23rd February 2022 – The Social Democratic Party condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a total breach of Ukrainian territorial sovereignty. The peaceful coexistence of independent nation-states is a fundamental social democratic goal and respect for national frontiers is indispensable to this aim. Military invasions of this type are counterproductive, inhumane and raise the spectre of the horrors of Europe’s past.
This invasion is in the interests of neither the Russian nor the Ukrainian people.
Post-Cold War policy pursued by both NATO and the European Union – including overtures to Ukraine to consider membership – have proved counterproductive and destabilising. Strategic stability is paramount and is best served by Ukrainian independence and neutrality.
SDP Leader William Clouston says:
“The Russian Federation should immediately desist from all military action and withdraw its forces from Ukraine. We should know from recent experience that military adventures and invasions have proved disastrous.
Whilst deploring Russia’s actions I don’t believe any case can be made for direct military intervention by Britain’s armed forces. Immediate priority should be given to strengthening NATO and, in particular, supporting our allies such as Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states. However, there must also be a realisation that too many NATO members act as ‘free riders’ and fail to honour the pledge to spend 2% of GDP on defence. Going forward, this commitment should be a condition of NATO membership.
Economic and diplomatic sanctions should be considered but we need to bear in mind that Russia has made itself largely immune to such action – as the post-2014 EU sanctions have demonstrated. Russia has low debt and huge foreign currency reserves, and has ultimately made itself into a semi-autarky. At the same time, retaliative sanctions by Russia involving gas supply would economically cripple Europe. Western policymakers must work with this reality.”