2024.04.19

A.Kubilius. Lessons From The Second World War For Europe Today

Part I. A lesson from the Victory Plan

The European Parliament, angered by the impotence of EU governments in the matter of military aid to Ukraine, decided to postpone the adoption of the budget report of the Council of the European Union (including the European Council). After an impressive speech by former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, in which he called for the discussion of such an issue to be postponed until the Member States (who are the EU’s decision-makers in the European Council) have agreed on the immediate delivery of at least 7 Patriot systems to Ukraine, there followed stormy applause from the MEPs and the motion was adopted by a large majority.

Indeed, there is sometimes a sense of grim hopelessness when you see one European Union prime minister and president after another calling on everyone else to give more military support to Ukraine, swearing that Russia cannot win, but in reality Ukraine is receiving less and less military support from the EU and the West as a whole, and Russia is intensifying its bombing of Ukraine’s cities and energy infrastructure because it no longer has missiles and drones to defend itself. Meanwhile, according to Mr J.Borrell, the countries of the European Union have at least 100 Patriot systems that they are not currently using because they are not at war with anyone.

The question is how to overcome this powerlessness in the West, when there is an ever-widening gap of hopelessness between the loud declarations of support and the actual provision of support.

To find a way to help the West to understand what needs to be done (and not done) today, the best way would be for everyone to go back to school and learn the history of the Second World War.

In the summer of 1941, even before the December attack on Pearl Harbor and the US decision to go to war against both Japan and Hitler, President Roosevelt realised that preparations for such a war had to begin. By June 1941, although the United States still maintained a policy of non-participation in the war, it was already providing Lend-Lease assistance to Britain and later-on to the Soviet Union. To better coordinate US military aid to a struggling Britain, Churchill sent to Washington the representative of defeated France, the future godfather of the European Community, Jean Monnet, who had a reputation as a good strategic planner in pre-war France. According to the history books, Churchill and Monnet managed to persuade US President F.D. Roosevelt and Commander-in-Chief G. Marshall to begin drawing up a plan for US involvement in the war. G. Marshall responded by appointing Colonel Wedemeyer, who was on the War Planning Board, to work with his staff to draw up such a plan. After three months of intensive work, the Victory Plan was born, with a very precise prediction that the US military priority would be the defeat of Hitler on the European continent. At the same time, it calculated exactly what would be needed to achieve such a victory. The calculations showed that the US would have to mobilise a military force of 8 million (in 1941 the US armed forces were only a few hundred thousand strong), and how and where such a force would be trained, where and when the necessary armaments would be produced, and the fleet needed to transport them to Europe would be built. It was also calculated what armaments would have to be produced in order to provide Britain and the Soviet Union with adequate weapons at the same time.

After all this, it was calculated that the US would be ready to land in France in July 1943. This was the Victory Plan, the plan to defeat Hitler. According to historians, this Victory Plan, which mobilised the army and military industry, was implemented with astonishing precision, except that Churchill persuaded Roosevelt to postpone the landing of US troops in France until the summer of 1944. In an interview in 1980, Wedemeyer argued that this delay was a mistake and that it allowed the Soviets to occupy the whole of Central Europe by the end of the war.

In any case, Hitler was defeated, largely because the US had drawn up a detailed victory plan as early as 1941 and began to implement it consistently and effectively.

The first lesson of the Second World War for the West today is that if victory is to be achieved in Ukraine, there is an urgent need for a Western (or at least a European Union) Ukraine Victory Plan.

Of course, until such a Ukrainian Victory Plan is developed and implemented, the problems of supply of Patriot systems and artillery shells need to be resolved immediately, but Ukraine will not be able to achieve victory if Western military support continues to be so haphazard and dependent on crisis solutions: a little earlier, President Pavel of the Czech Republic (himself not participating in the European Council) took the initiative to resolve the artillery shells crisis, and now a member of the European Parliament, Mr Guy Verhofstadt, has started to look for a solution to the air defence crisis.

What the European Council is doing during such a crisis remains unclear.

What is clear is that both Ukraine and the European Union itself need a European Union Plan for Victory in Ukraine (or Ukraine Victory Plan for short). As the experience of the Second World War shows, such a plan is the only way to Ukraine’s victory and Putin’s crushing; the continuation of the West’s current planless chaos and crisis solutions is the only way to Russia’s victories.

A few months ago I took the initiative to get the EU to start drawing up such a Victory Plan for Ukraine, and I have already succeeded in getting the Congress of the European People’s Party (to which we belong) to adopt a special resolution in which the European People’s Party, the most influential party in the European Union, demanded that the European Union should draw up such a Victory Plan for Ukraine in the near future. Several days ago the EPP Group in the European Parliament also adopted a more detailed position paper  on this issue. It would be good if someone in the European Council finally understood the importance of such a Victory Plan for Ukraine.

Victories will not be achieved by mere verbal courage of Heads of State and other leaders that someone needs to give more support to Ukraine. Victories are achieved only by making the victories happen. Making the victories requires a plan for victory. This is the most important lesson of the Second World War for today’s war.

 

Part II. The five most important lessons of that war

The most important lesson of the Second World War for today is that a Ukrainian victory requires a Ukrainian Victory Plan, developed and implemented in the West.

But this is not the only lesson that today’s West needs to learn immediately from this war. I have already written about some of these lessons, but I have now decided to bring them all together in one text.

Indeed, I cannot help wondering how  so much strong intellectual leadership, the ability to take immediate strategic decisions and implement them effectively, were available at that time, and where it has all gone now.

