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Ukraine: Europe and Russia?

The reappearance in 2008 and 2014 of the use of armed force and of outlawed methods within Europe is a serious matter for concern on three counts.

The defence of minorities, a frequently used pretext reminds us of the Sudeten crisis. Its rhetoric is lethal for continent.

Taking territory to "pledge" ie the military occupation of part of a territory in view of ulterior negotiations, which this time has gone hand in hand with the cowardice of taking the flag from regular troops, is real proof of weakness and decline.

The shameless infringement of international laws and agreements with arguments used in the past, notably in Europe by the worst regimes which led to horrors of the world wars must be unanimously and firmly condemned. It must not go without response.

I am amongst those who have always wanted Europe and Russia to have closer relations, establishing the free movement of people and goods and I continue to believe this. But we have to admit that it is the only country in Europe to employ the force that Europeans no longer want to witness in settling their disagreements. This has to stop.

"Privileging the diplomatic path" this is the watchword. Of course we are right to prefer it. But if history does not repeat itself,  it often stutters. And the quest for an agreement with brutal force justified by the absurd, couched in the most perfect kind of bad faith reminds Europeans of another situation. Daladier and Chamberlain's names are not engraved on the frontispiece of Peace!

And since fortunately we are not in 1938 our only option is a direct, honest, firm and determined negotiation with Russia to achieve the withdrawal of its troops, for everyone's sake and to give a chance to the nascent democracy in Ukraine. Isn't up to Germany and France to take the initiative at the very highest level?