We feel abandoned by the West: Ukrainian MP condemns UK and US response to war

Inna Sovsun said the rollout of sanctions against Russia ‘isn’t on the same speed as the rollout of the atrocities of the war’.

05 March 2022

A Ukrainian MP has said the country feels “abandoned by the West” as she condemned the response of the UK and US to the Russian invasion.

Inna Sovsun, deputy leader of the Holos Party, said the rollout of sanctions on Russia is not at “the same speed as the rollout of the atrocities of the war”.

“Right now, there is this feeling of betrayal… and we do feel abandoned by the West,” the 37-year-old told the PA news agency.

“We are extremely disappointed with both the UK government and the American government… we were hoping for the sanctions to be more rapid and more overwhelming.

“Not a single pound should be going into Russia right now – they will be using that to buy weapons with which they will continue to be killing Ukrainians.

“The rollout of sanctions isn’t on the same speed as the rollout of the atrocities of the war that (Vladimir) Putin launched against us.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun, deputy leader of the Holos Party, has been hiding in her friend’s basement during air raids in Kyiv (Inna Sovsun)

Ms Sovsun said this lack of action from the West meant she was “angered” by a speech from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which the politician said Ukrainians are “inspiring the world”.

“I’m sorry but that just got me so angry, because I don’t want to be inspiring, I want to be able to read a book to my son when putting him to bed, who I haven’t seen for eight days,” Ms Sovsun said.

“We don’t want to be inspiring…. we don’t want to be the beacon of democracy – in Ukraine, we just want to stay alive.

“We want every single Russian kicked out of every single country that says they love Ukraine… and want to support us.

“Every single son and daughter of a Russian Minister studying in, in London, Oxford, Cambridge, whatever else, they need to go back home to Mother Russia and tell their parents what they have done and why they have been kicked out of the UK.”

Ms Sovsun also reaffirmed calls for a no-fly zone over her country to protect it from Russia’s air raids – stating that Ukraine has a right to do so because of the Budapest memorandum signed in 1994 in which Ukraine agreed to abandon their arsenal of nuclear weapons to Russia.

That agreement – signed by the UK, US, and Russia – included an agreement to provide assistance “if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used”.

Vladimir Putin said he had put Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons forces on high alert last Sunday.

“We could have been a nuclear power right now, and then the situation would have been completely different for us,” Ms Sovsun said.

“We voluntarily gave that up and we were promised that other countries will take care of our security.

“Now we’re hearing excuses that we cannot get engaged… well, probably you should have thought about that when signing that agreement in 1994.”

Ms Sovsun pointed to civilian casualties being caused by Russian airstrikes, and on Thursday shared a photograph of a drawing she said was drawn by her nine-year-old son, Martyn, in which he drew a city with the words “no fly zone” written above.

The Ukrainian politician has been staying with a friend in Kyiv since Russia invaded on February 24, abandoning her home in the north of the city.

Her son is staying in the west of Ukraine, away from the capital, while her boyfriend is with the Ukrainian army and her 61-year-old father has joined the nation’s territorial defence.

She had not heard from her father for three days until Friday morning.

“My mum is in western Ukraine… she was going slightly crazy with that, as you can imagine,” she added.

“We just got a message two hours ago that he is alive and well… I am lucky, so many people are not.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that the UK is “bolstering” its package of sanctions against the Kremlin with “new powers in our arsenal to go further and faster”.

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