Condemning Russia’s actions in Crimea is worth doing, but it’s not enough – British MP

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Canan Kevser
25 February 2021, 12:36
Canan Kevser
25 February 2021, 12:36

The United Kingdom must continue its policy of condemning Russia's occupation of Crimea while strengthening itself to counter the Russian threat.

Stewart McDonald, a member of the UK Parliament for Glasgow South, wrote about this in an article for The Scotsman.

"Condemning Russia’s actions in Crimea is worth doing, but it’s not enough. Meaningful solidarity also means ensuring we aren’t the weak link in the chain," the MP wrote.

He noted that seven years ago, a new colonisation was underway, under the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We should not let the anniversary pass unnoticed, events in Crimea have an immediate resonance in Scotland too."

He added that Crimeans were again to be centre stage of geopolitical events, as the redrawing of a European country’s borders by force would set in train a conflict that also extended to Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas. 

"It has claimed the lives of more than 13,000 Ukrainian citizens, displaced over 1,000,000 people from their homes, seen continued violations of human rights – particularly against Crimean Tatars - and saw Russian backed terrorists bring down civilian flight MH17, killing all 298 passengers on board, 80 of whom were children."

Recalling that this week Ukrainian parliament issued an appeal to the international community urging the international community to not forget the illegal occupation of Crimea and to condemn it, the MP asserted that "Scotland should do so without reservation."

He also recalled that on February 20th, 2014, ‘little green men’ appeared in Crimea: soldiers wearing Russian combat gear but without any insignia, which Russia initially denied was their forces but later admitted to. The military build-up that followed set the scene for full occupation, takeover of its democratic institutions and a sham referendum on Crimea's merging into the Russian Federation.

The MP noted that the vast majority of the international community condemned and not recognised that referendum, responded with a whole range of sanctions against Russia.

He also mentioned that it was conducted under Russian military guard, and the result – 96% support for joining Russia – was quite literally not believable.

"What happened in Ukraine, following the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, was a wakeup call to Europe."

Alleging the examples of the deployment of chemical weapons by Russia on UK soil, he stressed that "Putin does not play by the international rules-based system; indeed, he is one of the greatest challenges to it." 

McDonald added that Russia is spreading a wave of propaganda throughout Europe. 

"This underlines the need for maximum solidarity amongst free and open societies. Whether it is small democracies such as Estonia or larger nations such as France, alliances such as NATO, the EU and the OSCE are of vital importance in ensuring that we are able to work together to protect our democratic way of life," he said.

Mr Stewart McDonald concluded by saying the UK should demonstrate solidarity in countering Russian aggression.

"Condemning Russia’s actions in Crimea is worth doing, but it’s not enough. Meaningful solidarity also means ensuring we aren’t the weak link in the chain."