'Upholding the same universal principles' is essential to humanity

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(Photo: Envato Elements)
Three weeks after Russia launched its brutal invasion, violence is raging in Ukraine. Three million people have already been forced to flee. France and Germany are united in their condemnation of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well as the use of Belarusian territory as a launching pad, with the agreement of the Lukashenko regime. اضافة اعلان

This unjustified attack against a sovereign country is simply intolerable, and constitutes a gross violation of international law. It violates at least a dozen international and bilateral treaties, beginning with the UN Charter, the very foundation of international peace and security.

The Russian invasion is not Ukraine’s or Europe’s problem only; when the international rules-based order is threatened, it concerns us all.

In many situations where violence, oppression and injustice seem to prevail, upholding international law remains our best, and sometimes our only tool. Weakening it jeopardizes our joint ability to resolve conflicts across the world, including in the Middle East.

On many important international topics ranging from the occupied Palestinian territories to Syria, France and Germany have repeatedly called for the respect of treaties, UN resolutions and other international legal instruments, and continue to do so. The Russian aggression could set a terrible precedent for others who want to impose the law of the strongest to deny a state its political independence and to change internationally recognized borders by force. We cannot let that happen.

Members of the UN General Assembly, including Jordan, recognized this threat and therefore overwhelmingly backed Resolution ES-11/1 on March 2 demanding that Russia immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine. In order to justify and galvanize support for its military aggression, Russia and Russian state-controlled media are fabricating groundless stories trying to vilify Ukraine and NATO members. This follows a well-known pattern of manipulation already witnessed in other contexts, such as Syria, Mali or Georgia. Disinformation and distortion of facts not only undermine dialogue, they also deny people the right to access reliable information. The truth is: Ukraine has not pushed Russia into military intervention; this is a premeditated and deliberate war of choice.
Disinformation and distortion of facts not only undermine dialogue, they also deny people the right to access reliable information.
For months, Russia has built up its troops on the border of Ukraine, rejecting all offers to find a solution through peaceful diplomatic means. Kyiv is neither responsible for the massive violations of the Minsk agreements nor possesses weapons of mass destruction, as recognized by the IAEA. Parallels drawn with World War II and Nazism, as well as accusations of genocide are irresponsible, ignominious and baseless.

There is no genocide in Donbas, as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressly confirmed on February 22. Reports published by the Council of Europe, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the OSCE provide no evidence of persecution of Russian-speaking or ethnic Russian residents in Eastern Ukraine. It is the Russian-backed separatist insurrection in 2014 that has killed around 14,000 Ukrainians and wounded many more. And it is Russian air strikes that are now destroying the houses of Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Eastern Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine is also not about a supposed security threat to Russia emanating from NATO. NATO members never made a political or legally binding commitment not to accept countries beyond reunified Germany expressing their free will to join the alliance. Decisions regarding NATO membership are at the discretion of each individual applicant and the current 30 NATO allies.

It is not the prerogative of a third country to intervene in the decisions of sovereign states in this regard. Yet, President Vladimir Putin has used every means at his disposal to pressure his neighbors into unilateral commitments in an effort to rebuild Russia’s sphere of influence and block Ukraine from choosing its own path as a sovereign and independent state.

None of Russia’s fabricated excuses can justify the aggression against a sovereign state. The principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity are paramount and unanimously recognized, including by Russia. They form the cornerstone of the UN Charter.

In 1994, Moscow vowed to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and security in exchange for its denuclearization. Again, Russia broke its commitments. What is happening in Ukraine is not a clash between the Western world and Russia. It is a ruthless attempt to silence a people yearning to preserve their independence and freedom, and a cynical act to undermine and shatter international principles without which every country in the world would live in fear.

Condemning Russian aggression is not about giving priority to one conflict over another. It is about upholding the same universal principles and the right of all to live in peace, freedom and dignity.

Véronique Vouland-Aneini is ambassador of France to Jordan. Bernhard Kampmann is ambassador of Germany to Jordan.

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