It is to be hoped, therefore, that the lessons of the Second World War will somehow fill the deficit of leadership and the deficit of strategy  that has become the main feature of Western politics today.

These are the lessons:

 

Lesson 1: 1938: The Munich “peace” agreement with Hitler – the gateway to global war.

Today, when there are calls from all sides to bring Zelensky and Putin to the peace negotiating table, and that Ukraine should “only” sacrifice the occupied territories of Crimea and Donbass (allegedly because they are inhabited by Russian speakers) for the sake of peace, it is worth recalling the historical lessons of the 1938 Munich “Peace Conference” (its official name).

In the “Munich Peace Conference” of 30 September 1938, Adolf Hitler (together with Benito Mussolini) promised to take only the Sudetenland, also inhabited  by Germans, away from Czechoslovakia and to guarantee the security of the new Czechoslovak borders (without the Sudetenland), while the West (Neville Chamberlain and Édouard Daladier), in the name of “peace”, not only gave their blessing to Hitler’s actions, but also undertook actions to persuade the Czechoslovak leadership not to oppose the implementation of such an agreement between the “Great Powers”. The Czechoslovak leadership had no choice but to accept such an agreement about it’s territory and on the security guarantees of all the participants  for its new borders. As we know, in March 1939 Hitler occupied the entire territory of Czechoslovakia and took over all military resources and the powerful Czechoslovak military industry. By September 1939, Czech tanks were rolling through the streets of Warsaw with German troops, and by May 1940, in Paris.

The lesson is simple: negotiating with an aggressor to somehow limit its military aggression is not only a hopeless business, but also a morally very “slippery” one, because it gives the aggressor the impression that its actions are blessed by the “great” democrats of the West. Just like the “peace talks” with Hitler, the “peace talks” with Putin will end in the same way: the gates will be opened for Putin to take over the whole of Ukraine, and with it the powerful potential of Ukrainian industry. In a year or two, tanks made in Kharkiv will be rolling down the same streets of Warsaw under the control of Russian tank drivers.

 

Lesson 2: In the late 1940s, Roosevelt and Churchill begin to build not a “pro-British” coalition, but an “anti-Hitler” coalition.

In late 1940, Churchill began to communicate intensively with F.D. Roosevelt, who had been re-elected for a third term. The foundations were  laid for the formation of an anti-Hitler coalition, although the USA was not yet involved in the war. On 14 August 1941, at the US naval base in Placentia Bay, on Canada’s North Atlantic coast, Churchill and Roosevelt met face to face for the first time since the outbreak of the Second World War. It was there that the Atlantic Charter was born – the founding strategic document of the anti-Hitler coalition’s war plan and future post-war order.

If the West is to have a more consolidated strategy for its actions in this war today, the first thing it needs to achieve is for the “pro-Ukrainian” coalition that now exists in the West, despite its inability to clearly define its objectives, to dare to become an “anti-Putin” coalition. As the Russian opposition analyst Vladislav Inozemtsev, who has written very wisely on the subject, puts it, victory over Adolf Hitler in the Second World War was achieved because the Nazis were fought not by a “pro-British” coalition but by an anti-Hitler coalition which had clearly defined its objectives and which declared in 1943 that it would seek the unconditional defeat of Hitler. So now, too, the democratic Western world must finally dare to join the “anti-Putin” coalition and seek the unconditional overthrow of the Putin regime, at least in Ukraine. The creation of such an “anti-Putin coalition” is a prerequisite for the West finally to have the courage and ability to seek unconditional victory in Ukraine and to invest at least 100 billion euros a year, without which victory will never be achieved.

 

Lesson 3: In the summer of 1941, on Roosevelt’s instructions, Colonel Wedemeyer draws up a precise and detailed Victory Plan for the anti-Hitler coalition.

Why we need a Ukrainian Victory Plan of the same kind today is described in Part I.

 

Lesson 4: January 1943 – Roosevelt and Churchill issue the Casablanca Declaration on the objective of the war: “the unconditional surrender of Hitler”.

In January 1943, at the Casablanca Conference, Roosevelt and Churchill, with the support of the leader of undefeated France, General Charles de Gaulle (in the absence of Joseph Stalin), adopted a declaration that clearly and unequivocally defined the objective of their participation in the war against Hitler. The stated objective left no ambiguity: the members of the Alliance would seek Hitler’s unconditional surrender; there would be no separatist peace negotiations with Hitler; there would be no negotiations with Hitler “for peace and armistice”; and the goal of the war and the definition of victory would be Hitler’s unconditional surrender. The Allies remained united in this position until the end of the war. Why they did so was made very clear publicly by Roosevelt himself at  Casablanca Conference: the only way to ensure a lasting, sustainable peace after the war was to implement a policy of “unconditional surrender”, while the ceasefire negotiations would only bring about a temporary cessation of hostilities (and would not guarantee a lasting peace after the war). The unconditional surrender clause would encourage both the German military and the wider German public to continue to oppose the war. If the Allies succeeded in weakening the foundations of support for Hitler within Germany, and thereby weakening the motivation and fighting spirit of the army itself, it would only be a matter of time before Hitler was finally crushed. President Roosevelt stressed in Casablanca that the West’s goal of Hitler’s unconditional surrender did not mean the destruction of German society, but only the destruction of the Nazi philosophy that prevailed in Germany, a philosophy based on the conquest of other peoples and the subjugation of other nations. History has shown that the clear objectives of the war formulated by F.D. Roosevelt and W. Churchill – only the unconditional surrender of Hitler – were fully justified. This allowed a new Germany to emerge after the war, free of the Nazi philosophy that had been crushed in the war. A lasting peace was thus established in the western part of the European continent. Germany, long the greatest threat to European security, was reborn as a stable democracy after its unconditional surrender and became the locomotive for the peaceful unification of Western Europe.

