MOHAMED: Russia-Ukraine conflict and new geo-political realities

The influence conflict by US, Russia and China is opening an immense opportunity and interest in Africa.

In Summary

• The war, which I condemn as it is an invasion of a sovereign state, can not escape the West’s role in escalating it

• The US did not also do justice to themselves by engaging in unproductive foreign policy of aggression towards Russia and China at the same time.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Image: FILE

The Russia-Ukraine conflict that is now over slightly a year old has brought to fore what major world powers were silently fighting over.

The war, which I condemn as it is an invasion of a sovereign state, can also not escape the West’s role in escalating it, ignoring all the warnings from Russia not to expand NATO towards its borders.

The West led by the US engineered a coup in 2014 and overthrew democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, who was friendly to Russia, from power.

Russia then annexed Crimea and the major Russian-speaking population majorly in the Donbas region took up arms and started seeking internal independence or autonomy.

Various peace initiatives such as Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 were undertaken and temporarily brought some peace in the region. The West still doubled down to assist Ukraine in building a powerful army, major defences, training and equipment’s to enable them crush the rebellion.

In an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted the Minsk agreements were an "attempt to give Ukraine time" and that Kyiv had used it "to become stronger."

This has also been publicly acknowledged by former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and French's François Hollande at different times. 


The West lead by US seems to be outmatched by Russia in the diplomatic sphere. The West main undoing is its bullying tactic, which is no longer appealing to the world.

The last US-Africa summit did not end with tangible takeaways as agenda for the meeting was not shared with African government in advance and their opinion sought. Some participants said it was a one-sided meeting, where the US read its agenda and resolutions expecting outright compliance, which should not have been the case.

The Americans — who are the leaders of the unipolar world and want to remain so at all costs —did not also do justice to themselves by engaging in unproductive foreign policy of aggression towards major military and economic powers (Russia and China) at the same time.

All along, their foreign policy was to ensure that Russia and China are not in the same boat or even remain enemies.

The two states have now been brought together through a marriage of convenience due to America's - and the West in general -  aggressive attitude towards them. The current Russia-China relations can only be equated  to 1957, when Mao Zedong was in power.


Following the unprecedented sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, the West and many others expected the Russian economy to crumble.

Against all odds, while the Russian economy took a slight dip in the initial stages, it quickly quickly recovered. Currently the Russian rubble is among the strongest currencies in the world. The Russian economy is also projected to grow as per IMF predictions when the West’s major economies have either stagnated or in decline.

The major sanctions also affected the European industrial base as a result of the lack of Russian cheap energy. Major industries, some more than a country old, have closed shop, while others are contemplating relocating to the US, where the energy situation is not too bad as compared to Europe. There also cases of bank closures in the US and Europe. So far no bank closures have been reported in Russia and China.

The sanctions have even led closer collaboration between the many countries sanctioned by the West.

The Saudi-Iran rapprochement negotiated by China is a diplomatic boast for Beijing. It would not be a wonder if Russia is working on normalisation of ties between Syria and Saudi Arabia. Yemen is also not out of the agenda.


As a result of weaponization of the world resource currency (the dollar) and the Swift system, some countries, among them Russia, China and Iran, including others in the Gulf, Africa and Latin America, are getting away from the dollar.

Russian News Agency Tass last week quoted President Vladimir Putin saying,"We would use the dollar, but they do not let us ... How can we make payments? In a currency that is acceptable to our partners. The yuan is one of these currencies, especially since it is used by the International Monetary Fund."

Brazil and China have signed agreements to use their local currencies to trade ignoring the dollar. UAE has sold its first consignment of LNG to China using a French firm using the Yuan as the mode of payment. Russia is also conducting its trade using the Yuan and the Rubble.

The ‘’Yuan is slowly becoming the alternative currency and although the dollar will not disappear easily, the completion itself is enough to weaken the dollar.

This will lead to  the multi-polarity that the Chinese and Russians were advocating and working on.


The influence conflict by the three major powers — US, Russia and China — is opening up an immense opportunity and interest in Africa.

Africa is a resource rich continent with plenty of human resource that’s leading to this renewed interest not forgetting the geopolitical realignments and support in global bodies such as the UN and other agencies.

In the Kenyan context, to benefit from this competition by major powers, its paramount to be politically stable. Instability reduces our competitiveness and investor confidence in our nation. It’s the role of the current administration to figure out how to achieve that.

Secondly, its preferable for Kenya to take the India-like stand. Work with all major powers. The West, Russia and China and do business with them. Also take a neutral position on global matters without aligning with any major global power.

However, all signs show the tide is in favor of the East.

Nassir Mohamed is a master’s student in diplomacy and international relations and CECM for Roads, Transport and Public Works, Garissa county

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