For the past five years there has been talk about a United Nations Peacekeeping operation in the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine. Unfortunately, the Kremlin’s vision of this mission is very different to the view from Kiev. Their historical animosity was explained to me by the Ukrainian attaché in Tripoli, who remained in Libya throughout the 2011 revolution, together with their doctors and medics working for the Libyan people.
Libya has some of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world. If European countries had not pulled out in 2012, they could have established a gas pipeline that would have been much cheaper than the one laid from Russia that is increasing European dependency on Russia. The Kremlin knows this and it is one of the reasons why they are helping Khalifa Haftar to disrupt the West’s efforts at establishing a democratic country and reintegrating Libya into the international community.
The G7’s threats of economic sanctions on Moscow over their build-up of their armed forces on the Ukrainian border sounds pretty hollow because there is little evidence that they are willing to deploy capable military boots on the ground (not a shop window force) to back up their rhetoric. Unfortunately, their record in Afghanistan, Syria and Libya provides little confidence that the West’s strategy and commitment is capable of outmatching Putin. A change in foreign affairs is needed now.