Parliament: UK, EU ‘sleepwalked’ into Ukraine crisis
LONDON (AP) — A parliamentary report published Friday accused the British government and European diplomats of “sleepwalking” into the Ukraine crisis, saying there was a “catastrophic misreading” of mood by Europe ahead of the standoff between Russia and Western countries.
The House of Lords’ EU Committee said foreign ministries in Britain and other European countries have been poorly equipped to draw up an “authoritative response” to the crisis partly because they lack expertise on Russia.
“The (British) government has not been as active or as visible on this issue as it could have been,” the committee said.
It also said that for too long the EU had been optimistic about Russia’s democratic development, and as a result Europe failed to realize the depth of Russian hostility when the EU opened talks on Ukraine in 2013.
Earlier this month, Britain’s former senior NATO commander General Richard Shirreff said British Prime Minister David Cameron’s failure to act over Ukraine had turned him into a “foreign policy irrelevance.”
France and Germany have led the diplomatic process to hammer out a cease-fire deal with their Russian and Ukrainian counterparts.
Britain’s Foreign Office said no one could have predicted the scale of the “unjustifiable and illegal” Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine, and that it is for the Ukrainian people to decide whether they want a closer relationship with the EU.