Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Russia’s war against Ukraine a dangerous precedent

Published:Sunday | February 25, 2024 | 12:08 AM
Flowers and toys lie on the ground at a makeshift memorial commemorating victims of a December 30 missile attack by Ukraine in Belgorod, Russia, which has come under repeated Ukrainian shelling, and hundreds of bus stops in the city near the border with Uk
Flowers and toys lie on the ground at a makeshift memorial commemorating victims of a December 30 missile attack by Ukraine in Belgorod, Russia, which has come under repeated Ukrainian shelling, and hundreds of bus stops in the city near the border with Ukraine have been reinforced with blocks of concrete and sandbags to protect them from rocket strikes.

Russia’s war against Ukraine creates a dangerous precedent for the rest of the world, and it must be stopped. Failing to address this situation would legitimise illegal aggression towards and invasion of one state by another. Consequently, no nation can be certain of its security.

Sovereignty and territorial integrity are the cornerstones of international order. Russia is waging an unprovoked, undeclared and illegal full-scale war against Ukraine, a sovereign member of the international community.

Russia has violated negotiated agreements established over the past 30 years regarding Ukraine, beginning with the Budapest Memorandum (1994), in which it pledged to uphold the independence, sovereignty, and existing borders of Ukraine. Since its unlawful invasion of Crimea in 2014, Russia has not only violated the terms of this Memorandum but also breached various international treaties.

Vladimir Putin’s actions have demonstrated a lack of trustworthiness, as Russia consistently disregards its legal obligations and flouts international law or bilateral agreements whenever it seeks to advance its interests. Furthermore, Putin resorts to military force, ignoring the principles outlined in the UN Charter and international law.

When the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Putin announced it as a “special military operation” and he was convinced that Ukraine would be promptly taken over and the rest of the world would stand by and be passive. He could not have been more wrong. Ukraine showed strength and courage, the large majority of the United Nations condemned Russia’s invasion and many countries have expressed support for Ukraine in varying ways.

UNJUSTIFIED AND UNPROVOKED

But the unjustified and unprovoked war rages on with more innocent victims than one could ever have predicted. After two years, Russia has achieved virtually no progress on the battlefield, but Putin does not want to withdraw his troops. He seems prepared to sacrifice additional hundreds of thousands more of his own soldiers in a desperate attempt to take what he could not take since the war started two years ago.

Russia continues to launch missiles against Ukraine, destroying schools, hospitals, and apartment blocks. All means seem justified for the Russian president as he targets Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, spreading terror and causing civilian losses.

Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global supply chains, leading to a surge in the costs of essential commodities, like wheat, fertilisers, and oil for most countries worldwide and this has increased the pressure on household budgets, including in Jamaica.

The Russian president is not interested in negotiations or ceasefires. As he cannot win Ukraine militarily, he is betting on the fatigue of those who are supporting Ukraine and sacrificing as many Russian lives as he deems necessary. But 24 months into the fighting, the largest part of the international community, and especially the European Union, remains united and will continue to support Ukraine, for as long as needed.

We are pleased to note that Jamaica has voted in favour of all the UN Resolutions, in line with its traditional foreign policy aimed at ensuring respect for international law and the UN Charter.

The European Union will never recognise the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia. We ask the world to choose justice and we urge a global stand in support of an international rules-based order, in respect of the UN Charter. We need to uphold such a system if we do not wish to live in a world where ‘might makes right’.

Article contributed by Marianne Van Steen, ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica. German Ambassador, Jan Hendrik van Thiel; French Ambassador, Olivier Guyonvarch; Spanish Ambassador, Diego Bermejo Romero de Terreros and Belgian Ambassador, Ellen De Geest. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com