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Britain’s support for Ukraine can be its Brexit breakthrough

But there is something else; this allowed Britain to win friends and build new relationships in Eastern and Northern Europe in a way that had previously seemed impossible. The Scandinavian states, the Baltic states, the Netherlands and Poland agree more with the UK’s uncompromising stance on Ukraine than with the paralyzed ambiguity of the core EU countries, Germany and France.

Don’t think of it as a wedge driven into the very heart of the EU; that would be somewhat of an exaggeration. The EU still links much more than it divides. However, the UK’s stance has received much praise among those EU countries that are still alive with repressive Soviet rule or otherwise at the forefront of Russia’s expansionist ambitions.

These countries have also helped to shame the rest of the EU into acting more openly than they might otherwise. Despite this, there is still a clear tightening of the legs.

Germany’s “change through trade” approach to Putin’s Russia has clearly failed, yet it remains hopeful of reconciliation, of rebuilding the ties it once so vigorously maintained, and is muting its response accordingly. Meanwhile, France’s Emmanuel Macron still dreams of becoming the last peacemaker.

Britain sees Putin for who he is, and in doing so, gains new friends in the EU.

I have no evidence that this thaw in relations with a number of northern EU states has anything to do with the Irish Protocol negotiations, but it clearly cannot hurt and at least makes one wonder if there are more important things to worry about. about building an artificial border in the Irish Sea or, for that matter, about a dirty distraction from Zahavi’s tax affairs.

This article is an excerpt from The Telegraph’s Economic Intelligence newsletter. Sign here to get exclusive insights from two of the UK’s leading economic commentators – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and Jeremy Warner – delivered straight to your inbox every Tuesday.

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