13 nations around the world including France, Britain, Australia and America have joined Britain in expelling Russian diplomats and spies from their soil as part of a raft of measures against the Putin regime. So, I ask the question: Are there Russian spooks in New Zealand? There might well be. Since the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
People ask what is New Zealand doing about this?
Rather than rush in having made a rapid and possibly hasty – judgement that is not necessarily accurate, New Zealand’s response could be more consistent with waiting for the facts to be proven and taking action based on them. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that the Secret Intelligence Service has found no evidence of Russian spies in New Zealand. Ms Ardern further says that if the opposite were true, as Prime Minister she would reserve the right order their expulsion.
From blocking United Nations attempts to pass resolutions against Syria and Iran for breaches of international law to the poisoning using polonium against a former spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. From the attempted annexation of the Crimea so Russia could gain better access to the Black Sea, to the suppression of the domestic opposition parties to ensure Mr Putin is returned as President, the Putin regime has continued to show scant regard for the law.
Whilst it is true many Russians love Putin and see him as a continuation of Russia’s line of strong leaders, there are many many more who absolutely despair. Corruption is rife. But few dare report it as journalists are frequently subject to harassment. Anyone from a sexual minority runs the risk of grave persecution if they come out. Cold War era arms programmes as well as a slew of new ones have been started – new planes, tanks, missiles are all in progress. All of this started or accelerated under the regime of Mr Putin.
I want to be clear now that this is not an outbreak of anti-Russian sentiment on this blog. It is a response to a pattern of increasing Russian belligerence that began with the election of Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2000 and which in that time has grown considerably both in terms of scope, in terms of the consequences and in terms of international tensions.
The reason why this is not an attack of Russophobia is because if it is that, then based on previous articles written for this blog, I have therefore had attacks of anti-American sentiment and anti-Chinese sentiment.
But as Mr Putin’s list of crimes that he may be complicit continues to grow, am I the only one wondering how much worse this can get before one side or the other does something they regret forever more?