Minister for European Affairs Paschal Donohue said on RTE News recently regarding the Ukraine that “mechanisms must be developed to lead to a de-escalation of the tension”. Sadly the actions of EU foreign Ministers are only fuelling the crisis.
Both the EU and the US quickly legitimised the Government of dubious legality in Kiev whose first declarations included a dictate to restrict the rights of Russian speaking ethnic groups (now thankfully rescinded) and an application to join NATO. The cabinet includes six extreme ultra nationalists including defence secretary Andriy Parubiy, a founding member of the far-right Svoboda party. Is it any wonder ethnic Russians might be worried? Rather than attempt to calm down tensions, EU Foreign Ministers have barely disguised their favouritism in gleefully acting as the tools of US and NATO foreign policy in Europe in its continued military encirclement of Russia, a policy that is only playing into the hands of Putin and his own extreme nationalist acolytes.
Instead of echoing the rampant militarism of the US, EU and NATO, the Irish Government should call for a genuine de-militarisation and de-escalation of the situation and a facilitation of serious peace talks that recognize the legitimate fears and concerns of all ethnic groups within Ukraine with the aim of the development of a non-aligned, nuclear-free country. Ministers Gilmore and Donohue could start by requesting their EU fellow ministers to openly call on NATO to cancel its planned military exercise, Repent Trident, in Ukraine this July and to declare that they will not ask the Ukrainian government to join NATO. The last thing the people of Ukraine need is for US, British and other troops to be romping around their territory stirring up further ethnic tensions.