Embassy decries backing on weapon supplies, sanctions.
RUSSIA’S embassy in South Africa has accused the US government of stirring tensions and prolonging the war in Ukraine after the US said it would support other countries providing weapons to Ukraine.
In response to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s announcement of supporting countries providing weapons to Ukraine, the Kremlin office in Pretoria said that the weapons supplied to Ukraine further proved that Western countries were interested in putting the lives of civilians at risk.
“Regardless of the concern expressed by Western officials over human suffering, the actions of the West suggest the exact opposite,” said Alexander Arefiev, the spokesperson for the Russian Embassy in Pretoria.
“Another interesting fact to notice in this regard is that on March 3, Russia delivered more than 30 tons of humanitarian aid to Ukrainian civilians, while the West only supplied the Kiev regime with weapons, which further pours oil on the flames of the conflict.
“Despite the Kiev regime boasting about the Ukrainian army being ‘the strongest in Europe’, after 12 days of a special military operation, it became almost completely disorganised, with some pockets of resistance remaining.
“So, from a military standpoint, there is no use in supplying them with weapons, the weapons from the West are being supplied only to prolong the conflict, the violence, to weaken Russia, and to further destabilise Ukraine,” said Arefiev.
On how Russia would respond to countries getting involved in the conflict, Arefiev said foreign mercenaries who had joined the conflict on the Kiev regime’s side were “on the wrong side of the law”.
They should know that they were putting their lives at risk, he added.
“In accordance with international humanitarian law, they are not entitled to the status of combatant, prisoner of war or any of the categories of protected persons provided for by the Geneva Conventions as per Article 47 of the Protocol Additional I to Geneva Conventions on the Protection of Victims of War.”
Reacting to questions on the effect of the sanctions against Russia, Arefiev said that the Western elites and their allies were putting the entire world economy at risk to pursue their “narrow and selfish political interests”.
“We would like to point out that the sanctions are a double-edged sword – you cannot harm someone with sanctions without harming yourself.
“This will have negative effects on not just Russia, the US, or the EU’s economies, but on the global economy as well.
“Unfortunately, today we see how the Western elites are willing to put the entire world economy at risk to pursue their narrow and selfish political interests,” said Arefiev.
Last week, the Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate-General in Durban, Jaclyn Cole, refused to comment on Blinken’s statement, except to say that the US was responding to the “unprovoked invasion of Ukraine” by Russia.
“Civilians have been killed; we have seen people protesting in many parts of the world, including Russia and Belarus.
“We are diplomatically and politically engaged with other countries, including South Africa, which has said only a peaceful diplomatic solution may end the conflict,” said Cole.
As world powers continue isolating and imposing sanctions against Russia, a civil organisation in South Africa, Democracy in Action, threw its support behind Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military operation in Ukraine.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the organisation said that it was inspired by Putin’s actions to protect Russians against Nato and Western imperialists.
“We hope one day we would find courage as Africa to wedge a fight against western imperialists who continue to colonise our motherland, continue to steal our mineral resources and continue to kill our leaders,” read the statement.