Today, the main reason why some Western leaders are afraid to give Ukraine more military support is that they fear the crushing of the Russian army and the collapse of the Putin regime, because they fear that this will only make things worse in Russia, either by bringing even bloodier dictators to power, or by bringing about the bloody collapse of Russia and inter-regional power struggles in which it will no longer be clear who will continue to control Russia’s nuclear weapons.

The lesson of the Second World War is clear: do not be afraid to crush the aggressor. Just as after Hitler the way for the rebirth of democratic Germany opened, so Putin’s crushing will open the way for positive change in Russia. And that is the most important condition for lasting peace on the European continent. This requires, above all, a Ukrainian victory and a Ukrainian Victory Plan.

 

Lesson 5. 1944: The Western (victorious) plan for a post-war, defeated Germany (without Hitler): from the Morgenthau Plan to the Marshall Plan

As early as 1944, when the Allies were discussing how to deal with the economy of  defeated Germany, the plan drawn up by US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, known as the “Morgenthau Plan”, was adopted, which called for the destruction of German heavy industry and the division of Germany into a number of independent states. This plan was based on the basic premise of Morgenthau himself and his associates that this was the only way to prevent Germany, having recovered economically from the war, from starting World War III ten years later. One of the memoranda endorsing the Morgenthau Plan stated that the military industry in the Ruhr and Saar regions of Germany (the main industrial areas) would have to be destroyed, and that Germany itself would eventually have to be transformed into “a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in character”.

After the war, however, the Americans quickly realised that this plan was completely wrong, as it would condemn the Germans to a long period of poverty and deprivation, which would allow various radicals, including the Communists supported by Stalin, to win the elections. Thus, as early as 1946, the United States and President Harry S. Truman began to realise that the main objective of the US in post-war Europe was to defend the democracies against Stalin’s encroachments, and promptly abandoned the implementation of the Morgenthau Plan and any hint of the destruction of the German economy or its territorial division. On 6 September 1946, US Secretary of State James F. Byrnes made a famous speech in Stuttgart, known by the Germans themselves as the “Speech of Hope”, in which he essentially “buried” the Morgenthau Plan and outlined the prospect of an independent, democratic and economically strong Germany. In 1947, the US announced the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, the implementation of which was aimed at the economic reconstruction of post-war Europe (including Germany), with the clear geopolitical objective of defending European democracies against the radicalism of a disillusioned electorate and against Stalin’s communist expansion.

This lesson of the Second World War tells us today that if we want more security for ourselves, we should look after democracy in Russia. And that means that one day, after the victory in Ukraine and the crushing of Putin, a democratic Russia will be reborn, with the potential to develop economically and become a strong economy. That is why, today, when we consider how the West should deal with a Russia that has lost the war, we should not be thinking of Morgenthau plans for such a Russia, but of something like a Marshall Plan for a democratic Russia. For this is the only thing that will help to stabilise the revival of democracy in Russia defeated after the war, if such a revival takes place. We have written about this, together with experts from the Western and Russian opposition, in a special text “The EU’s Relations With a Future Democratic Russia: A Strategy” (25 July 2022).

 

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These are the lessons of the Second World War for today’s European Union.

If you put all these lessons together, you realise that the EU now needs to agree not only on a Ukraine Victory Plan, but also on a broader and longer-term strategy for the transformation of the whole eastern part of the European continent. In other words, we need not only a Ukraine Victory Plan, but also a strategy for the transformation of Russia and Belarus that is closely linked to Ukraine’s victory. We can say that the European Union needs a grand strategy for the transformation of the eastern part of the European continent.

Some time ago, while speaking in the European Parliament, Mr Borrell admitted that before the war against Ukraine, the European Union did not have a strategy for Russia, because the EU was heavily dependent on Russian gas, and at the same time the EU did not have a strategy for Ukraine, because the EU’s strategy for Ukraine was subordinated to the EU’s strategy for Russia.

Mr Borrell believed that the end of the EU’s dependence on Russian gas could lead to the birth of a new EU strategy towards Russia.

It is my conviction that such an EU strategy towards Russia must henceforth be subordinated to the EU strategy towards Ukraine.

And the EU’s strategy towards Ukraine must focus first and foremost on Ukraine’s victory and Russia’s defeat, but it must also include Ukraine’s membership of the EU and NATO, because only this will create a long-term success for Ukraine, and this will be an inspiring example for ordinary Russians. Mr Putin launched the war against Ukraine only because he was afraid that Ukraine might become such a model of success.

The West’s strategy towards Ukraine and Russia must aim both for a victory for Ukraine and for such a victory to be the impetus for positive change in Russia. This is the only way to ensure not only Ukraine’s security, but also the long-term peace and security of the whole of Europe.

It is time to start implementing such a grand strategy for sustainable peace on the European continent.

2023.05.02

European Parliament resolution on repression in Russia, in particular the cases of Vladimir Kara-Murza and Aleksei Navalny

MEPs Andrius Kubilius and Rasa Juknevičienė and other MEPs initiated JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on repression in Russia, in particular the cases of Vladimir Kara-Murza and Aleksei Navalny 

The following text was adopted in the plenary session in Strasbourg: 

European Parliament resolution on repression in Russia, in particular the cases of Vladimir Kara-Murza and Aleksei Navalny.

