A pre-referendum article from 2016 warning that an EU without Britain is “exactly what Vladimir Putin wants” has resurfaced this week as the Russian president waged war with Ukraine.
Russian troops launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine this morning as Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences you have never seen”.
Ukraine’s leadership said at least 40 people have been killed so far in what it called a “full-scale war” targeting the country from the east, north and south.
Sanctions imposed on Russia by the UK were branded “weak” by Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, along with several other MPs this week.
The European Union is planning the “strongest, the harshest package” of sanctions it has ever considered at an emergency summit on Thursday, with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen saying that “the target is the stability in Europe and the whole of the international peace order, and we will hold President (Vladimir) Putin accountable for that”.
An article penned by Garry Kasparov in the Guardian in 2016 has been making the rounds on social media after he warned Brexit would be the “perfect gift for Vladimir Putin”.
In it, he said:
“[Putin’s] goal is to weaken the institutions, including Nato and the EU, that could thwart his neo-Soviet ambitions. The Kremlin was in mourning when Scotland narrowly voted to stay in the UK. Putin sees Europe as his enemy and wants his adversaries to be divided, smaller and weaker.
“Brexit isn’t simply an item on Putin’s wish list. Russia Today and Sputnik, Kremlin propaganda outlets that are inexplicably treated as legitimate news sources in the west, are full of Brexit articles.
“Putin always supports the most divisive elements in European politics, and hopes they will repay the favour by voting to end the EU sanctions placed on Russia after his invasion of Ukraine.
“Embolden forces of divisiveness”
“Brexit would embolden the forces of divisiveness and hatred already on the rise. It would be a boon to the terror groups already active inside and outside Europe’s borders, to the Russian dictator who is crashing through those borders, and it would reduce the ability of the UK and Europe to resist these assaults.
“It would be a giant step backwards for the global order, for the globalised economic growth that depends on that order, and for the values of human rights and democracy.”