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Time to stand with Ukraine

Dear Editor, 

What’s happening in Ukraine may seem very far away, but the shockwaves, created by the brutal invasion by Russia, will be felt even here.

Your editorial “Europe’s Dark Hour” reminded us of how the globalized world we live in means that the fallout of war will impact fuel and food prices; as well as consumer and investor confidence.

The British prime minister was quick to act and announced an unprecedented package of sanctions against Russia. These sanctions include restricting access to London’s capital markets, and asset freezes and clearing restrictions on the Russian banking sector, banning Aeroflot from the UK and undertaking further steps against Russian money and oligarchs.

The Bahamas foreign minister was equally quick to express his condemnation that “the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation and led by its President Vladimir Putin is wrong, unlawful and should end and be reversed”. He was clear that a coordinated response would be a key topic for the prime minister at last week’s CARICOM meeting in Belize.

Our support and that of The Bahamas matters for the sake of Ukraine, a European sovereign nation and UN member, whose sovereignty and territorial integrity, which should be protected by the UN Charter, is being dismembered by a UN Security Council permanent member.

The Bahamas’ voice has been loud and clear and true on this critical question. Foreign Minister Mitchell said, “The Bahamas supports the right of self-determination, the inviolability of territory settled within legally defined borders.”

Why have we come to this? Some say Russia is threatened by NATO expansion. Seriously? Having spent two years negotiating for the UK at NATO and in the OSCE on the movement of armed forces in Europe, I know how carefully the alliance deliberates to ensure continuing peace. So, let’s be clear on what Russia fears. It’s not the immediate prospect of Ukraine in NATO, no more than it was the EU/Ukraine agreement in 2014, which led to the illegal annexation of Crimea.

What Russia’s leaders fear is successful, outward-facing, free market democracies in Russia’s neighborhood, because they are afraid these potent counter-examples will show the Russian people that there is a future beyond stifling, corrupt dictatorship.

It’s not for the EU or NATO, not for the UK or US, to dictate Ukraine’s future. But neither is it for Moscow. The world will stand with Ukraine against President Putin’s barbaric invasion, so as a democratic, sovereign nation Ukraine and its people can chart their own course.

— Sarah Dickson

UK high commissioner

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