Below is the response I received to the email I sent to my MP – David Hamilton, Labour – regarding David Cameron’s decision to send 75 military “advisers” to Ukraine, despite a new ceasefire having just been negotiated in the Normandy Four format (ie. between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine). The text from my email can be found here. I have heard that France has distanced itself from Cameron’s plan, and that Hollande’s administration is still committed to reaching a diplomatic settlement. Yesterday President Putin met with Gérard Larcher – the President of the French Senate – in Moscow, further highlighting the conciliatory tone between the two nations. Read details from their meeting here.
Dear Ms Stephenson
Thank you for your email with your concerns on David Cameron’s position on Ukraine.
I am aware that David Cameron announced that UK military trainers are to be deployed to help Ukraine forces stave off further Russian backed incursions into its sovereign territory.
This decision has been under consideration by the UK national security council since late last year and it would be the first deployment of British troops to the country since the near civil war in eastern Ukraine began more than a year ago.
This is part of a training mission providing advice on medical training, logistics, intelligence analysis and infantry training. I understand that this is an action meant to alert the Russians that Britain does not approve of further large scale occupations of towns in Ukraine
David Cameron has also argued for tougher sanctions against Moscow if Russia backed militias in eastern Ukraine and failed to observe the provisions of a ceasefire agreement.
This is indeed a worrying situation and it may of course fuel Russia’s wrath with the EU and needs to be handled delicately.
I like you, agree it is not as black and white as it seems. We need to take a more even handed approach to what is happening. I was extremely disappointed that we were not there along with the Germans and the French at the summit that was held with Russia and the Ukraine.
I am also deeply concerned about the state of the other countries in the region. However for my part and my Party I will be keeping a very close eye on the situation.
Thank you for sharing your views.
DAVID HAMILTON MP
Member of Parliament for Midlothian
I was disappointed that Hamilton did not address my concerns regarding the contradiction between sending British soldiers and supporting the Minsk agreement, which requires all foreign troops to leave the country. It is also discouraging to see references to ‘Russian backed incursions’ and ‘Russia’s wrath with the EU’, but no mention of the will of the people of Eastern Ukraine, who have been living under constant shelling for almost a year now. It seems like there is little difference between Hamilton’s view of the situation and that of the PM. However, another member of the Labour Party – I’ve forgotten who – said in an interview to RT this week that there was a great deal of disapproval to Cameron’s maneuver in Parliament. This was due to its inflammatory nature, and because the announcement was made having only been decided by a few members of Cameron’s Cabinet – rather than following a debate in the House of Commons and with widespread support.
While John Kerry and Joe Biden insist that there’s been no split within the US/EU/NATO countries on how to approach the situation and ‘deal with’ Russia, it seems like this honeymoon phase of the coalition may truly be at an end now. While most of Europe seems to favour a rapprochement with Russia; the US, UK, Canada, Poland and the Baltic states are clamoring for more sanctions and won’t rule out sending weapons. Since Cameron’s announcement, Poland has declared that it will now send 100 trainers, with Canada likely to follow. At this rate Putin doesn’t need to do anything in retaliation, he can merely sit back and watch as the EU caves in on itself once and for all.