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WORLD | 23-02-2023 17:11

US, Ukrainian envoys in Argentina call on democracies to unite against Russian aggression

US Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley marks one-year anniversary of war by calling for solidarity between countries challenging Russian aggression, as Ukrainian Chargé d'affaires demands renewed agricultural and energy sanctions against Moscow.

Diplomatic envoys from the United States and Ukraine united in Buenos Aires on Thursday to condemn Russia’s invasion of the Eastern European nation and denounce Vladimir Putin’s “lies” about the ongoing conflict.

Speaking a day before the first anniversary of the invasion, United States Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley hit out at the Kremlin and called for solidarity between countries to tackle Russian aggression. He went on to commend President Alberto Fernández’s government for its diplomatic stances against Moscow, though he said that more could be done.

“Argentina has correctly, in my view, taken tough votes in the UN system to call out Russian aggression and stand up for Ukraine. As Russia continues its brutal war of choice, more is needed. Democratic governments must stand together to uphold democratic values and human rights,” he stated.

Stanley’s speech, delivered at the central headquarters of Instituto Cultural Argentino NorteAmericano, or the North American Cultural Institute of Argentina, came after the envoy had unveiled an exhibit of photographs highlighting the resilience of Ukrainians throughout the year-long war.

Stanley argued that denouncements of what he called Putin’s lies –– including a recent statement in which he referred to Ukrainians as “neo-Nazis” –– are of critical importance. “It's incumbent on both of our leadership of our governments to let people know that this is BS,” he declared.

In Latin America, with such distance from the conflict, Stanley stressed the value of educating populations about the war. 

“I can't tell Argentina what to do, but I would love to see Zelensky address legislatures in Argentina and Brazil and other countries in Latin America so that there's a nexus, you know, sometimes people feel isolated in South America. And I think that Ukraine, and the rest of us could bring this home to the peoples of Latin America as they understand,” he said.

Still, he commended Argentina for “setting the standard in Latin America for standing up against bullies” and “showing leadership in condemning Russia time after time.”  

The ambassador also commented on recents remarks made by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who expressed a desire to tour the region next month.

“I can tell you that he would not be well received in this country, because he's got blood on his hands,” Stanley assured. “I just hope countries not only in Latin America, but around the world, don't fall for this cynical attempt to try to legitimise the bad acts that Russia is engaging in.” Argentine officials have not commented on a potential visit by the Russian official to Buenos Aires.

 

Sanctions and aid

Sergei Nebrat, the chargé d'affaires of the Embassy of Ukraine in Buenos Aires, was more specific in his requests from Fernández’s government. He directly called for Argentina to be the first Latin American country to provide sanctions against Russia, specifying agricultural and energy embargos against the Eurasian continent. 

Nebrat also suggested Argentina send monetary aid to Ukraine, though he conceded the difficulty of closing the Russian Embassy in Argentina, pointing to European countries who have cancelled many diplomatic visas for Russian diplomats.

Ukraine, he said, is not only fighting to “defend our houses, our friends, and for our own land,” but also for all countries. Describing the conflict as an “imperialist war,” Nebrat said his country needs the support of all democracies to maintain democracy across the world.

He thanked the support of allies in Europe, the United States and Argentina, as well as that of the Ukrainian community in Argentina that numbers upwards of 400,000.

The Ukrainian community in Argentina will mobilise for a march on the Russian Embassy in Buenos Aires tomorrow to mark the first anniversary of the conflict in Eastern Europe. 

Erica Davis

Erica Davis

Reporter for the BA Times

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