With so much media attention on birthday cakes and cheeseboards, it would be easy to forget that in the eastern reaches of Europe, a war is being fought – one that has killed thousands of people and displaced well over a million more.
Increasingly, Putin’s state has displayed an alarming level of bellicose ethno-nationalism, pushing the historical myth of ‘Greater Russia’ in a bid to snatch territory and restore the borders of the old Soviet Union. Whilst for many people, Ukraine may be a ‘faraway country of which we know nothing’, it is clear that a Russian invasion would destabilise the international order and gravely threaten the European continent.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO or the EU but allowing Russia to invade and/or install a satellite state government would reward aggression, embolden aggressors and would carry echoes of the historic mistakes of appeasement. Our allies in Poland, Lithuania and Estonia, as well as others, would have their very existence threatened by further expansionism. Britain as a member of NATO cannot allow this.
Windsor’s longstanding connection with our military is a great source of pride to me and many others who live here. So, we must pay tribute to the men and women who serve our country - not least those currently deployed on Op CABRIT in Estonia as they provide a vital presence in response to Russian threats.
I welcome the Prime Minister’s focus on these worrying developments, and I welcome the steadfast commitment to support the sovereign nation of Ukraine. In the time period since we provided materiel assistance to Ukrainian forces, we have seen our NATO allies and friends step up to the crease alongside us. Warships from Spain, fighter jets from Denmark and troops from France - to name but a few examples – emphasises the truly collaborative and international statement of intent.
We must be under no illusions of the magnitude of what is going on in the Donbas currently, and I will continue to press Ministerial colleagues to keep a close eye on the state of affairs and review British involvement as per the situational requirements.
It is important that we also maintain diplomatic channels. It is never too late to prevent a war, and I hope that with continued pressure the Russians will soon come to the table to meaningfully discuss a peaceful resolution.