The moment has arrived to confront Vladimir Putin

The world stands united in anger and disgust at the shooting down of MH17 on Thursday. Beyond the initial shock and upset of the crash, the heinous reality of this attack is beginning to truly hit home, as images of bodies strewn across the Ukrainian town of Grabovo were beamed across the news outlets for all to see. No one could begin to imagine the pain that the victims families are feeling at this moment, and my thoughts are with them all. From the depths of sadness and anger should come a hunger for answers, a thirst for explanations about how and why a commercial airline was shot from the sky, and on whose authority. American and British intelligence services seem to be almost certain that pro-Russian rebels within Eastern Ukraine were responsible for the attack, and as a result, the finger of blame must ultimately be pointed directly at Vladimir Putin.

I am not suggesting that the Russian President would order such an act, no even the apparently maniacal and soulless former KGB agent would be foolish enough to do that. Rather, Putin’s continued support, both politically and militarily for the pro-Russian separatists has led to this. For it is with Russian weaponry that 298 innocent people were murdered last Thursday, and it is with Russian support that the perpetrators will continue unpunished.

How can we allow this to happen? Weak foreign policy briefs have allowed Putin to stake his claim as the most potent of thorns in the sides of the West, let us not forget, until very recently he sat alongside Barack Obama and David Cameron in the G8, and as I write, Russia is still one of five members of the United Nations Security Council.

It has been announced that the British government have subsequently opened a full, public inquiry into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. This is undoubtedly in response to the events of last Thursday, as it is expected that any such inquiry would easily uncover the fact that Litvinenko was indeed murdered by the Russian Secret Service. Such a revelation would be extremely damaging to Putin, and would further cement the internationally held opinion that Putin is merely a throwback to the Cold War era of Russian sabre-rattling with the West.

Confrontation does not have to be a by-word for military action, but the reality remains that Vladimir Putin has consistently flunked international law and has, even if indirectly, played a significant role in the murder of 282 passengers of a commercial airline. Assets will be frozen, treaties will be changed and isolation will continue, but so will the pain of the families that have lost loved ones, and for them, and in the memory of those that were lost, the world must now stand up to Vladimir Putin and say that enough is enough.

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