Opinion with MP Craig Mackinlay: The situation in Ukraine

Craig Mackinlay

Just two weeks ago I was offering my analysis of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Little has changed since then, the illogicality of what Putin is attempting just increases by the day and with it the evil of unleashing weaponry upon the civilian population banned under the Geneva Conventions.

Sanctions have been stepped up across the board but with some reluctance by some European countries, at first preferring to protect their own industries but by and large the West’s response has been rapid and extensive.

The UK can be justifiably proud of its actions both in sanctions and monetary support to Ukraine and surrounding countries bearing the humanitarian pressure of an exodus to safety the like of which hasn’t been seen since the Second World War. We’ve also been at the forefront of providing our most advanced military equipment, particularly tank busters and air defence systems. This comes on the back of our previous training of the Ukrainian military who are holding up and keeping the Russians bogged down. A military victory for Russia is far from certain but the situation grows uglier by the day.

Not only will the sanctions be hurting all associated with the Putin regime, almost every source of income for the country from its airlines to its mining industries will be hit. I am sure normal Russian people, to whom we should bear no ill will, will be seeing that most of the normalities of life are rapidly changing, from the value of the Ruble in their pocket to empty shelves in shops. This is where Putin’s actions defy any logic: he and his pals were living a feather-bedded lifestyle, money was flooding in, life was improving for most of the population and he didn’t have to face democratic elections as we know them to maintain his position. We will feel economic pain as well in higher prices but this is as nothing in comparison to what the Ukrainian people are suffering.

The elephant in the room is of course the hydrocarbon trade which falls outside of the sanctions regime and the transfer of billions of dollars, pounds and euros per week continues unabated, such is the unholy reliance of much of Europe on Putin’s gas. This highlights too clearly what I have been saying for many months: energy security, and with it price stability is now in sharp focus. We are blessed in the UK with a lot of gas whether traditional North Sea or through onshore shale gas which we are yet to realise. This has nothing to do with Net Zero: we were going to use gas under any scenario as an interim fuel even under the government’s more wishful plan whilst new nuclear comes on-stream and renewables, perhaps some that actually work, come into view.

The question we need to ask ourselves is whether we’re prepared to be part of the financing of Russia or accept the small inconveniences of shale gas extraction? Domestic supply comes with tens of thousands of well-paid jobs, huge tax revenues, balance of payments and CO2 savings as well. You know, money to be able to support measures to reach Net Zero, pay for public services and wean Europe away from Putin’s gaseous gold.

We await fuller detail of how the new ‘homes for Ukraine’ scheme will work. I have had plenty of offers from local constituents wishing to help and I have no doubt that we will all rise to the challenge. I am separately looking at what we have locally in terms of higher volume accommodation available. The unused University campus in Broadstairs and facilities of local faith groups spring to mind as possibilities. There has been criticism that we’re doing too little; I do not accept that. It is obvious that many Ukrainians will wish to stay as local as possible, not least because of historic links to neighbouring countries – particularly true of western Ukraine where borders have been fluid over time. There are many Hungarian speakers and passport holders in western Ukraine as the old borders of Hungary pre-first world war extended way into modern Ukraine but it is clear that the numbers of refugees are simply overwhelming neighbouring countries, even larger ones like Poland. Little Moldova, a poorer country has accepted 300,000 refugees into a country of just 2.6 million people. The UK is giving a huge amount of aid, medical and logistical support and is now launching an unlimited refugee support scheme in the UK.

It was a historic moment to be in the House of Commons chamber to hear the address from President Valenskyy last week. What a guy – perhaps the solution would be for him to become the new President of the whole of Russia including Ukraine which would achieve, perversely, Putin’s objective of a grand re-unification of imperial Russia, end the war and start the healing process. Wishful thinking undoubtedly but whatever the outcome, Russia under Putin will become an economic pariah backwater. Let’s hope some of his Generals in the Kremlin can see this as clearly as we can.


