Article for European media: We cannot allow Putin’s vanity to prolong this senseless war

The following article was published in various European newspapers, including Die Welt, La Repubblica and Le Figaro  

Tomorrow, we mark the anniversary of the end of the worst conflict Europe has ever seen. Since then, we have together across the world dedicated ourselves to peace and stability and the principle that never again should people have to suffer such horrors. Russia has shattered that covenant with its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Heinous crimes are being perpetrated that we had once hoped would be consigned to history. Evidence continues to mount of Russian forces murdering innocent civilians in cold blood, raping women in front of their children and rounding up people to be forcibly deported. They are doing all this in the sickening and baseless claim to be “de-Nazifying” Ukraine.

The Ukrainian people are being subjected to this barbarism because they want to live freely in control of their own future. The United Kingdom stands united with our NATO Allies and G7 partners in our determination to uphold Ukraine’s sovereignty.

At this dark hour, it is a moral and strategic imperative for us all to support Ukraine unwaveringly. We cannot allow Putin’s vanity to prolong this senseless war.

He hoped to take Ukraine by storm but victory continues to elude him three months later. This is testament to how gravely he underestimated the will of the Ukrainian nation. He has been blindsided by the strength of the Ukrainian fightback and the free world uniting to end his appalling war. Putin cannot and will not break Ukraine.

But now is not the time for complacency. Putin has launched a renewed offensive in the East and the South of Ukraine in his desperation to seize the upper hand. Innocent people are paying the price for his continued savagery in cities like Mariupol.

At this critical moment, the UK is taking a hard-headed approach based on military strength, economic security and deeper global alliances.

We were among the first countries in Europe to start sending weapons. Our supplies, from anti-tank weapons to armoured fighting vehicles, have helped Ukraine to stall Russia’s advance. We are backfilling other countries’ stocks to keep the supply of weapons flowing, for example by offering to deploy British Challenger 2 tanks to Poland.

We are also making sure Putin’s aggression is contained. That’s why we have doubled the number of our troops in Estonia and Poland as part of NATO’s reinforcement of its Eastern flank. By doing so, we are strengthening our support for those living in the shadow of Russian aggression.

We have been at the forefront using every economic lever at our disposal to starve Putin’s war machine of funding. The UK has sanctioned more individuals and organisations than any other nation and taken decisive action on trade by banning high tech exports.

We have worked in unison with our G7 partners to tighten the pressure on the Putin regime through severe sanctions. At the same time, we have stepped up our support for Ukraine’s economy – with the UK leading the way in scrapping all tariffs on imports.

In the process, the UK is providing an overall package of humanitarian, economic and military support worth $2 billion. We are also helping those who have been impacted by Russia’s actions. At the World Bank, we secured $170 billion to help low income countries deal with the storm of rising food and energy prices.

We are reaching out to build a broad global coalition in defence of sovereignty and the rule of law. The UK has worked in lockstep with other nations to call out the Putin regime’s appalling actions at the UN, leading the charge to kick Russia out of the Human Rights Council.

We are working with our international partners and allies to strengthen NATO so it is outward-facing, flexible and able to tackle the full range of threats to European security.

To protect our security, we have to look beyond Europe. That is why the UK is deepening defence cooperation with allies like Japan, India and Australia to protect the Indo-Pacific. We should help people to defend themselves from aggression and malign activity around the world, such as in the Western Balkans, Moldova or Taiwan.

Aggressors and autocrats are watching what happens in Ukraine and we must guarantee they get the right message: we will never hesitate to stand up for sovereignty and the rule of law. We can never again allow a sovereign democracy to be threatened like this.

However long it takes, we are determined to see Ukraine prevail with its sovereignty restored. Together with our allies, we can win the new era for peace, security and prosperity.

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