Putin’s war is a watershed moment for the EU – the days of ‘never again’ are back | Caroline de Gruyter

Suddenly, brutally, the invasion of Ukraine has taken member states back to the founding principle of the European projectInterpreters in the European parliament usually sound so monotonous and mechanical that even well-rested listeners have trouble staying awake. But when the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, addressed a parliamentary session via video link on Tuesday, something extraordinary happened: the person relaying his words into English was so moved that he audibly fought to hold back his tears. “We’re fighting … just for our land … and for our freedom,” he said, then sniffed, his voice almost breaking as Zelenskiy, wearing a khaki T-shirt in what looked like a bunker, declared: “Despite the fact … that all our cities of our country are now blocked … nobody is going to enter and intervene with the freedom and our country.”This is just one example among many, of how Vladimir Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine is shaking Europeans to the core. Having long believed that war was impossible on the continent, they are shocked – and embarrassed – that Ukrainians must not only defend their country against Russian aggression, but must also defend democracy, freedom and the right of sovereign states to determine their destiny – the very principles that underpin the European Union.Caroline de Gruyter is a Europe correspondent and columnist for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, and Foreign Policy Continue reading…

Suddenly, brutally, the invasion of Ukraine has taken member states back to the founding principle of the European project

Interpreters in the European parliament usually sound so monotonous and mechanical that even well-rested listeners have trouble staying awake. But when the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, addressed a parliamentary session via video link on Tuesday, something extraordinary happened: the person relaying his words into English was so moved that he audibly fought to hold back his tears. “We’re fighting … just for our land … and for our freedom,” he said, then sniffed, his voice almost breaking as Zelenskiy, wearing a khaki T-shirt in what looked like a bunker, declared: “Despite the fact … that all our cities of our country are now blocked … nobody is going to enter and intervene with the freedom and our country.”

This is just one example among many, of how Vladimir Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine is shaking Europeans to the core. Having long believed that war was impossible on the continent, they are shocked – and embarrassed – that Ukrainians must not only defend their country against Russian aggression, but must also defend democracy, freedom and the right of sovereign states to determine their destiny – the very principles that underpin the European Union.

Caroline de Gruyter is a Europe correspondent and columnist for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, and Foreign Policy

Continue reading…

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