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia,

 having regard to Rule 144(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russo-British journalist and opposition activist, was sentenced on 17 April 2023 to 25 years in prison for criticising Vladimir Putin’s regime and its war of aggression against Ukraine;

B. whereas the Russian regime has been steadily increasing its repression of its population and political opponents to levels reminiscent of the Stalin-era show trials under the infamous Article 58 of the Penal Code;

C. whereas Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian political figure and laureate of the Sakharov Prize 2021, remains incarcerated in a penal colony where he has been subject to ill treatment, including torture, arbitrary punishment and psychological pressure;

D. whereas the health of Vladimir Kara-Murza and Alexei Navalny is rapidly deteriorating due to mistreatment and lack of proper medical care, with Kara-Murza having been diagnosed with polyneuropathy and Navalny suffering from suspected poisoning;

E. whereas the Kremlin regime’s harsh treatment of Russian citizens is a criminal violation of human rights, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and may amount to a crime against humanity;

1. Strongly condemns the politically motivated conviction of Vladimir Kara-Murza by the Russian authorities and demands his and Alexei Navalny’s immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all other political prisoners;

2. Expresses serious concerns about the rapid deterioration of Vladimir Kara-Murza’s and Alexei Navalny’s health and reminds Russia of its international obligations, in particular regarding their access to medical treatment, lawyers and communication with their families;

3. Stands in solidarity with Vladimir Kara-Murza, his wife Evgenia, his family, as well as with all other brave Russians who, despite the widespread repression and severe personal consequences, still find the courage to speak the truth and uphold human values;

4. Urges the Council to adopt tough sanctions under the EU’s global human rights sanctions regime (the EU’s Magnitsky Act) against Russian judges, prosecutors and other individuals responsible for arbitrary prosecutions, detentions and torture in the context of politically motivated trials;

5. Denounces the escalation of human rights violations by the Russian regime and condemns the ongoing crackdown on government critics, human rights defenders and independent journalists; calls on the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an immediate investigation into the acts of inhuman imprisonment, torture and murder of political opponents;

6. Urges the EU and the UK to coordinate efforts to secure Vladimir Kara-Murza’s release;

7. Reiterates its call for the diplomatic representations of the EU and its Member States to continue to closely monitor court proceedings against political opponents and their prison conditions;

8. Urges the Member States to provide humanitarian visas and other support to Russian dissidents at risk of political prosecution;

9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the VP/HR, the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the Russian authorities and make it available in the Russian language.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/RC-9-2023-0225_EN.html

2022.04.28

EPP group policy lines on Russia’s invasion to Ukraine

2022.04.26

U4U Address to the Heads of States and Governments of NATO and EU countries

2022.04.25

Letter of MEPs to Chancellor Olaf Scholz

On April 23, more than 50 Members of the European Parliament signed a letter to the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Olaf Scholz, requesting to take a stronger position in supporting Ukraine and calling for further sanctions on the Russian Federation.

LETTER_to Chancellor O.Scholz.

2022.04.21

The purpose of our war

I keep saying that this is our war, not just Ukraine’s. It is the war of the entire democratic Western world against the restoration of the Evil Empire.

If it is the war of the whole West, if it is Our war, then not only the Ukrainians but the whole West must have a clear objective for this war.

Many can say very simply: the main objective of all of us is to bring the war to an end as quickly as possible. That is important. But it is equally important to ensure that there are no more such wars on the European continent. If we do not set this objective for ourselves, then, even if we achieve the immediate cessation of the war, a high probability that such a war will happen again after a while still remains. A strong possibility that the Kremlin will once again rush into Ukraine with a fully recovered army will still remain.

Therefore, our main objective, as well as that of the West, in the war started by Putin, must be very clear: to make sure that the Kremlin and Russia are no longer able and are no longer willing to wage such wars for centuries to come in Ukraine and in the whole Europe.

There is only one way to achieve this, and that is if Russia finally transforms itself into a European-style democracy. Then, only a democratic Russia will no longer be a threat to Ukraine or the entire European continent. Today, any other option (replacing Putin with another Russian dictator) can only temporarily stave off these threats.

It is understandable that “democracy in Russia” for many Westerners today seems like a distant and impossible fantasy. Many will immediately start quoting various opinion polls taken in Russia these days, showing that the majority of Russians support Putin and his war against Ukraine.

However, the results of such opinion polls should not be surprising. It is not even worth talking much about the role of Kremlin propaganda and the ‘zombification’ of the consciousness of ordinary Russians. However, the current success of this ‘zombification’ in Russia does not indicate the continued inability of the Russian people to live under a democracy.

It is worth remembering that before World War II, in Nazi Germany and imperialist Japan, the majority of Germans and Japanese also supported Hitler’s plans to expand eastwards and rejoiced at the occupation of Paris. They also supported Japan’s imperial expansion in the Pacific and in China, and they rejoiced at the success of the Japanese army at Pearl Harbour.

However, both ordinary Germans and Japanese are happy that their countries are strong and stable democracies. And they are not complaining that the democratic world after World War II forced and helped them become democracies because that was the only way to ensure that no one would be tempted to recreate Nazi Germany or imperial Japan, once again threatening the whole world with aggressive wars.

That is why today’s West must also realise that the only path to security and stability on the European continent is democracy in Russia. Any dialogue with Putin or with his appointed successor, who will be an equally, if not more, brutal dictator, will not increase security on the European continent. On the contrary, such dialogues only encourage the dictator to be more insanely aggressive.

The only way toward democracy in Russia after this war is Putin’s complete and total defeat (and Russia he leads) in this war. The same way as such wars were once lost by Nazi Germany or imperial Japan.

