Strade, 19 February 2014
Now is not the time to reflect upon the disastrous (lack of) policy of the EU and its member-States towards Ukraine. The time for that will come soon enough.
Now is the time, however, for the EU to do whatever it can and should do in order to prevent a large-scale massacre and help all Ukrainians who are fighting for their freedom and dignity.
The EU, or in the absence of an improbable “consensus” (one of the EU’s idiosyncrasies) as many of its member-States as possible, should as a matter of urgency:
− Recognise, based on article 49 of the EU treaty, that Ukraine is entitled to seek full membership of the EU.
− Allow Ukrainian citizens to pass freely through EU borders by abolishing, with immediate effect, the visa rules currently in place.
− Immediately freeze all bank accounts and assets held by politicians in power and Ukrainian oligarchs in all EU countries and ban them from entering and staying on EU territory.
− Ask the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to bring charges against President Viktor Yanukovych, Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaliy Zakharchenko, Defence Minister Pavel Lebedev, the head of the Presidential Administration Serhiy Klyuyev and Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka.
− Due to his irresponsible governmental policy– to say the least –, relieve EU Commissioner Stefan Füle of all his duties towards Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova and charge Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski with the responsibility of dealing with the situation in Ukraine.
− Immediately send emergency aid teams (doctors, medicine, etc.) to Kiev, and establish a secure medical evacuation route to Poland.
− Demand that charges be brought against all European bank executives who have broken the PEP rules (politically exposed persons) set by the EU by allowing elite Ukrainian politicians to open accounts in EU banks without disclosing their political roles.
Finally, the EU must stop burying its head in the sand. As Swedish researcher Anders Östlund said, responsibility for the start of the bloodshed in Kiev lies in Moscow – with the master of the Kremlin trying to impose a National Bolshevik regime in Kiev, in addition to the one he has set up in Russia, and to integrate a “normalised” Ukraine into his colonial project – standing as a new antithesis to the rule of law and democracy.
The EU and its member-States must fully open their eyes to the reality of Putin’s system. Without further delay, they must work out a consistent political strategy – warm, open and generous towards all Russian citizens whilst being both polite and uncompromising towards the countries’ authorities.