FOREIGN AFFAIRS – UKRAINE (UK RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA) – 11 December 2014

Dr Julian Lewis: Unpleasant though the alternatives are, given that Russia will clearly not allow pro-Russian forces in the east of the country to be militarily defeated, which is the least worse of these two outcomes? Either those areas are allowed to become relatively autonomous, or the situation is fought to a military finish, the only outcome of which – given that the west will not intervene militarily – would be Russian occupation of the whole country.

[Mr John Whittingdale: I will come on to what we need to do to respond to the Russian intervention. To some extent, I agree with my hon. Friend that we need political reform, but it should not only be about the two regions in Donbas. If he will forgive me, I will continue my current theme but I promise I will come back to that. ... ]

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Dr Lewis: I know time is limited, but I wanted to point out that the only way we can defend NATO countries that are out on a limb is by having tripwire forces. That would show a potential aggressor that, while they might occupy those countries, they would let themselves in for a very long war with other countries that would be able, eventually, to liberate them.

Bob Stewart: I totally agree with my hon. and very good Friend. That was exactly my role as a young officer in West Berlin – a British tripwire – in case the then Soviet Union decided to take over.

Sir Gerald Howarth: Some tripwire!

Bob Stewart: I am afraid I totally agree – some tripwire indeed. A big stumbling block, although I was not quite as big then.

Dr Lewis: You were, in spirit.

Bob Stewart: I thank my hon. Friend.

[For Julian's speech in this debate click here.]