Following a lengthy inquiry into the current Ukraine crisis, to which a King’s College London expert served as Specialist Advisor, Parliament has released a timely and hard-hitting report on European Union-Russia relations warning the EU to ‘stand firm’.
The Director of the King’s Russia Institute, Dr Sam Greene, acted as Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords sub-committee that today published the report, which found, among other things, that nations on both sides of the conflict ‘sleep-walked into the crisis’.
Ratcheting up tougher sanctions against Russia are needed the report says, amid a backdrop of stuttering peace talks, a shaky ceasefire and escalating violence and tension in Ukraine.
Dr Greene said: ‘When we launched the Russia Institute in 2012, with a mission of supporting new, fact-based conversations on Russia in London, we could not have known how pointed and how important those conversations would become.’
Dr Greene, who is also Acting Head of the King’s School of Global Affairs, said of his appointment: ‘It was an honor and, I believe, a recognition of what we have been able to achieve here at King’s to be invited by the House of Lords to advise the Sub-Committee in its inquiry and the drafting of this report.’
The Committee’s report has also raised concerns that the UK’s expertise within the Foreign Office has diminished significantly. The lack of robust analytical capacity, in both the UK and the EU, effectively led to a catastrophic misreading of the mood in the run-up to the crisis, it said.
Russia’s action and intervention in a sovereign territory was unacceptable, it concludes, but says that in the run-up to the crisis, mistakes were made by both the EU and Russia.
It also stresses the need for Europe to look beyond the present crisis and seek to build a more collaborative and long-term relationship with Russia.
Chairman of the Lords EU Sub-Committee on External Affairs, Lord Tugendhat, said of the report: ‘Although the ceasefire is a welcome development, the Committee has been taking a longer view of events during its nine month inquiry…The Committee has sought to both inquire into the causes of the present crisis and to look beyond them.’
’Difficult road ahead’
Dr Greene added: ‘The road ahead for Europe and Russia will be difficult, and there may be much more conflict to come, but I do think this report helps bring some much needed clarity of purpose and vision to the debate.’
The Russia Institute is part of a cluster of Global Institutes at King’s, which were brought together in January 2015 as the School of Global Affairs, central to the university’s strategy of studying and engaging with a rapidly changing world.
The Institute’s mission is to support interdisciplinary, balanced and cutting-edge research on how Russia society functions and on the nation’s place and impact in global affairs.
The full report: The EU and Russia: before and beyond the crisis in Ukraine’ can be viewed at the House of Lords website.