Far from G-7, non-Western powers seek peace in Ukraine
But tough questions loom. Even within the G-7 – arguably the most united major bloc on the world stage – views diverge on how distant support as Ukraine can go, or how far Russia must be defeated. Concerns surround the impending Ukrainian counter-offensive. While Western diplomats and their Ukrainian counterparts speak confidently in public of major territorial gains on the horizon, we know that US officials are more skeptical of what Ukraine can achieve on its long front with Russia. Some reports suggest that the United States has even planned an indefinite war of attrition that could one day resemble the frozen conflict dividing the Korean peninsula.
So even as like-minded G-7 allies ponder the way forward, other global players are trying to find their own solutions. Almost since the start of the full-fledged invasion of Russia in February 2022, there has been a disconnect between how the conflict is perceived in Europe and North America and in large parts of the rest of the world, where solidarity with Ukraine is a little more sparse. A narrative tension has set in: while the United States and other Western countries have vowed to arm Ukraine to the end, other countries have pushed for a cessation of hostilities and a negotiated peace.
A multitude of diplomatic initiatives have been put forward in recent months. On Wednesday, Chinese envoy Li Hui, Beijing’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, was in Kyiv, meeting with a series of senior Ukrainian officials during a two-day trip before continuing his mission in a handful of other European capitals. His visit was preceded earlier this month by Celso Amorim, special adviser for international affairs to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who touted an unaligned “peace club” to broker a truce between Russia and Ukraine. Lula also angered Washington by accusing the West of helping to fuel the conflict with its arms shipments.
The “old Europe” versus “new Europe” paradigm is back
Skeptics think these efforts are half-baked and playing into Russia’s hands. But many statesmen of the world still want to give it away. On Thursday, Vatican sources confirmed that Pope Francis is keen to send his own envoys to Moscow and kyiv. Earlier in the week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the formation of a delegation of leaders from six African countries – including his counterparts from Zambia, Senegal, the Republic of Congo, Uganda and Egypt – to meet separately with Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt “to find a peaceful solution to the devastating conflict”.
Four of those countries abstained in a UN vote last year that condemned the Russian invasion, while South Africa has been accused by US officials of proving arms and ammunition to Russia via a freighter which secretly docked at a naval base near Cape Town last December. Ramaphosa’s government denied the allegations; he maintains a neutral position vis-à-vis Ukraine, although he has deep ties to the Kremlin, in part because of years of Soviet support for the South African anti-apartheid movement.
Ukrainian officials are adamant about how they view these overtures, at present, warning that Russia was not a real interlocutor and that Putin could be trusted. “You can’t mediate with Putin,” Zelensky told Italian television last weekend after meeting the pope. “He just knows how to kill. It’s not about the Vatican, Latin America or China.
China’s initiative is arguably the most important, given Beijing’s considerable influence over Moscow. But analysts see his proposals as primarily aimed at preserving a Russian advantage and undermining Ukraine. “A total defeat of Russia does not serve Chinese interests, especially if it leads to Putin’s demise,” Bonnie Glaser, Asia program director at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, told CNBC. “Russia is an increasingly important partner for [Chinese President] Xi Jinping. No other country can help weaken American leadership in the world and revise the international order.
Brazilian Lula reaches out to China and Russia, stoking US unease
Unsurprisingly, it appears Li’s efforts in Kyiv have borne little fruit.. A statement from Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday relayed Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba’s talks with the Chinese envoy, saying he “stressed that Ukraine does not accept any proposals that would involve the loss of its territories or freezing the conflict” – two elements of China’s announced peace plan. In line, Russian missiles fell on the Ukrainian capital.
Ukrainian officials are at pains to point out that such a position does not mean that they do not want peace. “Our main goal is to resolve the war,” Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova told me on Wednesday via Zoom. “We are the most interested party when it comes to peace.” But she added that the terms of any truce between Ukraine and Russia “would not and should not be an appeasement of the aggressor”. This means a withdrawal of Russian forces from all Ukrainian territory they occupy before a political settlement.
Dzhaparova pointed to the outsized influence of Russia in many countries of the so-called Global South. She visited India last month, where she observed an “information deficit” about Ukraine, given both its geographical remoteness from South Asia and the footprint of the ” Soviet-era thought” which persuaded many of his Indian interlocutors that Ukraine and Russia were ultimately part of the same political or national entity.
“I had to really push to explain that we’re not one nation, that’s exactly why we’re having this war, which is an existential war,” she said, explaining how Putin couldn’t not accept a Ukraine that sees itself as part of the West and as a “European nation”.
Dzhaparova’s message to countries seeking to arbitrate the conflict was clear: they should “be on the right side of history,” she said, and “not support evil and not be part of that evil.” .
If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – at email@example.com The content will be deleted within 24 hours.