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OPINION - The Standard View: Two years on, Ukraine’s fight remains our fight

 (UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER)
(UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER)

This weekend marks two years since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Back in 2022, some western observers did not think Vladimir Putin would send in the tanks. Others were convinced he would, but that Kyiv would fall within days. Both assumptions proved wrong.

Under the leadership of Volodymyr Zelensky, and thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Ukrainian military and ordinary citizens, the country has stood firm, even retaking territory such as in Kharkiv. But last year’s counter-offensive had little success, and 2024 is set to be a challenging year, as Ukraine faces a large arms deficit.

What is needed now is a redoubling of efforts by the West. Yet aid for Ukraine is stuck in the US Congress, held up by Republicans playing politics on domestic issues. Meanwhile, European nations can barely offer hardware, having failed to ramp up production two years ago.

Ukraine’s fight remains our fight — for self-determination, liberty and basic human dignity. Diplomatic support and money certainly helps. But in war, little is more effective than guns and ammunition.

Commons chaos

Opposition day debates are normally sleepy affairs that rarely raise hackles. Yesterday was quite different. The decision by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to break with convention and select a Labour amendment to be debated before that of the SNP, on what was the latter’s allotted day, was always going to be controversial.

That move enabled Sir Keir Starmer to largely dodge an uncomfortable party management issue, given that the SNP’s motion provocatively accused Israel of “collective punishment”, which is a war crime under international law. But it has left the Speaker facing calls to resign.

The UK has an important diplomatic part to play in bringing about a lasting ceasefire. Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has dedicated vast reserves of time to this effort. Britain also has a leading role in the provision of desperately needed aid, as seen by the first use of air-dropped supplies delivered to northern Gaza yesterday.

Commons procedure and debate matters. But last night’s non-binding vote threatens to become a distraction from the crux of the matter.

Return of the King

Jeremy King is back. His new restaurant, Arlington — which sits around the corner from The Wolseley — is preparing to have its soft launch next week. Far from a mere reheating of an old classic, it is sure to bring the memories flowing back.

Le Caprice was the restaurant that launched King’s career and so it is only fitting that the same patch of real estate should mark his return.