Show of support for Ukraine by Philippines-based foreign envoys angers Moscow

Basilio Sepe and Jojo Riñoza
2022.08.25
Manila
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Show of support for Ukraine by Philippines-based foreign envoys angers Moscow Filipina activists stage a protest in Manila against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it an “imperialist war,” March 8, 2022.
Jojo Riñoza/BenarNews

Russia’s embassy to Manila hit back verbally against diplomats from at least 18 foreign nations on Thursday for issuing a “provocative” joint statement condemning Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine six months ago.

In a statement of solidarity with Kyiv to mark Ukraine’s Independence Day anniversary on Aug. 24, the mostly Western diplomats stationed in the Philippines jointly branded the Russian military attack on the smaller neighbor next-door as “brutal, unprovoked and unjustifiable.” 

On Wednesday, Ukraine marked the 31st anniversary of declaring its independence from the Soviet Union. Ukrainians observed the holiday six months to the day when Russian forces invaded on Feb. 24. 

The diplomats representing Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union expressed “greater resolve than ever to stand with Ukraine.”

According to their statement, the Philippines has “keenly felt” the effects of Russia’s invasion of its neighbor through increases in prices of basic commodities which have hurt the poor struggling amid the pandemic.

In addition, the array of diplomats condemned “Russia’s continued attempts to re-draw borders by force, which is a blatant violation of international law and breach of the United Nations Charter.”

On Thursday, the Russian embassy here responded with a scorching statement. 

“Russia is again blamed for the global energy and food crisis as well as undermining the so-called “rules based” world order,” it said in a statement. “We consider it [the joint statement] as provocative, full of false and groundless accusations and black propaganda against Russia.”

The West, the embassy said, had created sanctions that contributed to the world energy crisis “even before the start of Russia’s special military operation to protect the Russian-speaking population of Donbass” in Ukraine. 

“An important factor influencing the deterioration of the food situation in the world was the abrupt transition to green energy imposed on the whole world instead of a well-thought-out smooth energy transition, as well as the blatant politicization of energy cooperation by a number of European countries,” the embassy said. 

It also accused the countries who signed the anti-Russia statement of waging wars in the name of protecting democracy in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. 

“Ukraine is now unfortunately on a par with these long-suffering countries and before our eyes is turning into a Nazi terrorist state with the active assistance of Washington and European countries,” the Russian embassy said. 

While the Philippines was not a signatory to the joint statement, officials here said that Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo sent greetings to his Ukrainian counterpart on the occasion of Ukraine’s Independence Day.

Meanwhile earlier this month, the Philippine Department of National Defense said it had begun the process of terminating a 12.7 billion peso (U.S. $226.5 million) contract to buy 16 Russian-made Mil Mi-17 helicopters under a deal where Moscow agreed to include a 17th one at no extra cost. 

Dropping the deal was not due to pressure from Washington, the government said, although Manila’s envoy had said that U.S.-led sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine could also lead to sanctions against countries that do business with and trade with Moscow.

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