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European leaders 'should get off backsides' and stand up to Putin

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European leaders 'should get off backsides' and stand up to Putin


Within the human horror felt over the deaths in Ukraine’s latest crisis lies a geopolitical dimension which is expected to have major implications.

Once again, in a confrontation involving the tools of war, non-combatants pay the highest price — and the victims were not even from any of the parties involved.

It shows, terribly, how innocents, how whole countries can get sucked into conflicts.

There’s now a question whether powerful authorities will make this a turning point.

We asked expert Amanda Paul at the European Policy Centre in Brussels.

Paul said: “It should be a turning point because it’s escalated the situation far beyond [where] anybody could have imagined. It’s very clear that this incident couldn’t have happened if the separatists weren’t being armed by Russia, which means the EU needs to really take a much tougher approach and needs to move at the very least to third-tier sanctions.”

The plane came down just as Washington brought tougher sanctions against Russia over its role in Ukraine’s territorial tensions.

Yet the 28 European Union capitals are as divided as ever over how to respond.

Political leaders realise their obligation to maintain both the moral and security foundations.

Paul shares the opinion voiced by influential American political figures that it is about time to step up the measures seen so far as negligible, and for Europe to lead:

“We’ve seen that the Russian economy has already been impacted by the sanctions that have been imposed so far. And these sanctions, to be honest, are quite featherweight. If we really hit Russia with much more robust sanctions, I think the implications on the economy will be much more broad and this should make, I hope, President Putin at least think twice about what’s he actually doing to the country. Even though the economic sanctions may not produce a 100 percent result, it’s better than sitting on our backsides doing nothing, frankly speaking.”

Meanwhile, In Moscow, ordinary people laid flowers outside the Dutch and Malaysian embassies — condolences for those whose loved ones became victims in the armed escalation that brought another country’s civilian airliner down close to the border between Ukraine and Russia.

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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