World’s focus must not leave Ukraine, ex-Nato chief warns

By Isaac M November 26, 2023

The world’s attention must “stay on Ukraine” as the Russian invasion continues, a former Nato secretary-general has warned.

Lord George Robertson said Russian president Vladimir Putin would be emboldened to extend the attacks beyond Ukraine if foreign governments stop providing weaponry.

It comes amid a four-day pause in the Israel-Hamas conflict, with the situation in the Middle East dominating much of the news agenda.

Lord Robertson, who was in the top Nato role between 1999 and 2003, welcomed the temporary ceasefire in Gaza, but he told the PA news agency: “I think it is inevitable that because we’re seeing the television from Gaza every day, that people are paying less attention to Ukraine, but that must change.

“We have got to keep the world’s attention focused on Ukraine because they are involved in a fight with Russia that has got huge implications for all of us as well.

“Vladimir Putin is not simply interested in subjugating Ukraine. He has got a much bigger agenda in the future, and if he succeeds in Ukraine, who knows where he is going to stop.”

The stakes are enormously high because if Putin succeeds, he won’t stop at Ukraine

Lord Robertson

The conflict in Ukraine has now surpassed 640 days – the invasion began in February 2022 – and Lord Robertson urged Nato member states to continue to press Russia amid Mr Putin’s “miserable failure”.

He added: “We cannot allow the Ukraine conflict to go down the attention span. That suits Vladimir Putin and nobody else.

“The fact is that most of his objectives have actually turned to dust. He wanted to stop Nato enlargement, and it is now bigger. He wanted to divide Europe and divide Europe from America, he failed in that respect.

“He wanted to take over the whole of Ukraine and now he is stuck in the Donbas. There’s a miserable failure there by the one man who made the decision to invade Ukraine.

“We have got to change the mind of that one man by staying absolutely united and making sure that Ukrainians get the weaponry and the ammunition they need, when they actually need it.

“That is the only way we’ll change Vladimir Putin’s mind. The stakes are enormously high because if Putin succeeds, he won’t stop at Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, the Labour peer called for a long-term solution to resolve the conflict in the Middle East.

He said: “I think gradually the countries in the region will need to come together to find a long-term solution so that the Israelis and the Palestinians can live in harmony together.

“The present conflict will go on and on for years unless there is a long-term solution.”


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