• The Russian invasion was presented as a “special operation” to protect Russian-speaking populations and to react to NATO threats.
• One year after, the Russian army is continually breaking international law and committing war crimes against the very people it claimed to defend.
On February 24, 2022 the Russian Federation made the deliberate and unjustifiable choice to launch a war against Ukraine and its territorial integrity.
Eight years after the illegal annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014, Russia President Vladimir Putin flouted the most fundamental principles of international law. By waging war against a sovereign country, Russia has set a dangerous precedent with global repercussions.
The Russian attack on Ukraine has caused immeasurable suffering on the people of Ukraine. Since February 24, last year, nearly 7,000 civillians have been killed in Ukraine, thousands more have been injured.
More than 14 million people are forcibly dispaced from their homes in Ukraine, with 7.8 million of them having sought refuge in Europe. From the first day of the conflict, the member countries of the European Union have chosen to commit themselves resolutely alongside Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. The political, military, humanitarian and financial support we provide to Ukraine is a sign of this committment.
Supporting Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity is not only helping a free people, but also defending international law, the security of the European continent, and the global consequences of the conflict, particularly on the food security of the most vulnerable.
Russia thought its military capabilities would be enough to crush the Ukrainian armed forces and discourage the country’s people. One year after, the offensive against Kyiv has been repelled, the Kharkiv region and city of Kherson have been liberated, and the Ukrainian nation is more united than ever.
Russia is politically isolated and is being singled out in most votes at the UN General Assembly, where 143 countries have condemned its illegal annexations, while five have supported them.
The Russian forces are reduced to using a deluge of fire and sacrificing large numbers of soldiers to attempt progress. We are not seeing any signs of Russian interest in entering into negotiations or putting an end to the war. Instead, Russia is staging arbitrary attacks on critical infrastructure and civilian targets in Ukraine. Russia could end this war any day by ceasing its attacks and withdrawing its troops from Ukrainian territory.
The Russian invasion was presented as a “special operation” to protect Russian-speaking populations and to react to NATO threats. One year after, the Russian army is continually breaking international law and committing war crimes against the very people it claimed to defend. The international community will do everything possible to hold Russia to account for its acts and to fight impunity.
The attack on Ukraine has strengthened the Atlantic Alliance, with Sweden and Finland having made the historic decision to join NATO. The alliance has no expansionary intentions, but European states wish to join a defensive alliance as they understandably feel threatened by Russia.
Today, Russia is politically isolated and is being singled out in most votes at the UN General Assembly, where 143 countries have condemned its illegal annexations, while five have supported them.
Among those 143 countries, Kenya, through the voice of Ambassador Martin Kimani, has condemned Russian move into Ukraine as a breached of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and of world order. Unlike Russia, we believe in the power of international law – it is our common task to enforce it and the overwhelming support for the UN General Assembly resultions condemming the Russian attack is a sign of the global support for the rule of law.
One year after the attack on Ukraine, we are still seeing the global repercussions: Destabilization of the international order and increased prices on food and energy markets. Western sanctions on Russia do not concern agricultural products, instead Western countries are taking tangible initiatives to fight the devastating consequences of the Russian war of aggression for the most vulnerable countries, particularly when it comes to food,energy and fertilizers.
With European support, Ukraine is ensuring that grain exports to Africa continue. France and Germany are important donors to the ‘Grains from Ukraine’ programme that, together with the World Food Programme, ensures Ukrainian grain donations reach the most vulnerable, notably in the Horn of Africa.
Additionally, the EU and the G7 quickly mobilized additional resources for supporting countries most at risk. Russia, on the other hand, is using food and energy insecurity as leverage in political blackmail, thereby risking to destabilize societies. We as Europe find it ever more important to continue our partnerships with African countries in the fields of health, education, agriculture and the fight against climate change.
One year after, the whole world is affected by Russian attack, no matter how far the conflict seems. The increase in energy prices, the increase in food prices concern us all. The implications of the ongoing war in Ukraine on the Kenyan economy come with disruption in value chains for some critical inputs for Kenya’s manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
This disruption in value chains has resulted in prize increases in fuel and energy, wheat and fertilizer prices which are critical inputs for Kenya’s economy. Russia alone is responsible for this, by drastically reducing these exports and by forcing Ukraine to reduce its own.
It is Russia that set up a cereal blockade and which today prides itself on seeking solutions, in the attitude of an arsonist firefighter. The attack on the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation is one on all of us who believe in the strength of the rules based international order.
Sebastian Groth is the Ambassador of Germany to Kenya, while Arnaud Suquet is Ambassador of France to Kenya