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Stewart Jackson is a former Conservative MP and Special Adviser, and is the Founder and Director of UK Political Insight.

The events since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces just eighteen days ago will have vindicated Lenin’s famous dictum that “there are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen.”

Francis Fukiyama’s “End of History” feels even more like a take from another age as before – now that liberal democracy faces its gravest threat in decades.

The German volte face on defence and energy and the ditching of the Nordstream 2 pipeline, the repudiation of the foolish and cynical Merkel engagement with Putin, the shattering of the Net Zero shibboleth, the renaissance of a cohesive and united NATO and the pivot of the US Administration back to European security, are all fundamental changes.

It would be churlish to deny that the European Union has risen to an historical challenge – although the “strategic autonomy” fantasies of Emmanuel Macron are surely now irrelevant. A partial post-Brexit thaw is also notable as witnessed by the Foreign Secretary’s invitation to and attendance at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Friday.

The German U-turn and commitment to spend an extra £83 billion on defence this year is an epoch-making development as significant as German unification in 1990. The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary have all been integral to these changes.

Indeed, it really isn’t too much to claim that the UK Government has, since last autumn, galvanised the wider liberal democratic West towards action in defending its own values and strategic interests.

So it’s time to repudiate the lazy narrative from some media commentators (and not just the perennial Johnson-haters) that the United Kingdom has been slow, ineffective and lacking influence or political and diplomatic heft during this crisis.

The evidence suggests quite the opposite.

Ask the Ukrainians themselves. A new poll by Lord Ashcroft commissioned from Ukraine and featured on ConHome last Friday showed that a majority of Ukrainians named only one country as doing enough to help them: Britain.

Even some of his opponents accept that Boris Johnson has handled the current crisis with aplomb and a sure touch, with clear messaging and a simple narrative. As ever, the Prime Minister has eluded his detractors and performed admirably with his back against the wall. Plus ca change.

Similarly, the Cabinet has looked serious and professional in swiftly driving through legislative and policy changes on the back of foresight and detailed planning dating back many months with confident and authoritative media performances by the likes of Ben Wallace, Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, Liz Truss and Priti Patel.

Despite the cries of impotence by some Remainer naysayers, the British Government, which has never eschewed the importance of collaborative working with the EU in areas like defence, intelligence and security, has strengthened bilateral alliances with the Baltic States and Poland.

Additionally, the UK is the leading light in the Joint Expeditionary Force: an alliance of northern European countries: Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Latvia  and last week, the Prime Minister “outlined details of the UK’s new offer to NATO across its eastern flank”. The UK stood ready for any further request from NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe to go further with military support to NATO from UK Armed Forces, he said.

One senses in the Prime Minister a real sense of purpose and a moral mission in opposing Putin’s thuggish aggression, which is why he has travelled several times to Eastern Europe in support of our allies, to Poland in February and the Baltic states a week ago, and he no doubt feels acutely the disappointment of having to rule out a No Fly Zone, since this would plunge Europe as a whole continent into dangerous conflict with a damaged and desperate nuclear-armed Russia.

Whilst the sanctions imposed on Putin’s regime after the Crimean invasion of 2014 were anaemic and low intensity, this country knew what it was dealing with after the 2018 Salisbury poisonings and quite rightly prepared for likely Russian foreign incursions by helping to arm our allies and to prepare to wage economic warfare.

Our policy has been consistent in contributing over two per cent of our GDP to defence spending in line with NATO strategy. Whatever Germany and others may do now in terms of meeting the NATO minimum target, the former currently spending just 1.5 per cent of GDP, the UK remains the fourth largest spender in the Alliance – the third in effect, since Greece, the largest spender, is arming against Turkey. Therefore we’re the largest NATO spender in Europe.

From that position of relative strength, we’ve been able to offer more than merely warm words to our friends on the front line.

We’ve trained 22,000 members of the Ukrainian armed forces under Operation Orbital since 2015, and were among the first European nations to send defensive weapons to Ukraine, with an initial tranche of 2,000 anti-tank defensive missiles, and more weapons left RAF Brize Norton last weekend, including handheld anti-aircraft and anti-tank weaponry.

UK economic warfare and sanctions are focused on restricting the Russian economy and bringing the leadership and oligarchy to its knees using such legal measures as Unexplained Wealth Orders and the putataive Economic Crime Bill, as well as multilateral action.

The UK has led the way sanctioning in banks – cutting off Russian debt raising and limiting deposits in UK banks, while also employing trade embargoes, travel bans, asset freezes and export controls and draconian measures in space, aerospace, aviation and maritime and other key strategic sectors like services and energy.

Fundamentally, the plunge in the rouble and in foreign reserves, rocketing interest rates and the collapse in Russian supply chains and living standards would not have happened without international action, and the UK clearly helped to lead the way in terms of two of the biggest sanctions: Impeding Russia’s access to the SWIFT system, and sanctioning of Russia’s Central Bank.

The Prime Minister was reported as calling for Russian banks to be barred from SWIFT as early as February 25th  and a bar was extended that to all Russian bank assets last week.

Finally, the Government has committed a total of £220 million of direct aid to Ukraine, including £80 million of humanitarian aid announced on 1st March and launched in a matter of weeks, a Family Visa Scheme and a local sponsorship scheme, to settle displaced Ukrainian nationals in the UK.

In many ways, our country has led the world in response the Ukrainian tragedy and has, at the very least, proven our ability to exert influence as an independent, sovereign nation which freely chooses to work collectively with both bilateral and multilateral partners, helping to strengthen NATO, stand with America and forge a partial rapprochement with the European Union in the face of the most serious assault on our values since the Cold War.