This is a comment on an OP-ED written by the British High Commissioner in Maseru, Harry McDonald in the Newsday newspaper Vol. 5 No 5.
In his article, the Commissioner airs his view on the illegality of the Russian war in Ukraine and goes on to smear Russia with mud for its continued war in the East European country. To that, I wish to react as follows:
First things first, it is apposite to set out the events that led to the involvement of Russia in the Ukraine war. The war in Ukraine started as a result of the Ukrainian Government’s refusing the cession of two separatist groups in the Luhansk and the Donbas regions, east of the country, after they held a referendum to break away from Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government then suppressed the rights of people from these two regions. In 2014, a full-blown armed conflict erupted between the separatist groups and the central government of Ukraine. Thus, the war started as what is called a Non-International Armed Conflict (NIAC) between the rebels and the government where the rebels were fighting for independence.
I wish to say this en passant¸ that the inhabitants of these two regions largely identify themselves as Russians; they speak the language as their first language.
So, let us get one thing clear, Russia did not “invade” Ukraine as it were, but merely sponsored the two rebel groups fighting for self-determination against the Ukrainian Government.
It could be gleaned from your Op-Ed that you hold the principles of the UN Charter in high regard, and self-determination is one of them. Before we are quick to judge Russia for the breach of the principles envisaged by the UN Charter, we must also condemn Ukraine for breaching them first by denying the Luhansk and Donbas regions the right to self-govern themselves.
Therefore, the war began because Ukraine disrespected the principle of the UN Charter first. But two wrongs don’t make a right.
Moving swiftly to another reason why you should not be judging Russia for the atrocities in Ukraine. Here is why. Your, as a high-ranking official in the British government, would know better than anyone in this beautiful Kingdom of ours that during Theresa May’s tenure as Prime Minister, the UK was the leading seller of arms that were used in the Syrian conflict.
Most of these weapons that were sold by your country were used by Bashir Al-Assad in his indiscriminate attacks against civilians. To put it into perspective, the British government has been making billions of pounds by selling arms to a regime that does not have regard for international law on armed conflicts at all. For TEN years. I am in a bit of an anomaly here.
It is wrong for Russia to supply troops and military weapons to rebels in Luhansk and Donbas, but there is nothing wrong when the British Government supplies the Syrian government?
I can go on and on about rebel movements that were sponsored by the British government and which were against International Law. The Libya uprising is a case in point.
In your article, you also mention the use of Africans by Russian mercenaries. My question is, when did this become a problem? I say this because it is well documented that the United States of America used Africans as mercenaries in the war against Iraq.
You will remember that in this mission, the USA was in collaboration with the British Army. I wish to mention in passing that both countries had no right to have military presence in Iraq. Your presence was not to protect Iraqis against the terror of their government but to protect your commercial interests.
You further pointed out the fact that Africans fought in World War II. You go further to say they were fighting against “those who believed only the powerful and mighty should survive.”
First of all, this was a war in which Africa had nothing to do. Secondly, whatever the outcome of the war, only the powerful and the mighty survived.
The allied powers got a larger share of the world’s natural resources and their market. So whomever had won, your statement would still be true, as it is today. In that war, which Africans had nothing to gain, we lost our grand-fathers, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, grand-mothers, mothers, sisters, daughters and aunts.
All this for global dominance. This to me sounds no less than what you termed Putin’s “foolish pride.”
Now, after all that we have given to you, you continue to take more, all the while denying immigrants from entering your shores. The same people you left in poverty, you refuse them entry in the UK.
The reason advanced for this is that the British Government cannot afford all those immigrants.
In solving the problem, the UK government made a deal with the government of Rwanda to accept illegal immigrants for a certain amount of money from your government.
How noble of you to deny people in desperate need for help and throw them to be a responsibility of a country that can barely support its own citizens. Some logic that.
Disclaimer: I wish for it to be known that I am not in away pro-Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. What I’m saying is there are people better positioned to ridicule Russia, and you and your country are not in such a position account being had to the crimes you have committed against four-quarters of the globe, and never having made reparations against those you have affected. Your crimes are even worse.
“Don’t throw a stone if you live in a house of glass.”