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William Hague's condemnation of Vladimir Putin and, by extension, his justification of Britain's complicity in the coup in Kiev oozes hypocrisy.
The Foreign Secretary portrays Russia's actions in the Crimea as posing "a threat to hard-won peace and security in Europe."
But what took place in Kiev did not represent peace and security, either on a national or international basis.
Peaceful demonstrations against President Viktor Yanukovych's decision not to sign an association agreement with the European Union degenerated into systematic attacks on police and occupations of public buildings.
Had such events taken place in Whitehall rather than Independence Square, Hague's government would have mobilised state power to sweep away the rioters and stabilise the situation.
But the risk of Ukraine lining up alongside Russia rather than with the European Union and Nato meant that the rulebook was thrown out the window.
Western politicians who never tire of repeating claptrap about democracy and the rule of law dropped casually into Ukraine, ignored the elected government and posed for the international media with those preparing a coup, giving them full support.
EU foreign affairs and security policy high representative Catherine Ashton and US former presidential candidate John McCain were among those who visited Independence Square to give succour to the rioters.
US Vice President Joe Biden went so far as to order Yanukovych not to call a state of emergency - even though that is exactly what Washington would have done in similar circumstances.
Western politicians and their supportive media chains presented the conflict in Ukraine as between a dictatorship and a population daring to struggle for democracy.
They initially ignored the role of fascist stormtroopers from the Svoboda (Freedom), Praviy Sektor (Right Sector), Spilna Sprava (Common Cause) and Trizub (Trident) parties, all of which have spewed out anti-Russian and anti-semitic abuse.
Then they played down their role even though these paramilitary groups have responsibility for keeping "order" in Kiev.
Hague treats the self-appointed government's decisions as legitimate, even though votes were taken in parliament as armed paramilitaries stood guard in the chamber and after elected representatives had been roughed up.
Our government accepts the myth about a "government of national unity" despite parties representing half the parliament - Yanukovych's Party of Regions and the Ukrainian Communist Party - being banned by coup leaders' decree.
Other decrees include lifting the ban on nazi symbols and revoking the law giving official status to the Russian, Hungarian and Romanian languages.
Hague claims that there is "no evidence" of a threat to Russian speakers even through the rhetoric of the paramilitary groups is clear and the coup leaders have begun replacing governors in eastern provinces with their own oligarchic allies.
Ending military co-operation, as Barack Obama has done, or uttering menaces of unspecified "costs," as Hague does, will not intimidate Putin.
He knows that trade sanctions could rebound on the EU, especially, which depends on Russia for a third of its oil and gas imports and half its vehicular exports.
Moscow still feels resentful towards the West for its contemptuous attitude when Russia was led by drunken buffoon Boris Yeltsin, but it knows that there is no military solution to the current crisis.
Instead of threatening and lecturing Putin, the EU and US should seek a way out that assuages the genuine fears of those menaced by the fascist spearhead of the coup and respects all Ukraine's national and cultural traditions.
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