This requires not only that the Ukrainians, with the help of the West, crush the Russian army on the battlefield so that it has no choice but to flee the territories occupied by Ukraine (or negotiate the peaceful withdrawal of the entire army in peace talks), but also that Russia gets a taste of its economy completely crushed by Western sanctions.

We in the West must urgently understand what is needed to achieve such a victory in Our war:

First, it needs to be understood uniformly throughout the West already today that this is OUR war, not just Ukraine’s war for its own country. Only such an understanding will make us (not only Lithuania but also the whole West) mobilise all our resources for such a war. We have only voluntarily assisted and supported Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself until now. Volunteering and charity are no longer sufficient – at a recent meeting of the U4U (United for Ukraine) Ukraine Support Network that we had initiated, we heard from Ukrainians that they need to receive 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian food aid every day while they are receiving only 5,000 tonnes delivered by volunteer organisations and donate voluntarily by countries from their stocks. That is certainly not sufficient. An EU-wide mobilisation system is needed (not just for humanitarian aid), but such a system does not exist yet because there is still no understanding that this is Our War.

– Our war requires our victory, with Ukraine playing a pivotal role. In order to achieve victory on the front lines of the war, Ukraine needs Western military support to ensure that it not only defends itself but is also able to defeat the Russian army and to be able to dislodge it from the occupied territories. To do this, Ukraine needs not only defensive but also offensive weapons. Suppose this is really Our war, and we are aiming for victory. In that case, the West should not hesitate to provide Ukraine with such weapons directly from its own warehouses or create lend-lease financing instruments similar to those used by the Americans in the last war. Such financing instruments would now be used to enable the Ukrainians to purchase directly from the Western military industry the weapons they need.

In Our war, one of our most important weapons for our victory is our sanctions: Western sanctions on the Russian economy. Maximum and immediate sanctions: a complete embargo on imports of energy resources, SWIFT sanctions on all Russian banks, the closure of all EU ports to Russian cargo. Russia must realise that this kind of sanctions will really smash its economy. Prominent economic experts calculate that an immediate embargo on oil and gas imports alone would crush the Russian economy, which would shrink by 30-40% a year, while the EU itself would feel little pain, as the Western economies would only handle a maximum negative impact of 2-3%.

– Russia must acknowledge that such crushing sanctions will remain in place until the last occupier leaves the Ukrainian territory. The more soldiers they sacrifice now and the more Ukrainian civilians they kill in order to try to occupy one more Ukrainian town, the more they have to realise that they will have to pay an excruciating price, whether in the form of the enlarged cemeteries of Russian troops in Russia itself, the empty refrigerators today and tomorrow, or in the International Tribunals of tomorrow and the day after.

– Russia must acknowledge today that after a lost war, it will be faced with other medicines known from the history: reparations for the reconstruction of Ukraine; international tribunals for aggression and war crimes, not only for Putin and Lukashenko and their inner circle, whether it is Shoigu or Lavrov but also for the officer who ordered the firing of rockets at a maternity hospital in Mariupol or for the sergeant who aimed and fired a rocket at the administration building of the district of Mykolayiv.

– A deputinized Russia will also be faced with what, after the last war, was called the Marshall Plan and was targeted toward de-Nazified, democracy-consolidating West Germany, led by Adenauer. It is worth remembering that the main objective of the American Marshall Plan in the post-war years was not only to help rebuild the economy of Western Europe, which had been destroyed during the war but also to help strengthen and consolidate the post-war democracy of Europe, which was threatened by the local Communists, supported by Stalin, from the left, as well as by the nostalgia for the Nazi ‘glory’ from the right. Now the West, and the European Union, in particular, will have to worry about how to help those who will seek to return Russia to the path of democratic development after a lost war. This will not be easy, but it is something that the West needs to be talking about today when communicating with potential leaders of future Democratic Russia because this war is the only chance for Russia to become different. The West must do everything in its power to make this possibility a reality.

Therefore in OUR war, we must build on our clear common philosophy and clear goals. Only this approach will allow us to mobilise all our joint efforts:

– Lasting peace and security in Europe is only possible if Russia becomes a stable democracy;

– For this to happen, today’s Russian dictator Putin must painfully lose the war he launched against Ukraine;

– For Putin to lose this war on the Ukrainian battlefields and for his army to be crushed, the West must supply Ukraine with as many weapons as it needs to achieve such a victory for us;

– To crush Russia’s economy in this war, maximum Western sanctions are needed today and must remain in place until Russia admits its defeat and agrees not only to withdraw all of its troops from the occupied territories of Ukraine but also to pay the reparations needed to rebuild Ukraine;

– Russia must acknowledge today that Putin, along with Lukashenko, will be facing the Nuremberg Tribunal after the war, only this time it will take place in either Mariupol or Kharkiv;

Russia must also acknowledge today that after the war, Democratic Russia will face the European Union’s Marshall Plan, entailing normal relations and cooperation between Democratic Russia and the European Union and the entire West. A normal civilised, European way of life awaits Democratic Russia. That is a lot for today’s Russia.

What is needed to achieve such goals and such victories in ‘Our war’, together with Ukraine and the whole of the West, for lasting peace? A clear philosophy and a strategy.

Ukraine deserves respect from all of us. At least they deserve a silent apology. Because this war is also a consequence of the misguided philosophy, the West has been still following in its relations with Russia. The war is the consequence of the West’s indifference or naivety. And it is no longer sufficient that the West only admits that it has been wrong for a long time and that we, Central Europe and the Baltic States, were right to warn against Putin.

