germany!

      • Rhoda Klapp8

        Didn’t say it wasn’t a significant event, but crisis implies it has reached a point where it could go two ways. That point never happened, it has all been decided by force majeure.

      • HookesLaw

        Russian currency plummeted; stock market down. But nthen i suppose Putin wants to keep mhis people poor and noppressed. Given the russian birth rate he won’t have much nof a population in a few years. But come on you have mto admit the nutjob suppot for the dictator Putin is highly amusing.

        • Rhoda Klapp8

          It really is not a case of Putin the evil tyrant. It’s Russia and its not-entirely-unjustifed paranoia, a historical phenomenon of centuries standing. Any Russian leader would have done something similar. It is no use making this leader into some kind of bogey man. It just doesn’t help. Better to understand that things look different from the other guy’s POV.

          Oh, and I don’t buy the fascist west Ukraine meme either. Nationalism yes, but to identify the whole movement as fascist or right-wing is to buy in to the Russian pretext.

          So much of what we are being fed by our media and our government is lazy crap. I do not exclude the Spectator. Shallow.

          • HookesLaw

            Russia has intrerests. So do we.

            • Wessex Man

              but Hooky, what are we going to do when the EU tries to pry Wales away from us?

            • Mynydd

              It is in our interest to stay out of other countries problems, we should come to terms with that we are no longer a world power.

            • Neil Saunders

              Who are “we”, exactly?

        • Wessex Man

          Hooky, I do wish you would clam down mate, think of the blood pressure! think of people like me trying to make sense of your already baffling posts!

          You and your party and the EU will bring this proud country into yet more down with your warmongering!

    • Noa

      The greatest laughter arises from the sight of Tory ministers taking an opportunity to try and make political capital by blaming Ed Miliband for Russian ‘aggression’, as a result of the anti-Syrian military action vote in Parliament.
      I hold no brief for the odious plasticene creation of Associated Union bullies. But to make such an accusation is risible, an insult to the majority of MPs who voted against military involvement in another jihadist conflict. , Certainly Britains’s remaining armed forces now offer no credible international deterrent or threat. Even to imply that Bomber Cameron, the fearless ‘Butcher of Bengazi’, might otherwise have mounted anti-Russian air strikes, with ground and sea intervention, in support of EU expansionism insults the meanest intelligence.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2571733/Was-Eds-Syria-vote-green-light-Putin-Tories-claim-Labour-leaders-vote-against-military-action-encouraged-Russia-invade.html

      • HookesLaw

        Stop the loony rants. Miliband gave out a cleear message that he wanted an isolationist Britain. All just a convenient matter of the moment a chep political ploy but thats the message he sent out.
        No clown could insult an intelligence so mean as yours.

        • Noa

          An isolationist Britain? As opposed to being responsible for a bayonetorectemy?

          • HookesLaw

            Really – have you been up to Scotland recently and seen the 2 giant aircraft carriers we are building. How about the billions being spent on exotic high tec stealth jets to fly off them? You are clueless.

            • Noa

              Hmm, will you ever bring a brain to a debate?
              No money to adequately protect the single aircraft carrier, (the other may carry helicopters or be mothballed) and no planes ready to fly off them when eventually built.
              Still as long as Hague can afford to promote gay equality in Uganda we maintain a healthy balance of national priorities.

            • Mynydd

              We are back in the 19th century, send a gunboat to the Black Sea, unfortunately we can’t send 21st century aircraft carrier because Mr Cameron scrapped the last one and sold the planes to the Americans

        • Smithersjones2013

          Isolationist? Miliband who like Cameron and Clegg prostrates himself at the alter of ever closer union in Brussels derelicting the sovereignty of Westminster as they go. Give me a break. You are not for the first time being as hysterical as Wet Willy Eunuch is being..

    • Pip

      Afters Hague’s disgraceful attempts to drag the UK into the Syrian Conflict at the behest of his US masters, he now has no credibility whatsoever and he might be interested to know that the majority of the British People clearly would never support the UK government either getting involved Militarily of Financially. The US/EU caused this conflict intentionally and it is just another example of why we must leave the EU before it pulls us down with it.

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here