Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 28, 2022

Newsline: Russia’s Ambassador Warns Long-Range U.S. Missiles at Ukraine Border ‘Intolerable’

Reacting to news reports that the U.S. is planning to send long-range rocket systems to Ukraine, a top Russian diplomat on Saturday called for an “end to the senseless and extremely risky pumping of weapons into the country.” In a post on Telegram on Saturday, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, said the Biden administration “may give Kyiv HIMARS MLRS and M270 MLRS, which will be equipped with M31 GMLRS guided missiles.” “There is a risk that such equipment will be placed near Russia’s borders and Ukrainians will be able to strike at Russian cities. Such a situation is unacceptable and intolerable for us,” he said. (https://www.newsweek.com/russia-warns-long-range-us-missiles-ukraine-border-intolerable-1711145) On Friday, news outlets reported that the Biden administration is expected to send multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) to the Eastern European nation. Ukrainian officials have requested the weapons to attack Russians at longer ranges and threaten Russian logistics hubs and routes to slow their offensive in the Donbas region. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Biden administration is expected to announce its decision to send the weapons to Ukraine next week.

Newsline: Congo summons Rwandan ambassador over alleged support for rebels

Democratic Republic of Congo has summoned Rwanda’s ambassador and suspended Rwandair flights to Congo in response to what it says is Kigali’s support for M23 rebels carrying out a military offensive in eastern Congo. (https://wsau.com/2022/05/28/congo-summons-rwandan-ambassador-over-alleged-support-for-m23-rebels/) Rwanda denies supporting the rebels, who advanced as close as 20 km (12 miles) this week to eastern Congo’s main city of Goma and briefly captured the army’s largest base in the area. Congo and U.N. investigators had also accused Kigali of supporting the M23 during a 2012-2013 insurrection that briefly captured Goma. Rwanda denied those charges. Congo’s government spokesman Patrick Muyaya announced the suspension of flights from Rwanda’s national carrier and the summoning of the ambassador late Friday night following a meeting of the national defence council. Rwanda’s government was not immediately available for comment on Saturday. The fighting over the past week has forced more than 72,000 people from their homes, the United Nations said on Friday, compounding Africa’s worst displacement crisis.

Newsline: Russia and China block UN statement on Myanmar crisis

China and Russia blocked the U.N. Security Council from issuing a statement Friday expressing concern at the violence and serious humanitarian situation in Myanmar and the “limited progress” on implementing a regional plan to restore peace to the strife-torn Southeast Asian nation, diplomats said Friday evening. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russia-and-china-block-un-statement-on-myanmar-crisis/2022/05/27/b9d872c8-de38-11ec-bc35-a91d0a94923b_story.html) The council was briefed virtually behind closed doors Friday afternoon by Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, the special envoy for Myanmar for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and U.N. envoy for Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer on efforts to resolve the crisis in the country since the Feb. 1, 2021 military coup. When the army ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, it claimed with scant evidence that the general election her party won in November 2020 in a landslide was marred by widespread fraud. The coup almost immediately sparked widespread street protests that security forces tried to crush, and continuing widespread resistance to the army’s takeover has resulted in what some U.N. experts have characterized as a civil war that is challenging the military’s ability to govern.

Newsline: India’s silent diplomacy amid Ukraine crisis allows room for strategic autonomy

India has faced some questions from the west on what is being described by some as soft-peddling on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Regardless of this, New Delhi has maintained a “cautious stance” on expressing its views on the matter but it continues to call for the cessation of violence and the path of diplomacy to end the conflict. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/india-s-silent-diplomacy-amid-ukraine-crisis-allows-room-for-strategic-autonomy/ar-AAXOne4) Against this backdrop, in an article jointly authored by academics Jagannath Panda and Eerishika Pankaj, the experts argued that India is staying true to its own policies of non-alignment and national interest needs. Panda is the head of ISDP’s (Institute for Security & Development Policy) Stockholm Center for South Asian and Indo-Pacific Affairs. Meanwhile, Eerishika Pankaj is the Director of the Organisation for Research on China & Asia (ORCA). Writing for the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), they contend that India’s silent diplomacy on Ukraine allows room to maintain its strategic autonomy and such an overture allows Russia some respite from international backlash.