As if the European Union could be any less popular with Britain’s working and middle classes, the European elite now wants to boycott the 2018 World Cup following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s overzealous response to EU expansionism on his country’s border, The Times has reported.
The World Cup boycott is part of a proposed package of sanctions against Moscow aimed at de-escalating the violence in eastern Ukraine which has been blamed on Russian military excursions and supplies of arms to separatist fighters.
The football tournament is due to take place in 2018, and will be hosted by 11 Russian cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Volograd and Yekaterinburg. It is expected to cost £12 billion.
Other measures include economic sanctions such as a ban on Russian state owned companies raising finance within EU countries, and the barring of Russian businessmen, athletes and artists from international business, sporting and cultural events. The economic sanctions are “third level” sanctions, meaning that they are expected to damage the financial health of European businesses.
Moscow continues to deny direct military incursions into Ukraine, despite mounting evidence that Russian soldiers are indeed operating in that country. Colonel Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian military, claimed that Russian soldiers had been sighted in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, although this claim could not be verified.
Last week a number of Russian paratroopers were captured inside Ukraine, although Moscow suggested that they had crossed the border “by accident”, prompting the Canadian delegation to Nato to tweet a map with Ukraine marked as “Not Russia”. The tweet read “Geography can be tough. Here’s a guide for Russian soldiers who keep getting lost & ‘accidentally’ entering,”
Other EU and Nato member states with Russian borders are growing increasingly alarmed, fearing that they may be targeted by Russia next. The President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrick, has called on Moscow to admit its part in the Ukraine conflict and take genuine steps towards de-escalation. Hendrick added “Estonia takes its Nato commitments very seriously”.
So far, European leaders have been divided over what to do about the Ukrainian crisis. It is clear that the Eastern European states are understandably most determined to counter the Russian threat militarily, although Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has also indicated support for stronger action against Moscow.
President Gauck of Germany said yesterday that Russia had “effectively severed its partnership” with Europe, while British foreign secretary Philip Hammond said: “Russia has chosen the role of pariah, rather than partner.”
Tomorrow sees the start of a Nato summit on Ukraine, although in a move widely thought to have been planned by Russia to take the wind out of Nato’s sails, the Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to a “permanent ceasefire” with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko this morning.
Breitbart London earlier reported that negotiations have been taking place in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. Shots were fired in Ukraine by insurgent forces after the ceasefire was announced.