Vladimir Putin is deliberately escalating his aggression against Ukraine, amassing 175 000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, said Sandra Kalniete, Latvian MEP, Vice-Chair of the EPP Group, at the EP plenary debate “Situation at the Ukrainian border and in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine”.

Yet he should understand that this will not be another of his adventures left unpunished – this is a war he is bound to lose. He will lose this war because today’s Ukraine is not the Ukraine of 2014, which was weakened and unprepared under the corrupt Yanukovych regime. Today, the Ukrainian army is experienced, battle-tested, reformed, and equipped for modern warfare. It has benefitted from training by the US, NATO and EU partners and it has high morale and readiness to defend the homeland”, said Kalniete.

She emphasized that Putin would also lose the war because more than 56% of Ukrainians now support closer integration with NATO and the EU. According to the Latvian MEP, the Russian president has failed to win over hearts and minds through ruthless intimidation and disinformation campaigns – Ukrainians see him for what he is.

“Finally, Putin will lose the war because further aggression will be met with far more powerful Western retaliation – severe restrictions of imports of Russian gas, sweeping sanctions against the bank accounts of his cronies, the permanent halt of certification of NS2, and disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT system,- assured Sandra Kalniete.-

All of these measures will also be applicable and relevant in the case of unconventional aggression as well. We have now seen the range of hybrid warfare instruments used by the Kremlin, including cyberattacks and artificial mass migration, and we must make serious investments in strengthening Ukraine’s resilience.”

She pointed out that the EU and NATO member states must support reinforcing Ukraine’s military capabilities through arms and technology transfers. “It is completely unacceptable for any single member state to prop up Moscow’s interests by blocking such support. Meanwhile, member states on the EU’s eastern flank must now enter a state of high readiness and alertness – we must never allow another “surprise” as during Putin’s aggression in Crimea”, said the European deputy from Latvia.

Sandra Kalniete concluded that “we must once and for all discard any ideas of appeasing Putin. Ukraine is not Chamberlain’s “far away land of which we know nothing” – it is our neighbour, close partner, and friend with a shared vision of democracy, security, and prosperity.”

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