Sir, The Russian scenario in Crimea is inspired by the 1997 movie Wag the Dog: made-up justifications of the threat to Russian-speaking minorities in Crimea are fired up by the massive Tass-style propaganda and official statements of Andrei Gromyko’s times. The biggest hostage of the situation is the Russian people, who are kept in a parallel reality where the activities of their leadership are a just cause.
With cautiously calibrated reaction from the EU, we are slowly but confidently moving towards another frozen conflict in the Eastern Partnership area. Unfortunately, the EU’s lack of unity and fear of resolute actions were parts of the Kremlin’s reckoning.
For those who doubt: you need to realise that the point is not to punish Russia, but to stop escalation of the situation and pull it back to the initial status quo.
Business ties between the EU and Russia are natural and mutually beneficial. It is a mutual dependence and any breaks, therefore, could not last long. But be ready to at least surprise Moscow and prove in practice common values are more important than economic interests.
The whole of Europe is shocked by Russian impunity and lies in Crimea, so do not repeat mistakes of the past. Reach out to your public and business circles, explain what is happening and discuss the possible short-term negative implications of a more resolute response.
Another important thing: the smartest sanction against Russia would be generous, comprehensive and urgent assistance to Ukraine. The EU needs to secure achievements of its soft power.
It is still not too late. We are still able to stand up to the bully with the power of our unity. There could be neither business as usual nor a policy of appeasement. This is about people, this is about democracy in Ukraine, this is about the international assurances Ukraine received in exchange for giving up its nuclear potential.
With no peace in Europe any economic interests become irrelevant.
Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, Ambassador of Ukraine to the EU,