George's Ukraine Speech, Lib Dem Spring Conference 2022

George Cunningham

Liberal Democrat Spring Conference Ukraine Motion

“Putin must be stopped in Ukraine”

13th March 2022


The West must now stop Putin in his tracks for good.

Putin's ambitions to rebuild the Russian "empire" are an existential threat to the liberal world order and indeed the world itself.

This is our chance to stop that, despite the danger this may entail.

Not do it, and the costs to the West will continue to mount.

We have been congratulating ourselves on how united the West’s response has been. But it has not stopped Putin from escalating the crisis in the most brutal way.

Our sanctions must now be completed by closing all loopholes and exemptions. This needs to include for Russian energy exports.

Europe is reported to be paying Russia a quarter of a billion dollars a day for its energy. Greenpeace said yesterday at least 148 super-tankers carrying oil and gas have left Russia since the start of Putin’s invasion. And as the price of oil and gas goes up - so does the amount of money being raked in by Russia to fuel its war.

We have to prepare our citizens for the consequences of stopping Russian energy exports and switching to our reserves. To plug the gap as best we can, However, this would immediately impact Russia and turn off the tap of Putin’s war financing.

And if we cannot do more economically - and Putin is not dissuaded by the heavy economic cost nor diplomatic efforts – then, yes, there remains military intervention which frankly should never have been taken off the table.

  • Kyiv and the Zelensky government should not be allowed to fall
  • Speedy consideration should be given to establish a
    humanitarian no-fly zone in western Ukraine where currently
    there is little Russian air activity.

Today we have 43 million Ukrainians fully at war, tying down 200,000 Russian troops. If we do not stop this now alongside brave Ukraine, the cost to our own people will be far greater than – on our own - trying to stop a 200,000 Russian troop invasion of more European countries including the Baltic States a likely target in the future.

Well, you may say, NATO Article 5 will stop all that. But we are only standing firm because we all agree for now that we do not want to intervene militarily. However, our non-intervention may be seen as impotence by others, given the mass destruction, huge refugee crisis and now the insertion of foreign fighters on our doorstep.

And how long will the US be with us? Remember if Putin-admiring Trump wins the 2024 Presidential election, one can easily envisage the dismantling of NATO and US troops being pulled out of Europe, just like he started doing in his first term. Better fix this issue now.

Putin must be stopped in Ukraine.

Please support the motion.

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