Tag: <span>Russian Federation</span>

nuclear weapon saber rattling Appeals

Saber Rattling With Nuclear Weapons.

Featured Image: During the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (via videoconference). By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
On 21 September, the United Nations designated Day of Peace, Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation in an address to the nations said:

” I am addressing you – all citizens of our country, people of different generations, ages and ethnicities, the people of our great Motherland, all who are united by the great historical Russia, soldiers, officers and volunteers who are fighting on the frontline and doing their combat duty, our brothers and sisters in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporazhye regions and other areas that have been liberated from the neo-Nazi regime.” 

He set out the dangers facing the Federation.

“The goal of that part of the West is to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country.  They are saying openly now that in 1991 they managed to split up the Soviet Union and now is the time to do the same to Russia, which must be divided into numerous regions that would be at deadly feud with each other… Washington, London and Brussels are openly encouraging Kiev to move hostilities to our territory.  They openly say that Russia must be defeated on the battlefield by any means, and subsequently deprived of political, economic, cultural and any other sovereignty and ransacked.”

 
      To meet these challenges he ordered a:

” partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation to defend our Motherland and its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the safety of our people and people in the liberated territories.”

 

 
Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defense Minister, set out the details in a public statement just after Putin’s address.  The mobilization will call up men below the age of 65 who have had military service.  There are some 300,000 people in this category.
     The nuclear saber rattling followed.  Putin went on:

” I am referring to the statements made by some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction –  nuclear weapons against Russia… In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our peole, we will certinaly use all weapon systems available to us.  This is not a bluff.” 

He ended by saying:

“The citizens of Russia can rest assured that the territorial integrity of our Motherland, our independence and freedom will be defended – I repeat – by all the systems available to us.”

Sergei Shoigu
    Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the opening ceremony of the international military-technical forum “Army-2021” and the International Army Games – 2021. By Пресс-служба Президента РФ, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
 
What makes the current situation more ambiguous and dangerous is that Vladimir Putin announced and confirmed by Sergei Shoigu that from 23 to 27 September 2022, there would be referendums in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and in the areas under Russian control in the Kherson and Zaporazhye regions on joining the Russian Federation.
People who are refugees in Russia from these areas will also be able to vote. A vote favorable to joining Russia is not in doubt.  Thus any future military operations by Ukraine forces in these areas could be considered by Russia as an attack on Russian territory.
     It is impossible to know to what extent the nuclear weapon saber rattling is serious, if it goes beyond a justification for the mobilization of former military – not a popular policy.  The situation calls for active efforts to decrease tensions on the part of the U.N. of national governments and of NGOs.  The next weeks may be crucial.
 
  René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Nuclear Weapons Appeals

Dark Clouds and Little Light at the Nuclear-Weapon Non-Proliferation…

Featured Image Photo by  Egor MyznikUnsplash.

After late night negotiations; the every-five-year Review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; (The NPT Review) failed to reach a consensus on a final statement this past Friday.  The terms of the Review require a consensus and not a majority-minority vote.  This is not the first time that a NPT Review has failed to reach a consensus on a final documen; but the failure is an indication of strong tensions among nuclear-weapon states – in particular over the Russian Federation armed conflict in Ukraine.

151 States participated in the Review held at the United Nations in New York; however the Review is not a U.N. conference, thus the consensus rules of procedure.  There were 160 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accredited to participate in the Review.  I had chaired the NGO representatives at the first Review in 1975 held in Geneva, and also chaired the NGOs at the 1980 Review.  We were fewer then.  However getting consensus among NGOs is nearly as difficult as among States.  The impact of NGOs depends to a large part on preparation before the Review and follows up after.

The Treaty was negotiated in Geneva during a 10-year period with frequent consultations between the negotiators and the Foreign Ministries.  Many negotiators of non-nuclear-weapon States considered the treaty as uneven or unfair, giving a superior position to the five official nuclear-weapon States: China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S.A. In “compensation” there is a crucial Article VI in which the nuclear-weapon States agree:

“to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” 

NGOs have cited Article VI at each Review deploring the lack of progress toward nuclear disarmament or any other type of disarmament.

