Russian Invasion of Ukraine Heralds ‘Return to the Age of Imperialism’
French President Emmanuel Macron spent much of his speech at the 77th UN General Assembly criticizing Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, which he accused of undermining the post-World War II international order and intensifying humanity around the world crisis of ideology.
“On February 24 this year, Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, undermined our collective security through acts of aggression, aggression and annexation. It deliberately violated the UN Charter and the principle of the sovereign equality of States,” Macron said.
Any country can defend Russia’s actions or remain neutral as Ukraine fights for its own survival, angering the French president.
“There are Russian troops in Ukraine, and as far as I know, there are no Ukrainian troops in Russia,” he said, scoffing at the notion of reciprocity between the two combatants.
Macron said the Russian invasion “paved the way for other wars of annexation in Europe today, maybe tomorrow in Asia, Africa or Latin America”.
He warned that if Russia claimed victory, a “return to imperialism and colonialism” could be imminent.
Macron defended military support from Western countries to Ukraine so the Ukrainian people could “enjoy their legitimate defense rights and assert their sovereignty”.
Instead, he said Russian officials should not “go free” for “war crimes committed in Ukraine.”
Macron urged Russia to reach a peace deal as soon as possible and allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to protect security measures such as Ukraine’s nuclear power plant until the end of hostilities.
“Russia must now see that it cannot impose its will militarily, even in the presence of fake referendums in bombed and occupied territories. Council members have a duty to say this loudly and clearly, with members of the General Assembly supporting us On the road to peace.” Ukraine passed a referendum as a consolation prize after failing to overthrow the Ukrainian government.
One of the few nuances in his one-sided criticism of Moscow was his concession that Ukraine must come to the negotiating table and make serious efforts to achieve a lasting peace.
“Negotiations are only possible if sovereign Ukraine wants to negotiate and Russia accepts it in good faith,” he said.
Macron is furious at countries that have made the “historic mistake” of remaining neutral about the Russian invasion – a criticism that appears to be aimed primarily at China. He did not name Beijing, but much of his disdain for neutrality involved relaying statements from Chinese officials.
“There is a risk of dividing the world here because of the direct and indirect effects of the conflict,” he argues. “Those who remain silent today are complicit in the cause of the new imperialism, the new order.”
“Who here can defend the invasion of Ukraine as a reason not to sanction? Who among you here would have imagined that something similar could happen to you one day, with a stronger neighbor? Will the rest of the world remain silent? Who can say that this is the most Good solution? Who can believe that Russia just needs to win this war and we can move on? No one can,” he scoffed.
Macron pointed to Russia’s attack on Ukraine as an example of a dangerous “hybrid modern war” that “uses energy prices, food insecurity, nuclear security, access to information and population movements as weapons of division and destruction.”
Macron warned that in places such as Pakistan, the Horn of Africa, Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan and Afghanistan, the suffering caused by natural disasters has been greatly exacerbated by economic losses and supply disruptions caused by the Russian invasion.
“The famine is coming back,” he said, angered by Russia’s meddling in food shipments and weakening the European economy at a time when Europe needs capital, energy and fuel to help the developing world.
Like almost every speaker at the convention, Macron turned to climate change and demanded more funding and international cooperation, with a long list of programs that France enthusiastically supported. Unlike most others, he is willing to offer some criticism of China’s greedy use of coal power.
Macron said that China and “emerging powers” – mainly composed of China’s client countries in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – must “take a clear decision” to ditch coal power at the COP21 climate conference. BRI “infrastructure” projects include a large number of coal-fired power plants in developing countries.
Macron, on the other hand, insists that “rich countries” must make more sacrifices to give regions such as sub-Saharan Africa time to develop their own power generation capacity, even if the project includes some greenhouse gas emissions. He also called on developed countries to make their expensively developed “renewable energy” technologies available to developing countries.