What is needed now? Those who have dominated the European Union’s relations with Putin’s Russia over the last decades, the West’s main ambition all along being ‘a dialogue with Putin’, those Western policy-makers of the West’s policy that has ended in a crash and the war, must sit down ‘on the bench’. They must sit down at least for one phase of this war. Germany, France, Austria and the South of Europe should realise that the United States, the United Kingdom, Central Europe and the Baltic States must take the lead in shaping a decisive Western policy towards Putin’s Russia. They should realise that it is very important to listen to the voice of Ukraine in shaping such a policy. This is the voice of the new European leaders. The new European leadership comes with new energy. The days of ‘business as usual’ in a jaded and complacent Western Europe are over.

War has been declared on democratic Europe. We will win this war because it is OUR war! But, to achieve that, we will have to put energy and leadership back into the list of European values.

 

2022.04.05

EPP Group Policy Lines for the Immediate Response to the Ongoing Russian invasion and Aggression in Ukraine

On 24 February 2022, with the Russian unprovoked and unjustified war and aggression, which is an international crime on Ukraine, the geopolitical reality in Europe was dramatically altered. Ukraine has so far shown an incredible level of resistance and resilience, denying Russia the ability to fulfil its initial objectives of the war. The European Union reacted swiftly and decisively, introducing unprecedented sanctions hitting Russia and its accomplice, Belarus. All analyses points to the fact that this war will be a long endeavour. Therefore, the pain that the international community is already inflicting on the Russian regime needs to be further increased in order to help end the war as early as possible.

Main policy lines for action:

  1. Delivery of weapons by the EU and Member States and helping Ukraine to defend itself. The EU should further use the European Peace Facility and all other possible means to help with weapons supply;
  2. Safe humanitarian corridors must be provided for civilians fleeing the attacks and to boost EU humanitarian aid networks in Ukraine (fuel, food, medicines, energy generators and mobile campuses). Similarly, green land corridors must be opened to bring in to Ukraine anything needed to increase agricultural production (e.g. pesticides, fertilisers) and to bring out of Ukraine all agricultural products that can still be exported.
  3. The time for further sanctions is now:
    • Immediate embargo on Russian oil, coal and nuclear fuel. Gas embargo – as soon as possible.  In addition, immediately reduce consumption and replace with other oil, gas and coal resources. The EU must not be complicit in financing the war;
    • Russian banks involved in the oil and coal trade should also be unplugged from the SWIFT system;
    • Member States should refuse access to all EU ports for ships whose last or next port call is in Russia. Our infrastructure cannot be used to fuel a war machine;
    • Member States should expel Russian ambassadors stationed in their countries in order to minimise Russian diplomatic presence to the least possible;
    • Sanctions on Belarus need to mirror those introduced against Russia in order to close any loopholes for Putin to use the aid of Lukashenko to circumvent sanctions (for example, on banks and on oil product exports);
    • Introduction of secondary sanctions on all those entities that will aid the Russian and Belarussian regimes to circumvent sanctions;
    • The positions taken by some countries to support or abstain to condemn the regime of Putin and the aggression must have consequences;
    • Sanctions shall only be lifted when the last soldier of the occupying forces leaves Ukrainian territory according to an agreement concluded with the constitutional Ukrainian Government.
  4. Ukraine’s candidate status: Following the official EU Membership application by Ukraine, submitted on 28 February 2022, and the conclusion of the European Council of 10 and 11 March, which found that Ukraine belongs to our European family, the European institutions should work towards realising the promise of granting Ukraine candidate status without any delay, in order to also avoid the legitimate aspirations of Ukraine and its citizens being victims of the hostile demands that they are currently confronted with; furthermore, they should work towards its accelerated integration into the EU Single Market, according to the formula “everything but institutions” and  along the lines of the Association Agreement;
  5. A Marshall-like Plan fund to rebuild Ukraine after the war. This message will give hope to Ukrainians. The fund should be generous and financed by the EU, Member States, donors’ contributions and Russia’s compensation for war damages, including those Russian assets confiscated/seized as a result of sanctions in accordance with international law;
  6. Name Putin and Lukashenka as “war criminals”. We call for legal proceedings within the framework of international law to investigate and prosecute any acts, which legally qualify as a war crime;
  7. Russia after Putin – we must work with the Russian people. We must demonstrate that the EU is ready to help a future democratic Russia. The Russian opposition faces difficulties now to continue its work – not only because of Putin’s repressions, but also because of the effects of Western sanctions. It needs to feel that we are ready to again invite a democratic and responsible Russia to the community of nations.

2021.04.09

European politicians call for the release of Alexei Navalny

Against the background of the immensely tense security situation at the border with Ukraine, there is another parallel drama taking place in the Russian Federation. It concerns the health condition of the most prominent Russian oppositionist and critic of the Russian President Vladimir Putin Alexei Navalny. His medical state has over the past days dramatically deteriorated in connection with the suspicion of tuberculosis and diagnosed acute phase of hernia.

In recent months and weeks, Alexei Navalny has faced not only a poisoning attack by the nerve-paralytic substance of Novichok from the Russian regime, but also inhumane treatment from the prison guards in the town of Pokrov. As a consequence, he decided to go on a hunger strike on March 31, 2021, by which he began to protest against preventing access for doctors and the absence of health care, despite significant complications of his medical condition.

To express solidarity with Alexei Navalny, hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens and over 150 Russian public intellectuals and opinion makers publicly engaged in the campaign for his release. In addition, his medical state has recently become a subject discussion between German Chancellor Merkel, French President Macron and their Russian counterpart Putin. To support this position and appeal for the release of Alexei Navalny as the most significant figure of the Russian opposition and political prisoner number one, over eighty deputies and senators from across the EU, including the from European Parliament, has joined the cause. The call was initiated by the Czech Friends Free Russia, which is a recently established platform operating in both chambers of the Czech Parliament.

