Russia-Ukraine crisis: Nato should agree to Vladimir Putin's demands that Ukraine should not become a member. It's time for diplomacy, not war – Kenny MacAskill MSP

Seeking refuge from the increased bellicosity on Ukraine and, indeed, the insanity of some in Westminster who seem to positively relish a war with Russia, I looked at the website of an organisation called the American Committee for US-Russia Accord.

A Ukrainian soldier trains with an anti-tank missile system in Starychi, Ukraine, last weekend amid fears of a Russian invasion (Picture: Gaelle Girbes/Getty Images)
A Ukrainian soldier trains with an anti-tank missile system in Starychi, Ukraine, last weekend amid fears of a Russian invasion (Picture: Gaelle Girbes/Getty Images)

I thought that would be interesting as I’d read how the UK was being even more bullish than the USA in its attitudes and actions, mirrored in some ways by SNP MPs almost seeking to outflank the Tory government.

I should also declare that I’ve a good friend who sits on its board. He’s David Speedie, an ex-pat Scot, formerly at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and who once confessed to me that he’d been a “Sovietologist”. So, his experience in the region’s longstanding, even if he’s now retired.

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The organisations mission statement’s clear. They “believe the atmosphere of mutual hostility between the US and Russia does not serve US national security interests, nor does it serve the cause of a more peaceful world. While we believe it is important to recognise that we have serious disagreements with Russia, these should not close the door on dialogue…”

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Other board members would hardly be viewed as un-American, not even by Joe McCarthy. Not only do they include former Democratic Senator Bill Bradley but also Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the Soviet Union, amongst a stellar cast of other academic, business and diplomatic experts.

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Accepting Ukraine into Nato is the way to stop Vladimir Putin from drawing a new...
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What do they suggest? They say “the roadmap towards a resolution is difficult yet clear: We recommend the US and its Nato allies in Europe forswear Ukrainian membership in the alliance. If this proves diplomatically impossible for the West, a moratorium on adding new members should be put in place for ten to 20 years.”

They also seek the implementation of the protocols which “will provide autonomy for the Russophone breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine in return for the re-establishment of Ukrainian sovereignty over its border with Russia”.

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That seems to me to provide both some assurance and benefit for all, Russia and Ukraine. It’s time for diplomacy not war. Let’s listen to diplomatic experts, not armchair generals.

Kenny MacAskill is Alba Party MP for East Lothian

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