'There is a disturbing sense of déjà vu about Vladimir Putin’s suggestion that the best way to bring an end to the fighting over the disputed provinces of eastern Ukraine is to grant them independent statehood. Six months ago, he advanced a similar argument over Crimea when pro-Russian separatists launched their campaign to seek independence from Kiev. On that occasion, the Kremlin’s intervention, backed by the deployment of well-armed Russian Spetsnaz special forces to the peninsula, had the desired effect, ultimately resulting in the region’s illegal annexation by Moscow.
Now it looks increasingly as though the Russian president is determined to fashion a similar outcome in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. The only difference is that this time Moscow is making no real attempt to conceal the fact that their forces are actively supporting the rebels. In the most serious escalation since the Ukraine crisis began at the start of the year, a Russian tank column was yesterday helping the rebels to seize control of Luhansk airport.'
NATO needs to take firm action against Russia. Our governments need to raise the prospect of sending troops to Ukraine. Only the threat of military force will deter Putin.