Dark clouds hung over this Review with the statements of the Russian authorities on 24 February and again on 27 April threatening that nuclear weapons might be used if its forces in Ukraine were menaced.  As a reply, the States party to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons issued a 23 June consensus statement stating that:

“any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is a violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations” and condemned “unequivocally any and all nuclear threats, whether they be explicit or implicit and irrespective of the circumstances.”

It is certain that the shadows of nuclear weapons exist in the thinking of some governments. The State of Palestine participated in the Review but not the State of Israel.  The Republic of Korea was there but not North Korea.  There is a need to deal both with regional tensions such as those of the Middle East or the two Koreas as well as the nuclear-weapon stockpile of the U.S.A. and the Russian Federation.  There are some possibilities of “Track II” – informal diplomacy – concerning the Middle East and the Koreas.  However there is less concerning U.S. and Russian nuclear policy where NGOs have made proposals for as long as I can remember but with little visible impact.  Yet the challenge is there.  The coming together of such a large number of NGO representatives may help build a platform for NGO consensus and action.

Korean Peace

Korean Peace Memorial By John Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. 

Korean Peace Treaty Awaits: NGO Efforts Needed.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Moldova Appeals

Dangers and Conflict Resolution Efforts in Moldova.

Featured Image: Official visit of the President of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu to Kyiv, January 12, 2021. Meeting with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi. By President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Recent statements by Russian military authorities; such as General Roustan Minnekaiev involved in the Ukraine conflict have drawn attention to what was often considered as a “frozen conflict” in Moldova.  The situation of the Transnistrian region in Moldova has been considered as a frozen conflict due to its unresolved; but static condition since the violent confrontation in June 1992.

Transnistria is de facto independent with many state-like attibutes; and calls itself officially the Moldovian Republic of Dniestr.  However; no other state, including the Russian Federation has recognized it as an independent state.  There are, however; some 1500 Russian military permanently present in Transnistria.  Transnistria had some 706, 000 inhabitants in 1991 at the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union. 

Today, there are some 450,000 – probably less.  Many, especially young people, have left to study or work abroad.  Many in Transnistria have Russian passports in order to travel.  The Transnistrian economy is in the hands of a small number of persons closely linked to the government.

There have been a number of negotiations between representatives of the government of Moldova; and those of the government of Transnistria; but which have led to no agreement as to a possible reintegration of Transnistria.  Official negotiations have been complemented by Track II  efforts; informal discussions in which members of civil society also participated.  The newly elected, in November 2020; President of Moldova Ms Maia Sandu has been actively speaking of the reintegration of Transnistria into Moldova.  Her position has been strongly supported by the government of Ukraine; which sees the parallel with their situation concerning the two People’s Republics: the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk.

Republic of Donetsk and Republic of Luhansk

Return of released citizens to the territory controlled by Ukraine, December 29, 2019. By President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

You might interest read: Vital Autonomy for the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk. The Way Ahead.

There is a danger that the frozen conflict of Moldova begins to melt.  Russian military authorities involved in the Ukraine conflict have spoken of a possible creation of a land route between Crimea and Transnistria.  In adddition; there have been recently a number of rocket attacks; possibly by Ukraining forces; on to Transnistria damaging radio-TV towers used by Russian broadcasting.  While it is unlikely that the fighting in Ukraine spreads to Transnistria and Moldova; the situation must be closely watched and preventive discussions put into place.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Ukraine Appeals

Saber Rattling Along the Frontiers of Ukraine

Photo by  jorono in Pixabay

By Rene Wadlow.

16 Apr 2021 – The meeting today in Paris of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the French President Emmanuel Macron highlights the tensions between Ukraine, the separatist regions of Donbass and Luhansk and the Russian Federation.  France and Germany are the lead mediators in what is called the “Normandy Initiative” for resolution of the Ukraine-Donbass-Russia conflict.

Tensions have grown recently with increased violence along the lines of contact between Ukraine and Donbass and the increased number of Russian troops along the frontier. It is likely that the change in presidential administration in the U.S.A. is one aspect of this increase in tensions.  Both the U.S.A. and Russia want to remind each other that they are there. In the background is the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO which obviously Russia wants to avoid. Also in the background is the Ukrainian government’s recent approval of a “Strategy for Deoccupation and Reintegration of Crimea” and its Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

While it is unlikely that there will be an escalation of violence with an entry of Russian troops into Ukraine or the reverse, an attack on Russian soil, saber rattling can get out of hand and lead to unforeseen consequences.

