Two years since Putin invaded Ukraine

When Ukraine gave up one of the world's largest nuclear arsenals, in exchange all five of the permanent members of the UN Security council gave security assurances in exchange. 

The assurances from France and China were somewhat weaker and in separate documents: but Russia, the United States and Britain all signed documents known as the Budapest Memorandum in 1994 which they promised to respect the borders of Ukraine.

Yet, in 2014, Putin's Russia illegally annexed the Crimea, part of Ukraine's territory. Then, two years ago today, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in which Putin attempted to conquer the entire country.

Putin's illegal invasions of Ukraine quite clearly broke the promises in the Budapest Memorandum and are arguably the most egregious breach of a treaty since World War II. 

Under the promises we made at the time, Britain and the USA are required to seek immediate UN security council action to provide assistance to Ukraine.

Putin thought that he could conquer Ukraine in a few days. He was wrong. Two years later, Ukraine is still fighting for survival and has liberated the majority, though not all, of the territory captured by Russia in the original attack.

Nobody can be certain of the death toll, but it is likely that it includes more than ten thousand civilians, a larger number of Ukrainian troops, and a larger number still of Russian troops - at least 45,000.

It would be a disaster not just for Ukraine but for the whole world if Russia is not clearly seen to lose this war. If Russia is perceived to have won, then every country with a powerful neighbour who covets some or all of its' territory will be at greater risk of invasion.

For our own safety and that if the world, free countries must give as much aid as we realistically can to Ukraine to resist this Russian invasion, short of what might lead to a war between NATO and Russia.

There is a joint article by the British and Polish Foreign ministers, (Lord) David Cameron and Radek Sikorski, in the Sun today making this point which you can read here.

It may well still be a long war. But we cannot afford for Ukraine to lose.


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