JANE DODDS, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Member of the Senedd has called on Wales to stand in solidarity with Ukraine amid continued threats to its independence by the Russian Government. This morning Dodds submitted a Statement of Opinion to the Senedd in support of Ukraine which can now be signed by other members.
Commenting, Dodds said: “Now more than ever, the rules-based international order is under threat. After years of hybrid warfare, threats and provocations, which tragically have seen over 13,000 casualties in the last few years, a further Russian incursion into Ukraine now looks like a serious possibility. Russia’s amassing of over 130,000 troops on the Ukrainian border may seem like a far-flung conflict for many in Wales, but we must be unwavering in our support for the freedom of Ukraine or come to face the consequences in the future.
“The liberal values that have underpinned European peace security for generations, namely the respect for a rules-based international order, the right to national self-determination, international law and democracy are now directly under threat. This should deeply worry any liberal or democrat.
“We cannot allow Europe, or the world, to return to an age where large authoritarian states can use military action to force smaller democratic states to do their bidding. This type of system only leads to chaos, destruction and great suffering. If this type of violent order is allowed to re-establish itself, where is next? Where does it end? Moldova, Georgia and the Baltics would immediately be placed under increased threat.
“Ukrainians are not the property of Russia, or more specifically Putin and his cronies despite the effort of Putin’s regime to invoke imperialist propaganda of Russians and Ukrainians being “one people”. The people of Ukraine have the democratic right to decide what direction their country goes in.
“Ukraine has undergone a dramatic transition since the fall of the Soviet Union into a vibrant democracy. Two people’s revolutions in 2004 and 2014, driven by young people, saw the country rise up against authoritarianism, kleptocracy and corruption. These revolutions sent fear into the heart of Putin’s regime. For all the bravado, Putin himself as the head of a corrupt network of oligarchs remains vulnerable to such revolutions himself. It is therefore little wonder he is seeking to dismantle this new Ukraine.
“We in Wales must show we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their fight to remain free. Should we not, we could see our security and economic stability threatened like never before. Wales must also be prepared to take in Ukrainian refugees should the worst come to pass.
“Within the UK, we urgently need the Conservative Government in Westminster to urgently clean up Russian money-laundering operations in the UK, not least in London and in their own party.
“Despite all this, we mustn’t despair, we can find peace and Russia with its weak economy can be strong-armed into coming back from the brink through diplomacy and the threat of hard-hitting economic sanctions. But we must also remain resolute, and in the age of weaponised disinformation by states such as Russia, ensure we keep our eyes on our guiding principles of democracy, freedom and cooperation.