The question which faces us as peace-builders is “What can we do?” to help reduce these tensions. The Association of World Citizens sent this past week an Appeal for increased mediation efforts to the authorities of the Normandy Initiative, France and Germany. It is certain that the French and German diplomats are already aware of the dangers of the situation, but it is useful that non-governmental voices be heard.  Are there avenues for Track II exchanges or non-governmental mediation efforts?  Related areas of tension are also in flux: Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh.  We need to see what doors might open, and what we can usefully propose.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 19 Apr 2021.

René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

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The Phantom Republics Appeals

Nagorno-Karabakh: A Phantom Republic Takes Center Stage

Photo by Sarin Aventisian on Unsplash

From bitter searching of the heart
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part.
This is the faith from which we start
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.
— Frank Scott (1899-1985)

9 Oct 2020 – The Phantom Republics;  is the name given to the States demanding the status of independence;  after the breakup of the Soviet Union: Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, Transnistea in Moldova, and Nagorno-Karabakh;  between Azerbaijan and Armenia.  The conflicts in Georgia and Moldova are now “frozen”; but they can “melt” at any time.  One might add the Donbass and Luhansk of Ukraine to the list  although the aims of the “separatists”;  are not fully clear: an autonomous status within Ukraine;  integration into the Russian Federation;  or an independent state.

The Association of World Citizens  had in a 14 April 2014 message;  to the Secretary General of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe;  welcomed the serious consideration of federalist  government structures for Ukraine;  being proposed both by the then President of Ukraine;   in a 13 April 2014 statement;  and by the authorities of the Russian Federation. Since then the conflict has been “frozen”;  and no new advances have been made on constitutional structures.

As fighting has resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan;  the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has moved to center stage.

Package Deal.

As a first step toward a resolution of the conflicts in Georgia, Moldova and Nagorno-Karabakh;  is to have the Phantom Republics be given membership  within the United Nations;  so that their representatives could speak for themselves: Abkahazia, South Ossetia, Transnistra and the Republic of Artsakh;  the name given by the Armenian leadership to the Nagorno-Karabakh area.  In the Association of World Citizens’ proposal;  security would start with a “package deal” for the four entities.  Once recognized through U.N. membership;  it will be up to each of the Phantom Republics to create economic, social and political ties with its neighbors.

There are obviously oppositions;  to recognition of each of these states as independent members of the U.N;  in particular opposition from the state of which they were once a part.  Nevertheless;  such a package deal resembles earlier package deals for U.N. membership;  when countries had been blocked by Cold War tensions.  U.N. membership grants recognition of being part of the international community.

Breaking out of Thinking in Fixed Patterns.

To find mutually acceptable forms of government in these conflicts;  will require political creativity (breaking out of thinking in fixed patterns);  and then new forms of constitutional order;  such as renewed forms of con-federal types of government;  greater popular participation in decision making;  and new forms of protection of minorities.

Flexibility;  compromise and cooperation are the hallmarks of success;  when it comes to resolving conflicts concerning independence and autonomy.  There is a need for a healing of past animosities;  and a growth of wider loyalties.  Thus;  there is a need to create what has been called a “dialogic community” – a group of people who are concerned with intra-state conflicts;  who stress non-violent strategies of conflict resolution and associative methods of problem solving. These are people with political imagination;  who are willing to think about new institutions, practices, and ways of  life.  Today;  we are in a race between those who would create such a “dialogic community”;  and those who would use ethnic identity and ethnic myths to mobilize for narrow aims.

Thus;  the Phantom Republics can join the U.N. to sit along with such small U.N. members as Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco and San Marino – states born with the restructuring of feudal Europe.  It may take some time to turn Abkhazia into a Black Sea Monaco;  but inevitably, for economic and social reasons;  neighboring states learn to cooperate if they are not able to destroy by war.

 

René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens;  an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC;  the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues.

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