  1. I believe the UK is doing much to help in the situation but as we are situated much further away than all other European countries we will naturally not be able to do as much as those other countries that the refugees fled to. We should not be so hard on ourselves for that. Roger Gale is just a nasty old man who blames everyone else for not doing enough and expecting them to resign. The UK is involved in so many other countries political regimes along with the USA when we shouldn’t be. We regard ourselves as the saviours of anything happening in other countries every time. Sometimes it is necessary but more often it isn’t. Nato’s most powerful country is the USA and they are the aggressors in a lot of these conflicts. We do not need to be like the USA and follow them in all they do, and we shouldn’t.

  2. Does Mr Mackinlay, and readers know the UK is the only European country insisting Ukrainian refugees obtain a visa, in order to enter the UK? Millions of Ukrainian refugees are being allowed into other European countries with out hindrance, but the Home Office, is insisting that any Ukrainian refugee must have a Passport, and be sponsored by someone, or a relative, to prove they are Ukrainian! The reason, its due to Brexit, because Britain is no longer a member of the EU, and Priti Patel/Johnson do not want people entering the UK falsely, Duurh!

    Ukrainian refugees are largely women and children, and Priti Patel/Johnson will not allow them into the UK unless they can obtain a visa, which means traipsing all over France, or Belgium trying to find a UK government office in the hope of proving they are Ukrainian to get a visa, why? The reason is this incompetent Tory government are restricting Ukrainian Refugees coming here without a visa on “Security grounds”. This is because bogus Ukrainian refugees once they get to the UK, and if they are discovered, cannot be returned to the first EU country they entered, because we are no longer a member of the EU, and the UK cannot return bogus refugees, or even migrants who may have entered the country illegally now, but which was the case when we were a member of the EU, Duurh!

    This means thousands and thousands of genuine Ukrainian refugees, who do not have a Passport, and who cannot prove they are Ukrainian, will be refused a visa causing further untold misery by this cold hearted Tory government, all because of Brexit!

  3. Craig is so transparent, he states “this is nothing to do with Net Zero” (his daft carbon ideas) but then goes on to tell us how wonderful Net Zero is!
    Craig says we’re going to use the North Sea Gas and Oil anyway but, this is not pre-determined, it’s a political choice.
    Craig says shale gas production has “small inconvieniences” which shows he’s never seen the awful environmental and geological consequences.
    As for supporting refugees, the UK has become even more of a joke in Europe. Use Russian owned buildings to house Ukrainian refugees a start. It may not be legal but the Tory’s didnt care about legalities when they wanted Parties in lockdown or “cash for questions”!
    And all the aid being given to front-line States to help keep refugees close to home? It’s lies, give us the actual sums and where they’ve gone if I’m wrong!
    Just like the 1930’s – when the Tory’s were very happy to get commercial benefits from Nazi Germany they’ve been happy to trade with Putin, launder the money from him and his mates and take large donations.
    Nothing excuses Putin’s invasion but it didn’t happen in a vacuum.

    • Exactly many of the people they sanctioned helped and funded them into power. Craig is fooling no one.

  4. Craig again proved no matter how much he has an opinion on he is fundamentally wrong on almost every view he takes. I honestly believe it must be difficult to be this deluded.

    It’s a shame the people of Thanet deemed it appropriate to give this man a platform to spew his nonsense from.

  5. The UK still produces gas from the North Sea.
    But, because it’s a private enterprise, the gas is sold on the open market to the highest bidder. And that’s not the UK.
    There’s no point in fracking for gas, if exactly the same model is used. We won’t get a sniff of it.
    And our government’s handling of the refugee situation is dire. As to justifying it’s position by claiming that the refugees would rather be nearer home; surely that’s for the refugees to decide, not us to tell them. Personally, I’d like to be as far away from Russia’s missiles as possible.
    Has to Tory party given back the multimillion pound donations from Russian oligarchs?

    • “accept the small inconveniences of shale gas extraction?”
      Small inconvenience? who is he kidding
      as Andrew says the producer will be free to sell on the open market which means we would get the inconvenience but no benefit

  6. I get the bit about military aid but the rest of it reads as an apology for his failing government that is far too close to Russia.
    Didn’t see any mention of parties with or party donations from oligarchs?

