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During the week in which the Ukraine war clocked one full year, the European Council was scrambling for whatever the left-overs in their sanctions basket, and could not agree on what more there still is to throw at Russia. The first anniversary had been planned to coincide with the announcement by the EU of the tenth batch of economic sanctions to cripple Russia. However, having unleashed a barrage of the top-end list of punitive sanctions against Moscow over the past year, the headache for the EU appears to be ‘what more’?

They have imposed every possible major sanction against Russia, and yet, week in and week out, the Kremlin seems to continue undisturbed with their ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine. And the Russian economy is stronger today than it was before the war.


The Europeans no longer know which weapon to sharpen and use against the resilient Russians. They are scraping the barrel. Among the international highlights of this week was - in a prominent show of force – the US President Joe Biden landing in Kyiv, unannounced to ramp up support for the Ukraine military and other fighters, and to boost the spirit of President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Cabinet in tow.

But back home President Biden had left an outcry and a backlash over his apparent indifference to the catastrophe in the State of Ohio, where a train derailed at the beginning of this month and the sitting president was yet to visit the horror scene. A Norfolk Southern freight train travelling from Illinois to Pennsylvania sparked a massive fire and triggered evacuations of thousands of residents after it had derailed.

There is still fear of a toxic gas release and/or explosion. The fire chief’s immediate appeal to a few hundred residents who are reluctant to pack up and go, is straightforward: ‘Leave now.’ Biden and the ruling democratic party stand accused of ignoring the plight of the Ohio citizens.

The Biden administration is obsessed with making America great again – overseas – at the expense of pressing domestic matters. By all accounts, the legacy that President Biden seems determined to build is crystal clear: To reconfigure NATO into no longer a defensive alliance, but an offensive one that will expand eastward to the doorsteps of both Russia and China. The US-led NATO, with the blind support of the EU, is determined to redraw the terms of geopolitical engagement along their clearly defined lines of ‘a rules-based world order’.

No wonder that a full year since the Ukraine war broke out, the US would rather lead the way for the wealthy nations of the global north to continue pumping funds into Ukraine’s bottomless pit in a sly endeavour to tire the Russians, who themselves are prepared to stay in the battlefield until their security concerns are addressed by the west.

None in the western talks of a possible truce, no matter how distant that truce might be, at least to give peace a chance. Instead, they play a blame game, pontificating at the Kremlin all the time without placing on the table their ideas or plans of how the war can be ended. Right now, the cost of living is glaringly unbearable in the capitals that have become havens for war-mongering.  


It is a frightening scenario that the world is faced with. Multilateralism is surely dying, if not technically dead already. How else does one come to terms with the ill-timed utterances of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on marking the first anniversary of the Ukraine war? Instead of pressing the reset button, and redoubling the UN’s efforts to end the war, he went on and on with exactly the same speech that he gave last year when the war first broke out.

It is vitally important that the head of the UN should be seen to take no sides in the conflict and to provide leadership that builds, instead of sectarian destruction. Inevitably, the Ukraine war will end in negotiations, as do all wars.
Abby Makoe

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