IT has been more than two years since Putin launched his full-scale invasion towards Kyiv.

It is a decade since the so-called “Little Green Men” intervened in Ukraine’s sovereign territory, which led to the annexation of Crimea as well as separatist movements in the Donbas. Now, a renewed Russian offensive attempts to march towards Kharkiv while Ukrainian forces valiantly fight them off.

Ukraine has had plenty of praise for its efforts. What it needs though is actions which make a difference.

There were two pieces of good news in that regard this week. Firstly, EU countries have formally adopted a proposal to use windfall profits from Russian central bank assets frozen in the EU for Ukraine’s defence, as reported by Reuters.

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The sum is not insignificant, with the EU estimating that the assets will provide €15-20 billion in profits by 2027 and it is expected that Ukraine will receive the first tranche of funding in July. The agreement will see 90% of the proceeds set aside for the European Peace Facility, while the remaining 10% will support EU programmes in Ukraine, such as supporting its defence industry and reconstruction needs.

The second part was revealed by Politico: the EU and Ukraine are looking to kickstart the formal negotiation process at an upcoming summit on June 25. As reported last year, Ukraine was approved as a formal EU candidate with the next stage being the opening of membership negotiations. For this to take place, all 27 EU members need to agree on the negotiation framework which establishes the guidelines and principles for accession negotiations.

Hungary has proven to be a bit of a stumbling block in this regard, citing the rights of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine. An 11-point list was put forward by Hungary some months ago and intensive diplomacy has been ongoing between Kyiv, Brussels and Budapest.

Whether the disagreements will be resolved by then remains to be seen; if so, it would provide a welcome morale boost to a country which is paying a very steep price for choosing Europe over Putin.

There are lessons here for all of us. I’ve made the call before and I’ll say it again – the UK should use the seized Russian assets of Putin’s regime to support Ukraine’s economy and reconstruction. The EU is ahead of the UK in this regard but it’s not without justification that the UK’s financial capital is also referred to as the “London Laundromat” when it comes to laundering ill-gotten financial gains. With estimates of £18bn worth of individual assets frozen so far alongside around £26bn of Russian central bank assets, such funding would go a long way to support Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s invasion.

Related to this is the need for greater enforcement of sanctions. Since Russia’s renewed invasion in February 2022, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has fired out zero fines to Russians circumventing sanctions. Either this is because everyone is complying perfectly or they are not being caught. Given the high levels of trade flowing to third-country transshipment hubs, particularly with regard to dual-use technology, it seems more likely that it is the latter rather than the former.

Indeed, the process of investigating sanctions breaches often relies on firms reporting themselves to OFSI rather than proactive investigation, since it lacks full investigative powers under UK law. Clearly, more needs to be done.

As well as funds, Ukraine also needs weapons and ammunition. What the crisis has shown is the Russian state’s willingness to invest heavily in its defence industry to make up for the staggering losses. Analysis from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank indicates that Russia is delivering approximately 1500 tanks to its forces per year, as well as significantly increasing its missile production.

Over the winter, RUSI figures highlighted that Ukrainian forces have been limited to firing 2000 shells per day, with the Russians firing up to 10,000 in contrast. Across Nato and the EU, allies have to find similar levels of resolve and investment in their industrial defence complexes. This would not only enable Ukraine to take the fight to Russia and regain occupied territories but would also ensure our own security through increased stockpiles and well-resourced fighting units.

How does this matter to Scotland? Ukraine’s security is also our security. If Russia wins, Putin will not be satisfied with defeating Ukraine but will turn his eye further westwards. Whether it be in the Baltics, the Nordics or other parts of the High North, Putin’s aggression will be squarely aimed at our northern neighbourhood.

The SNP have been clear on their support for Ukraine for years and the failure of the UK to take the Russian threat seriously. As an independent state, we must ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. It is, after all, the future of our shared continent at stake here.