The EU’s moral dilemma vis-à-vis Ukraine needs to be addressed

Simon Coveney was described as a “double hat” in Brussels yesterday EU Foreign and defense ministers met to discuss a multifaceted approach to support Ukraine against this brutal and illegal Russian invasion.

This is a week of high-stakes diplomacy, culminating in a two-day EU summit beginning Thursday, also attended by US President Joe Biden.

President Biden’s presence in the Belgian capital, where he will also attend a meeting of the 30-nation NATO military alliance, is a major effort to reinforce emerging fault lines over how best to assist the embattled Ukrainian people.

21 of NATO’s 30 member states are also part of the European Union, and this is where tensions and disagreements are most evident.

Heading to a series of meetings, Mr Coveney, who is both foreign and defense secretary, said he believed further sanctions against Russia were inevitable.

But many other EU member governments were determined to include energy in this fifth round of sanctions imposed over the past 26 days, since Russian bombs first fell and their tanks rolled into Ukraine.

Ukraine’s brave President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made it clear in a series of speeches to American and German politicians last week that his country needs far more than kind words and gestures of support.

A major topic this week is whether to up the ante against Putin’s Moscow regime by banning all EU gas and oil imports to strangle Russian access to hard currency.

The energy ban has been endorsed by Poland, the Czech Republic, the Baltic states and others closer to murder and chaos who have already had bitter experiences with Russian excesses.

Germany and Italy are among EU member states skeptical about a ban on Russian oil and natural gas in particular.

Both Germany and Italy are very dependent on gas supplies. The EU generally gets 40 percent of its gas supplies from Russia and the impact of an energy import ban on the already skyrocketing cost of living and the threat to hundreds of thousands of jobs are now very real and a major economic recession looms.

This presents a moral dilemma for the EU as it weighs the loss of livelihoods in a multitude of EU countries against life and death in Ukraine.

The EU’s policy-making commission has drawn up a plan to reduce Russia’s energy dependency by two-thirds by the end of this year and eliminate it completely by 2027. It remains to be seen how realistic such goals are.

Peace negotiations could lead to some sort of ending to this terrible war. But on the ground, chaos continues with the killing of innocent people and to date 3.2 million Ukrainians have been forced from their homes.

There are absolutely no easy solutions to this. But the talk must go on and signs of disunity among EU member states, which benefit Putin, must be dispelled at all costs. The EU’s moral dilemma vis-à-vis Ukraine needs to be addressed

Fry Electronics Team

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