Home Politics Why are some nations neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war? | Russian-Ukrainian War News

Why are some nations neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war? | Russian-Ukrainian War News

by YAR

Brussels, Belgium – European Union officials are preparing to meet in Brussels on Thursday, where they are expected to grant EU candidacy status to Ukraine in a gesture of solidarity amid the conflict with Russia.

At the same time, the bloc has been running a global lobbying campaign to increase support for Kyiv, with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Finnish President Sanna Marin and other European leaders. who travel to South Asia, namely India, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

New trade deals have been signed, and more humanitarian and financial support has been promised, in a bid to help some of these nations ease their dependence on Russia.

But speaking at the GLOBSEC forum in Bratislava earlier this month, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister, said Europe should stop thinking that its problems are the world’s problems.

“The world cannot be as Eurocentric as it used to be in the past,” he said.

“If you were to take Europe as a whole, which has been singularly silent about a lot of things that were going on, for example in Asia, you might wonder why anyone in Asia would trust Europe with anything,” he added.

According to Vivek Mishra, a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi, “Eurocentrism has been challenged in academia on multiple occasions, but perhaps for the first time by an Indian political leader on the turf of Europe.”

He told Al Jazeera that Jaishankar’s comments were “consistent with the EU’s move to the Indo-Pacific from the ocean liner and underscore the idea that Asian issues are as important as anywhere in the world.”

He added: “There can be no comparative advantage for Europe or the West over Asia or Asian affairs. There is a colonial tinge there, which needed to be called out.”

India’s balancing act to appease both Russia and the West caught the EU off guard, but in New Delhi in April von der Leyen reiterated the dangers of war in Ukraine at a press conference.

“The result of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war will not only determine the future of Europe, but will also profoundly affect the Indo-Pacific region and the rest of the world. For the Indo-Pacific, it is as important as it is for Europe that borders are respected. And that the spheres of influence are rejected. We want a positive vision for a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” he told reporters.

At the time, the EU had established a joint trade and technology council with India with the aim of strengthening economic and strategic ties with the country.

But India has continued to maintain its neutral stance towards Russia.

The African Union has also not accepted EU lobbying efforts to isolate Russia.

Concerned about the global food crisis, in a recent meeting with EU leaders, Macky Sall, president of Senegal and president of the African Union (AU), said that the bloc’s sanctions on Russia threatened the import of grains and fertilizers to Africa. .

In an interview with the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche, Sall said the AU wants to pay (for grain and fertilizer imports) but now “it is becoming impossible.”

“So we ask the Europeans for the same mechanism as for gas and oil,” he said.

The AU leader also met with Putin in early June and they agreed that sanctions would not solve the food crisis.

“I understand the sentiment of these regions, because when countries in Africa and Asia have had wars, Europe has sometimes played a one-sided game,” Jacob F Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, told Al Jazeera.

“The EU has certainly underestimated the fact that the rest of the world does not share the outrage felt on the continent by this war and the enmity towards Russia,” he added.

But Harry Nedelcu, head of policy at Rasmussen Global and in charge of its Task Force for a Free Ukraine, told Al Jazeera that the responsibility also lies with Russia.

“The Indian foreign minister’s response and also the African Union’s statements illustrate Russia’s narrative and its ability to change reality and make the victim appear to be the problem,” he said.

“Russia basically says that the food crisis is Ukraine’s fault. But in reality, the food doesn’t come out because Russia is invading Ukraine. Russia attacked Ukraine and has prevented Ukrainian grain from reaching the rest of the world,” she added.

way ahead

Speaking to reporters in Brussels on Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell acknowledged the African leader’s concerns. But he stressed that the problem should not be blamed on EU sanctions.

“I have sent a letter to all African foreign ministers, explaining how our sanctions are being adapted: how they work, who they affect, what can or cannot be allowed under the sanctions,” he said.

He also added that the EU has pledged $1.06 billion to address food insecurity in the Sahel, $633 million for urgent support to strengthen the resilience of food systems in the Horn of Africa, and $237 million to mitigate the effects of potential emerging food crises in North Africa and the Middle East.

“This is part of the action plan on the geopolitical consequences of Russian aggression,” Borrell said.

But according to ORF’s Mishra, ultimately the West, including the EU, has perhaps been more successful in consolidating an intra-Western network rather than an inter-regional network with other areas of the world.

“With the war still going on, most countries outside the Atlantic have reverted to the classic notion of realism which is ‘self-help’. They have been selective on which issues they can afford to go with the West and which they cannot,” he said.

“Whether it is Russian energy trade, bilateral currency channels with Moscow, or travel and connectivity with Russia, countries have acted to satisfy their individual interests rather than upholding morality, human rights, or even expectations,” he added.

But Nedelcu stressed that, for now, the EU’s priority in pressing globally should be to address the Russian narrative.

“The EU has to be more proactive in explaining who is the victim and who is the aggressor. That is the only way to address Russia’s ability to twist the reality of situations and divide the world,” she said.

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