  7. Oh dear not again Craig!
    Craig’s thinking is so narrowly focused that his answer to any problem is fracking.
    World Poverty -Fracking. Not enough funding for the NHS -Fracking. MP’s pay, well that might be true ,as he must be on a retainer from Quadrilla or some other outfit.
    Right Craig, are you listening?
    Even if there were not all the problems over seismic disturbances, planning restrictions and lets face it strong opposition, it would take at least 3-5 years probably 10, before any gas was extracted.
    There are sound technical reasons to suppose that there is not that much gas to frack.Many geologists think it that the cost of extraction would make it uncompetitive,because of the limited reserves.
    As for jobs,building more solar, on shore wind, off shore wind, and above all else, mass high quality insulation of the UK housing stock, would produce more jobs, more quickly.UK houses lose 3 degrees in temperature for every 1 degree in Germany, so there is much to do.
    Medium term. tidal and wave power investment. I have some doubts about nuclear, because of the cost, the time it takes to build the power plants, and the lack of long term storage, but I am prepared to be convinced otherwise.
    It may be we can squeeze a bit more out of the North Sea to see off Russian imports in the short term,so our carbon foot print may rise during that period, but it may be a price worth paying.
    But please Craig give it a rest, you are becoming an embarrassment with this fixation on fracking.

  8. Here we go again. Craig talking nonsense. How long to get fracking off the ground? We’ll be suffering badly from climate change long before it happens, and then it won’t make a jot of difference. His government has failed over 12+ years to ensure energy security by moving faster to renewables, and he trots out the same old nonsense sponsored by his friends in the Global Warming Policy Foundation (sponsored by the fossil fuel industry).
    Craig, listen up. The planet is being screwed by continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels. We can change this, but only if vested interests are ignored. Your childrens’ future well-being depends on preventing climate catastrophe, not making your fossil-fuel friends richer.

      • What an absurd comment.
        We all live on this one planet.
        What one nation does impacts on everyone else.
        Most thinking people realise that burning fossil fuels is wrecking our planet.
        At the recent COP26 event, some very notable and knowledgeable people spoke to the nations of the world.
        What would be the point of Mr Shotton phoning up the Indian or Chinese president?
        We can do our bit, and hope most others do, too.
        Craig Mackinlay’s bizarre notions don’t help.

      • Absolutely right! We should be talking to the big fossil extration (and use) states, maybe our MP can get off his arse and try it! The UK can do its bit and it should, but we can also try to get others to follow suit. If we want true energy independnace (that’s going to last longer than North Sea reserves) we have to go for renewables. If Nuclear is seen as an option I’d support that so long as the first new plants are built in Westminster, Balmoral, Windsor, Eton and similar spots.

        • Don’t forget that a significant percentage of China’s emissions arise from making products for the west. Look at where your phone, laptop, TV etc etc is made. China’s emission are our emissions.

  9. Lol at these comments. Many of the names I recognise from posts here and usually we are not in agreement but Craig has actually achieved a manifesto promise. He has united us all in agreement – that he is an idiot.

  10. Depressing when our politicians give such a one-sided analysis of the situation and history leading up to the present crisis in the Ukraine. They conveniently forget the 2014 coup, extent of Western influences in the country, puppet government there with a ex reality TV president with a US mansion, the recent exposure of bio weapon labs funded by the US (the proof is all there in US state documents), the Nato incursions etc. etc. And if you want to see the destruction of fracking on the people and the land, look at some of the Australian documents on the poisoning of the land and people. ‘What a guy’ sound bites don’t impress the awake aware of the history there – and nor does the blatant and increasingly ridiculous Western mainstream propaganda.

  11. The people of Britain have offered about 100,000 rooms, flats and homes, potentially providing shelter for 200,000 – 300,000 desperate Ukranian refugees.
    How many visas had Ms Patel’s department offered?

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