Why are some nations neutral on the Russia-Ukraine war?

Brussels, Belgium – EU officials prepare to meet on Thursday in Brussels, where they are expected to Grant EU candidacy status To Ukraine in a sense of solidarity in the midst of conflict with Russia.

At the same time, the bloc is a global lobbyist to boost support for Kyiv, with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Finnish President Sanna Marin and other European leaders visiting South Asia – namely India. running the campaign. AfricaAsia Pacific and Middle East.

New trade deals are signed and more humanitarian and financial aid given MortgageIn an effort to support some of these nations to reduce their dependence on Russia.

But speaking at the GLOBSEC forum in Bratislava earlier this month, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Europe must break out of the mindset that its problems are the world’s problems.

“The world may not be as Eurocentric as it used to be,” he said.

“If I were to take Europe collectively, which has been silent on many things alone, for example in Asia, you might ask why anyone in Asia would trust Europe on anything,” he said.

According to Vivek Mishra, Fellow of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi, “Eurocentrism has been challenged in academia on several occasions, but perhaps for the first time by a prominent Indian policy maker on the European field.”

He told Al Jazeera that Jaishankar’s comments were “in line with the EU’s transition from transatlantic to Indo-Pacific and underscore the idea that Asian problems are as important anywhere in the world”.

He continued: “There cannot be a comparative advantage for Europe or the West on Asia or Asian matters. There is a colonial hue, which needs to be ironed out.”

of India balancing act The EU has been careful to appease both Russia and the West, but in April in New Delhi, von der Leyen repeated The dangers of war in Ukraine at a press conference.

“Result” [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war will not only determine the future of Europe but will deeply affect the Indo-Pacific region and the rest of the world. As important as Europe is for the Indo-Pacific, it is important to respect borders. And that sphere of influence is rejected. We seek a positive outlook for a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

At that time, the European Union had established a Joint Trade and Technology Council with India with the aim of strengthening economic and strategic ties with the country.

But India continues its performance neutral stance Towards Russia.

The African Union has also not bought into the EU lobbying efforts to isolate Russia.

Concerned about the global food crisis, in a recent meeting with EU leaders, Senegal’s President and African Union (AU) President Mackie Sall said the bloc’s sanctions on Russia had reduced imports of grain and fertilizers to Africa. had threatened.

In an interview with the French weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Sal said that AU wanted to pay (for the import of grain and fertilisers) but that it was now “becoming impossible”.

“That’s why we ask the Europeans for a similar mechanism for gas and oil,” he said.

au leader too Had a meeting In early June Putin and he 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. Kierkegaard, Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, told Al Jazeera.

“The EU has certainly underestimated the fact that the resentment felt within the continent about this war and the animosity towards Russia is not shared by the rest of the world,” he said.

But Harry Nedelku, head of policy at Rasmussen Global and in charge of its Free Ukraine task force, told Al Jazeera that the responsibility lies with Russia as well.

“The Indian foreign minister’s response and the African Union’s statement also has the potential to turn the Russian narrative and reality on its head and show the victim that this is the problem,” he said.

“Russia is basically saying that the food crisis is Ukraine’s fault. But in reality the food is not going out because Russia is attacking Ukraine. Russia invades Ukraine and sends Ukrainian grain to the rest of the world.” prevented from arriving.

road ahead

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

“I have sent a letter to all African foreign affairs ministers explaining how our sanctions are being designed – how they work, who they affect, what is allowed under the sanctions,” he said. may or may not.”

He also said the EU has committed $1.06bn to address food insecurity in the Sahel, $633m to strengthen the resilience of food systems in the Horn of Africa, and $237m to urgently support mitigation of potential impacts. has promised. emerging food crisis in North Africa and the Middle East.

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

But ultimately, the West, including the European Union, has probably been more successful in consolidating an intra-West network rather than an inter-regional network with other regions of the world, according to ORF’s Misra.

“With the war still on, most countries outside the transatlantic have withdrawn the classic notion of realism that is ‘self-help’. They have been selective about which issues they can go with the West, and on which They can’t,” he said.

“Whether it was Russian energy trade, bilateral currency channels with Moscow or travel and contacts with Russia, countries acted in line with their individual interests more than upholding ethics, human rights or even expectations,” he said. is,” he said.

But Nedelku stressed that for now, the EU’s priority when lobbying globally should be to tackle the Russian narrative.

“The EU must be more proactive in explaining who is the victim and who is the aggressor. This is the only way to deal with Russia’s ability to twist the reality of circumstances and divide the world,” he said.

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