A dangerous turn in Russia-Ukraine war
We are deeply worried about the dramatic turn of the Russia-Ukraine war after Russia's annexation of four captured regions of Ukraine. According to media reports, President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed documents to formally begin the process of incorporating Russian-controlled Luhansk and parts of Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia into the Russian Federation after a series of disputed referendums. It effectively provides Moscow a land bridge to Crimea, the peninsula that it annexed in 2014. While Crimea represented the first annexation in Europe since World War II, the latest move represents the biggest such annexation. Together, all five regions make up around 20 percent of Ukrainian territory.
While Crimea represented the first annexation in Europe since World War II, the latest move represents the biggest such annexation. Together, all five regions make up around 20 percent of Ukrainian territory.
We condemn the latest annexation and slow Russification of a sovereign country in the strongest terms. Altering borders with brute force is not just a clear violation of international law. It represents the height of absurdity of a war – now in its eighth month – that has proven to be detrimental to even faraway countries like Bangladesh. The disruptions caused by the war and the West's response to it – in the form of heavy banking, trade and commercial sanctions – led to unprecedented crises in the global supply chain. On the ground, countless people have been killed, injured and displaced. With the Ukrainian forces clawing back wins in recent weeks, and the mass mobilising of Russian forces as a result, along with the threat of using nuclear weapons, things are quickly becoming totally unmanageable.
The irony of the latest development is that Putin, at the annexation ceremony in Kremlin, slammed the colonial past of a "satanist" West. He said western colonies had carried out genocide, opium wars and plundered states. There is no disputing that. But does it justify his own "colonisation" project? He signalled his willingness to continue the battle for a "greater historical Russia", using whatever tools he had at his disposal. Ukraine as a sovereign nation must not be a victim of that battle. And the West, on its part, must ensure it does not contribute to it by escalating tensions to a point where such drastic actions find justification.
The West, so far, has been an active if unreliable third party in this war, its actions nearly having as much of an effect on the world as the two warring parties. Instead of trying to assuage tensions, it has been a provocateur at times. Its sanctions, aimed at the Russians and Russian interests, have instead caused suffering globally. Clearly, this strategy of aiding Ukraine militarily and punishing Russia economically is not having the desired effect, which only shows the importance of using more judicious means and solutions.
We urge the Russian authorities to refrain from their destructive pursuit in Ukraine, and the international community to prepare the ground for de-escalation of tensions. Nothing justifies continuing this war or any illegal takeover of occupied territories. We urge everyone to pursue peaceful and diplomatic solutions to end this war.