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Don't panic over Ukraine invasion crisis- squeeze their finances instead

March 4, 2014 1:30 PM
By Paddy Ashdown in The Mirror
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

The former Lib Dem leader & former high representative for Bosnia & Herzegovina says the plainer Russians get the message, the better they understand it

This is one of those rare occasions when the West should follow the immortal advice of Corporal Jones in Dad's Army: "Don't panic!"

Russia is not a strong state, it is a weak one. Their system of Government depends upon corruption, not the rule of law. They failed to invest their oil wealth in modernising their industry, and now have a rust bucket economy.

When Mr Putin invaded Georgia in 2008 it looked as though he had won. But in the end it was a catastrophe for Russia. They lost international support and exposed their army as inefficient and out-of-date in technology and tactics.

When Mr Putin threatens to invade Ukraine if Ukrainians of Russian origin are in danger, he is repeating Hitler's Sudetenland argument for invading Czechoslovakia.

So, we used military force then, should we use it now? No. This time there is a better way.

Today the Russian stock market collapsed. The economic, diplomatic and political pain which Russia would suffer if the West now acts decisively, strongly and with unity, could be unbearable.

I remember negotiating with the Russians in Bosnia - the plainer they get the message, the better they understand it.