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Europe must admit Russia is waging war


The persistent lack of response from the EU, NATO, or individual countries only convinces Russia it is free to carry out attacks across Europe with impunity.

The bad news from Russia continues to come thick and fast with the ongoing slow-motion murder of Alexey Navalny in prison and the continuing presence of Russian troop concentrations on the Ukrainian border, both of which present significant policy challenges to supporters of human rights and of Ukraine’s independence.

But the disclosure of a direct attack by Russia on a NATO and EU member state – a massive explosion in an ammunition depot in the Czech Republic back in 2014 – is an action to which a failure to respond assertively would be both inexcusable and highly dangerous.

The Czech authorities say the explosion was the work of the same two Russian military intelligence officers – Aleksandr Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga – who carried out the 2018 Salisbury poison attack. It is hard to overstate the significance of this action if Russia has indeed sent serving military officers to carry out a deadly sabotage attack against munitions stores in the heart of Europe, killing two Czech citizens in the process.

As Tom Tugendhat – chair of the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs committee and a British Army reservist with operational experience – says, ‘if that is not a war-like act, frankly I don't know what one is’.

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