Kyiv, September 12, 2014. The European Union’s response to Russian aggression against Ukraine has so far been inadequate because EU countries lack a clear picture of the events occurring in Ukraine. Some European leaders have still not grasped that a war is happening in Ukraine, a war supported by Russia and waged against European values. This was stated at Ukraine Crisis Media Center in Kyiv by Rebecca Harms, the German politician and President of the Party of Greens in the European Parliament.
“There are Russian soldiers on the ground in Ukraine, there is still a kind of refusal to acknowledge that a war is going on in the territory of Ukraine,” stated Harms. Europeans “are still missing a clear analysis of what’s going on in the east of Ukraine,” and this is preventing a stronger European response, she continued. No one supports a military solution to the conflict, not Ukraine, and not Europe. Unfortunately, “Russia wants a military solution and is close to getting a military solution,” she said. Europeans need to acknowledge the reality of a Russian war against Ukraine, and this will in turn allow a more adequate European strategy toward Russia’s war.
Harms believes that the European reluctance to have a clear view of the conflict is exemplified in France’s approach to the sale of Mistral war ships to Russia. “The French are known for a certain ignorance to the developments that have happened in Ukraine over the past few months,” said Harms. The Russian military can easily use the Mistrals in an offensive war against Ukraine from the Sea of Azov or the Black Sea. So far, the French have not acknowledged this reality, nor do they have a complete idea of what is actually happening in eastern Ukraine.
Harms admitted that Europe has made mistakes in its past approach to Russia. Europe thought that engaging and treating Russia as a partner would encourage stable and friendly relations. In doing so, Europe misunderstands the changes occurring in the country and the nature of the Russian government. Russia’s campaign of agitprop and disinformation through Russian mass and social media was planned well in advance of the Ukrainian crisis. “We need to win it back,” said Harms. She believes that if Europeans had more accurate information on the crisis, unimpeded by the Russia’s media offensive, Europeans would give greater support for a more proactive response to Russia.