Why Europe Must Do More to Support Ukraine

As we speak, the Islamic Republic of Iran, who is only weeks away from obtaining a nuclear weapon, is supplying drones on a systematic basis to Russia, who is deploying these indiscriminate weapons against Ukrainian civilians.   In recent days, 500 protesters gathered outside of the European Parliament in Brussels, where they voiced not only their indignation for the world’s silence in the face of Iran’s brutal suppression against its own people, but also their inaction as Iran essentially props up Putin’s war in the Ukraine.  By Iran backing up Putin, the Islamic Republic has become a direct threat not only to the State of Israel but also to Ukraine and all of Europe.   

As a former Israeli Communication Minister, I say that enough is enough.  Over five million people have become internally displaced persons and many more people have fled the Ukraine with little more than the clothing on their back merely because Putin could not accept that the Ukrainians wanted to veer towards the West and away from them.   They have savagely treated the Ukrainians merely for wanting to be part of the West, literally leveling entire buildings to the ground and transforming what used to be another European country into something reminiscent of Syria.    

Human Rights Watch recently reported, “Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and the ensuing war had a disastrous impact on civilians, civilian property and energy infrastructure, and overshadowed all other human rights concerns in the country. Russian forces committed a litany of violations of international humanitarian law, including indiscriminate and disproportionate bombing and shelling of civilian areas that hit homes and healthcare and educational facilities.”

According to them, “In areas they occupied, Russian or Russian-affiliated forces committed apparent war crimes, including torture, summary executions, sexual violence, and enforced disappearances. Those who attempted to flee areas of fighting faced terrifying ordeals and numerous obstacles; in some cases, Russian forces forcibly transferred significant numbers of Ukrainians to Russia or Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine and subjected many to abusive security screenings.”

For all of these reasons, the sanctions against Russia must be much stronger than the presently are today.  After all, it was recently reported that Russia’s diesel exports have reached a record high this month despite the EU sanctions in place.   This is because these sanctions, although curtailing Russia’s energy exports, hardly put a halt to them, as China, India, the United Arab Emirates and many other countries still utilize Russian oil.      

Recently, Bloomberg News published the top six companies who continue to purchase Russian oil despite the imposition of sanctions by the West.  These include the Hong Kong based Noad Axis Ltd., which purchased 521,000 barrels of Russian oil till December; Dubai based Tejarinaft FZCO, which bought 244,000 barrels a day till December; QR trading, which purchased 199,000 barrels a day till December; Hong Kong based Concept Oil Services LTD., which purchased 152,000 barrels per day till December; Hong Kong based Belerix Energy LTD., which purchased 151,000 barrels per day till December; and Coral Energy DMCC, which purchased 121,000 barrels per day till December, although they stopped dealing with Russian oil from January 1.  

According to the Times of Israel, Tahir Karaev and Azim Novruzov are standing behind Coral: “What’s really funny, if you can call it funny, is that Mathieu Philippe appears as UBO for some of the vessels they operate after he was kicked out of UML because he was Coral’s man.”  

All of this makes a mockery of human rights and the desire for the Ukrainian people to obtain justice, after Russia essentially destroyed their lovely country.     The time has come for the world to sanction Putin harder.  The time has come to force China, India and other countries to stop trading in Russian oil.   The time has come for Putin to face the wrath of the international community due to the crimes against humanity he has committed.    The time has come for Putin to become truly persona non-grata in Europe.  

Ayoob Kara
Ayoob Kara
Ayoob Kara served as Israel’s Minister of Communications.