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Eastern Ukraine

Volume 624: debated on Tuesday 28 March 2017

The causes of the conflict in Ukraine lie very much with the Russians, who bear the overwhelming responsibility for the considerable loss of life there. I was pleased to be able to raise the matter with my Polish counterpart, Witold Waszczykowski, during a visit to Kiev a few weeks ago. What is crucial to progress in Ukraine is not just for the Russians to desist from supporting military activity in Donbass and pull out of Crimea, but for the Ukrainians themselves to make the reforms that will increase international confidence in Ukraine.

Is it not clear, though, that unless we do more to help our Ukrainian friends, Russia will continue with impunity to seek to destabilise Ukraine? Given that the western Ukrainian-owned businesses in Donbass have just been expropriated by so-called separatists, no doubt with the support of Russia, perhaps we should consider expropriating Russian assets in the United Kingdom, starting with football clubs.

I am grateful for that suggestion. This country already leads the way in imposing sanctions on the Russians for their actions in Ukraine, and we continue to insist on those.

Does the Foreign Secretary agree with me, and with the Secretary General of Amnesty International, that the United States President’s Executive order implementing a travel ban on people from six countries—

Order. No, no. I thought that the hon. Gentleman was seeking to take part in an exchange about Ukraine, possibly in anticipation of our not reaching his question. We probably will reach his question, but I am afraid that, whether we do or not, he cannot talk about the travel ban purported to be applied by the United States in respect of an exchange about Ukraine. Does any other Member wish to take part, in an orderly way? Yes: Mr Chris Bryant.

It is clear that the Russians have behaved perniciously and disgracefully in Ukraine. As the Foreign Secretary has said, their behaviour has led to many deaths, many people have been detained incommunicado, and terrible human rights abuses are going on, as well as the expropriation of assets. The Foreign Secretary regularly boasts about how well we have done in ensuring that there are sanctions in the European Union, but how will we be able to do that when we are no longer a member of the European Union?

The hon. Gentleman will know that there is to be a White Paper very soon, presaging a Bill on how we will continue to take part in sanctions jointly with our friends and partners across the channel.