Arming Ukraine 'will only extend conflict'

Eugen Freund urges a diplomatic resolution to the EU-Russia-Ukraine conflict.

By Eugen Freund

21 Apr 2015

What is truly striking upon arrival in Kyiv is the extreme contrast: only a few hundred kilometres to the east, despite the ceasefire, people are dying violent deaths. Yet in the city, things could not be more peaceful: people going to work, rush-hour traffic - in fact, many of the cars going bumper-to-bumper are luxury limousines or huge SUVs. 

Some may wonder how Ukrainians were able to buy their expensive Lexus or Mercedes-Benz. The answer is that corruption is rampant - all previous governments were guilty of it, and the present leadership has carried on with it. This is something which parliament's delegation travelled to Ukraine to assess.

Aside from the corruption, the war in the east of the country occupies the hearts and minds of our partners. Separatists, or 'terrorists' as they are commonly called, break the ceasefire every day, saying, "If Europe does not stop Russia, Vladimir Putin's army will show up at your borders." 


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Politicians have been pleading for weapons they say are urgently needed. Museum pieces have had to be used in order to equip soldiers. They have complained that while there is no embargo on EU weapons, there are also simply no weapons available.

This visit was a sobering one which left me with a single realisation - feeding the war with more weaponry will only extend it, possibly to our borders - or even within. 70 years after the end of world war two, this is the last thing Europe needs. All efforts should be undertaken to resolve the conflict through diplomatic means.

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