The way Alexei Navalny is being treated is completely disgusting. The Kremlin continues to what began with an attempt to poison him. We must work together to put pressure on Russia and ensure that Navalny did not become another victim of the Russian regime,” says Czech MP Helena Langšádlová (TOP 09).

Putin’s despotism once again proved that nothing prevents it from the physical liquidation of the opponents. When it failed to kill Navalny six months ago, now it is trying to torture him in prison by imposing inhuman conditions. We must not tolerate the aggressiveness of the Kremlin regime towards its own citizens not only from a humanistic point of view, but also for our own safety. Democratic Europe he must not close its eyes,” adds the Czech Senator from the Mayors and Independents senate club Marek Hilšer.

The call was co-sponsored and coordinated by the former Lithuanian Prime Minister and Permanent Rapporteur on Russia Andrius Kubilius, who said: “This is a signal that accross Europe we are following closely Navalny case as his health deteriorates. Navalny must be provided medical assistance and released immediately, and also all other political prisoners kept in Russian prisons. We expect the EU to send strong signal to the Kremlin regime and use every tool at its disposal to achieve Navalny’s release. The EU should also create new instruments, such as a justice hub and introduction of automacicity of sanctions to achieve robust EU reaction to persistent human rights abuses in Russia.”

European politicians and policy makers have jointly called on the Russian authorities to facilitate adequate medical treatment for Alexei Navalny and allow for his immediate release, as previously called for by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. European MEPs, deputies and senators also appealed to the EU institutions and particularly to the European Council, which should not only ask its Russian counterparts to meet their obligations, but also immediately arrange a visit of Alexei Navalny by European and other Western diplomats in a penal colony in the town of Pokrov, where, despite his poor health, he still remains.

We firmly believe that this appeal of the European legislators will be implemented, and not only Alexei Navalny, but also others political prisoners in Russia will be released immediately. Otherwise, Europe and the West should draw a clear conclusion and develop further forms of pressure on Putin’s Russia. The suffering of Russian society must finish now!

2021.04.08

Joint Call of Parliamentarians on the condition of Alexei Navalny in prison

We, the undersigned, are shocked and troubled by the most recent news of Alexei Navalny’s condition in prison. 

Russia’s leading opposition figure is reported to suffer severe back pain with losing sensitivity in parts of his legs. It is no more than six months since he survived a vicious poisoning attack with a nerve agent that has long-term crippling effects on his health. In prison, he is systematically denied any medical treatment. On top, prison guards wake him up every hour at night, a practice amounting to torture by sleep deprivation according to his lawyers. This is why medical experts called on the Russian authorities to allow Mr Navalny’s treatment and why he himself now resorted to a hunger strike. Let’s not forget: Mr Navalny’s incarceration itself is a travesty of justice – he was formally sent to prison for not checking in with Russian authorities on a fabricated case (as confirmed by European Court of Human Rights) when he was recuperating in Germany from poisoning and subsequent coma.

Russian authorities with its secret services tried to kill Alexei Navalny last August, they may now be attempting the same, in a slower, even more cynical way. 

Europe has offered Alexei Navalny a place to recover from the attempt at his life. Specialized labs in Germany, France and Sweden confirmed the assassination attempt used Novichok, an internationally banned chemical weapon. Angela Merkel personally met Mr Navalny in hospital and many other Western leaders expressed their solidarity after the poisoning attack. We need to intervene again. 

We urge Russia to immediately allow medical treatment of Alexei Navalny and release him from prison. We call on the EU Council as well as EU member states’ leaders to reach out to Russian authorities to request the immediate release of Alexei Navalny, which was mandated by European Court of Human Rights’ decision in February 2021. In addition, we demand the EU Council task EU ambassador to Russia to conduct, together partners from the UK, Canada and the US, a visit of the prison facility and meet Alexei Navalny. It is critical now that Alexei Navalny’s fate became the symbol of injustice many thousands face because of increasing brutality of Russian regime against its own citizens. 

In December 2020, the EU launched its Global Human Rights Sanction Regime modelled on so-called Magnitsky Act. This law has been inspired by one Sergei Magnitsky, a brave Russian lawyer who was tortured to death in prison in 2009 – he was systematically denied treatment when he developed a serious medical condition. We still can act now in case of Alexei Navalny so we avoid commemorating later.

