Lib Dems react to Zelensky speech

This was not the day MPs and peers expected when they got up this morning.

Interspersed with the usual Wednesday merry-go-round of PMQs and associated media came a surprise visit from Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky to address both Houses of Parliament in the historic Westminster Hall. His leadership and the determination of his people has impressed anyone who cares about democracy, human rights and freedom. He has made a robust case for international help and has constantly pushed western powers for more. He has had to support too many of his people through brutal atrocities and the destruction of their way of life.

The presence of a leader who has spent almost a year fighting off the Russian onslaught, against all the odds, certainly made at least the weekly clash between the Prime Minister and Keir Starmer a bit more civilised.

As MPs gathered in Westminster Hall to hear Zelensky’s address, that new grown up spirit wasn’t always in evidence, though. Never one to miss the opportunity for fun, Alistair Carmichael did bunny ears behind Munira as he took a selfie.

On a more serious note, MPs were impressed with an inspired by Zelensky’s speech.

Our Lib Dem Lords loved it too:

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15 Comments

  • The UK position on Ukraine is underpinned by the guarantees given jointly with the USA and Russia in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. President Zelenskyy has used the occasion of his trip to address Parliament to ask for fighter jets to be sent to his country and the UK has announced it will begin training Ukrainian forces to fly Nato-standard fighter jets.
    There seems to be no more possibility of appeasing Putin’s ambitions then there were with Neville Chamberlain’s efforts to contain Hitler. The Ukrainian defence minister has advised that there are 500,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders preparing for a spring offensive.
    Ultimately, it is only a US led alliance that can possibly prevent the partitioning and annexation of Ukrainian territory with the UK and others playing a supporting role in the supply of weapons and diplomatic efforts at the United Nations.
    If those efforts prove unsuccessful, we may well see another Korean type frozen conflict with armies permanently stationed at the line of contact between Russian and Ukrainian forces and all the consequences that follow from such a stand-off.

  • Steve Trevethan 8th Feb '23 - 4:48pm

    Might attempts at negotiation help to increase the chances of peace?

  • Good speech from the heart. He should be given all he asks for including aircraft . Where are our Tornado aircraft now.

  • Martin Gray 8th Feb '23 - 8:41pm

    With Russian reinforcements massing on Ukraine’s borders , it’s armament factories running at full capacity , its vast mineral wealth coupled with its manpower , it’s continuing business with significant parts of the world , means that no amount praise heaped on Zelenskyy can hide the fact that this is going to grind on & on …And let’s be honest – those that are hit hardest by the increasing costs brought on by this conflict – are not that concerned about the integrity of Ukraine’s borders…

  • George Thomas 9th Feb '23 - 10:00am

    The BBC’s documentary is a well put together piece of evidence. As a piece of evidence it will be constructed with certain bias, and each voice represented within it will carry certain bias too, and will need to be considered critically before we say definitively that this is “how we got here”.

  • George,

    the film maker in this case, Norma Percy, has put together, as you describe it, a well constructed piece of evidence. It is left for the audience to come to their own conclusions about the key elements of “how we got here”.
    There are different opinions aired by the statesmen interviewed. For example, President Hollande and others were quite critical of the US decision not to carry through with military action in Syria after the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, that was a forerunner to the destruction of Aleppo by Russian bombers. President Obama said avoiding recourse to military action in this case was one of the decisions of which he was most proud.
    Norma Percy has produced a well balanced political documentary at a time when information and propaganda wars are being waged. For that she should be applauded.

  • Jenny Barnes 9th Feb '23 - 5:09pm

    “Where are our Tornado aircraft now.”?
    Feb 2019 https://www.raf.mod.uk/news/articles/the-end-of-an-era-raf-tornado-returns-from-operations-for-the-last-time/
    “After almost 40 years serving the UK on military operations across the world, iconic RAF Tornado jets have returned home for the last time.”

  • Steve Trevethan 9th Feb '23 - 5:47pm

    Are we being reasonably well informed about all aspects of the conflict in the Ukraine?
    Ditto our leaders?
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

  • Jenny Barnes. Thanks for the update. I suppose all the Tornados have been scrapped or sold on rather than been mothballed. Which means that we have no front line aircraft to offer. But if we are training Ukrainian pilots on presumably the Bae.Hawk maybe they could be offered in the ground attack role.

  • Jenny Barnes 9th Feb '23 - 10:03pm

    However, the RAF operates 137 Typhoons & 35 F35s

  • Zachary Adam Barker 9th Feb '23 - 10:51pm

    “And let’s be honest – those that are hit hardest by the increasing costs brought on by this conflict – are not that concerned about the integrity of Ukraine’s borders…”

    No. But they should be. Because capitulating in our support will not convince the Russians not to use energy as a weapon again.

    “means that no amount praise heaped on Zelenskyy can hide the fact that this is going to grind on & on”

    So we need to think big to prepare for a long war too.

    “Might attempts at negotiation help to increase the chances of peace?”

    Russia is demanding that the Ukrainians bargain away their territory. Their territory has already been used as a springboard for a Russian attack. Would we be so ready to negotiate on that basis in their shoes?

  • James Moore 10th Feb '23 - 1:28pm

    I wonder how many of these individuals voted for the 2010 Coalition defence cuts that enfeebled the RAF and RN? Not only did we lose the Harriers and Tornados early – reliable and proven aircraft in a variety of theatres – but the Typhoon order was cut from 232 aircraft to 160. We have little over 100 in service.

    Guess what Putin was doing while we were doing this?

  • Ed The Snapper 10th Feb '23 - 6:47pm

    Nimrods were also scrapped by the Coalition government. Dreadful government led by boys who had minimal experience of life outside of their privileged cloisters, had no common sense and no sense of shame.

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