Marek HILSER, Senator, Czech Republic

Andrius KUBILIUS, MEP, EPP, Lithuania

Lukas WAGENKNECHT, Senator, Czech Republic

Žygimantas PAVILIONIS, MP, Lithuania

Miroslav BALATKA, Senator, Czech Republic

André GATTOLIN, Senator, France

Mikulas BEK, Senator, Czech Republic 

Nicolae ŞTEFĂNUȚĂ, MEP, Renew, Romania

David SMOLJAK, Senator, Czech Republic 

Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS, MEP, Renew, Lithuania

Tomas FIALA, Senator, Czech Republic 

Liudas MAŽYLIS, MEP, EPP Lithuania

Zdenek NYTRA, Senator, Czech Republic 

Dace MELBĀRDE, MEP, ECR, Latvia

Jan SOBOTKA, Senator, Czech Republic 

Matas MALDEIKIS, MP, Lithuania

Jiri RUZICKA, Senator, Czech Republic 

Bernard GUETTA, MEP, Renew, France

Jaromira VITKOVA, Senator, Czech Republic 

Rasa JUKNEVIČIENĖ, MEP, EPP, Lithuania

Petr OREL, Senator, Czech Republic 

Tomasz FRANKOWSKI, MEP, EPP, Poland 

Miroslava NEMCOVA, Senator, Czech Republic

Hermann TERTSCH, MEP, ECR, Spain

Premysl RABAS, Senator, Czech Republic 

Aušra MALDEIKIENĖ, MEP, EPP, Lithuania

Ladislav KOS, Senator, Czech Republic 

Attila ARA-KOVÁCS, MEP, S&D, Hungary

Sarka JELINKOVA, Senator, Czech Republic

Erik MARQUARDT, MEP, Greens, Germany

Pavel FISCHER, Senator, Czech Republic

Pernille WEISS, MEP, EPP, Denmark

Helena LANGSADLOVA, MP, Czech Republic

Roberts ZĪLE, MEP, ECR, Latvia

Jan LIPAVSKY, MP, Czech Republic

Klemen GROŠELJ, MEP, Renew, Slovenia

Pavel ZACEK, MP, Czech Republic

Riho TERRAS, MEP, EPP, Estonia

Ondrej BENESIK, MP, Czech Republic 

Miriam LEXMANN, MEP, EPP, Slovakia

Frantisek KOPRIVA, MP, Czech Republic 

Sandra KALNIETE, MEP, EPP, Latvia

Petr GAZDIK, MP, Czech Republic 

Jerzy BUZEK, MEP, EPP, Poland

Tomas MARTINEK, MP, Czech Republic 

Janina OCHOJSKA, MEP, EPP, Poland

Jan BARTOSEK, MP, Czech Republic

Eugen TOMAC, MEP, EPP, Romania

Jan FARSKY, MP, Czech Republic

Ivan ŠTEFANEC, MEP, EPP, Slovakia

Roman SKLENAK, MP, Czech Republic

Krzysztof HETMAN, MEP, EPP, Poland

Frantisek VACHA, MP, Czech Republic

Ivars IJABS, MEP, Renew, Latvia

Marek VYBORNY, MP, Czech Republic

Franc BOGOVIČ, MEP, EPP, Slovenia

Zbynek STANJURA, MP, Czech Republic

Radvilė MORKŪNAITĖ-MIKULĖNIENĖ, MP, Lithuania

Petr FIALA, MP, Czech Republic

Raphaël GLUCKSMANN, MEP, S&D, France

Vít RAKUSAN, MP, Czech Republic

Juozas OLEKAS, MEP, S&D, Lithuania

Jaroslav VYMAZAL, MP, Czech Republic

Assita KANKO, MEP, ECR, Belgium

Adela SIPOVA, Senator, Czech Republic

Radosław SIKORSKI, MEP, EPP, Poland

Róża THUN UND HOHENSTEIN, MEP, EPP, Poland

Javier NART, MEP, Renew, Spain

Andrzej HALICKI, MEP, EPP, Poland

Alexander ALEXANDROV YORDANOV, MEP, EPP, Bulgaria

Ondřej KOVAŘÍK, MEP, Renew, Czech Republic

Andreas SCHIEDER, MEP, S&D, Austria

Leopoldo LÓPEZ GIL, MEP, EPP, Spain

Sergey LAGODINSKY, MEP, Greens, Germany

Antonio LÓPEZ-ISTÚRIZ WHITE, MEP, EPP, Spain

Marketa GREGOROVA, MEP, Greens, Czech Republic

Lolita ČIGĀNE, MP, Latvia

Marko MIHKELSON, MP, Estonia

Renata CHMELOVA, Senator, Czech Republic

Bogdan KLICH, Senator, Poland

Lia Quartapelle, MEP, Italy

2021.04.07

Juknevičienė becomes rapporteur for Report on the State of EU Cyber Security Capabilities on behalf of EPP group

Member of the European Parliament Rasa Juknevičienė, who works at the parliament’s Sub-committee on Security and Defence, has become a rapporteur for the parliament’s Report on the State of EU Cyber Security Capacities, delegated by the European People’s Party group.

The document surveys the state of EU cyber capabilities and offers proposals and recommendations on the development of the aforementioned capacities within the EU. It is drafted by the Estonian member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Urmas Paet, with all the parliament’s political groups delegating their rapporteurs

“The number of cyber-attacks and cybercrimes is on the rise in Europe and they are becoming increasingly more refined. It appears that in the future this trend will only grow as it is expected that 22.3 billion devices around the world will be connected to the internet of things by 2024. Cyber threats are dangerous because they can paralyse the life of entire countries, and so it is crucial to reinforce the EU’s defences in this domain,” MEP R. Juknevičienė states. The lack of boundaries in the cybernetic domain and the high level of cyber-attacks are a massive threat, and so they demand intensive cooperation between the EU and NATO, as well as demanding a coordinated response on the EU’s part. The report notes that the EU and its member states must continue to build on their cybersecurity to develop combined and robust cybersecurity capacities as there is a noticeable growth in cyber operations being implemented by both state and non-state actors.

It is also emphasised that a joint cyber defence policy and capacities are key elements in developing a European defence union. It is planned for the report to be voted on at the European Parliament in September this year. In order to reinforce cyber-attack prevention, deterrence against them and the cooperation of EU and member state institutions responsible, the European Commission is looking to form a new joint cybersecurity section. In December 2020, the European Commission and the European External Action Service presented a new EU cybersecurity strategy, with the goal being to increase Europe’s resilience to cyber threats, and to ensure that all citizens and companies have full use of the opportunities offered by reliable digital services and solutions.

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