UNGA President Shahid urges political solutions in Russia-Ukraine crisis

Maldivian Foreign Minister and President of the 76th UNGA, Abdulla Shahid. (Photo/Xinhua)

President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, called to find political solutions rather than military engagements to resolve conflict.

He made these statements while speaking on the Plenary debate on the situation on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.

Shahid said that if the last 76 years of the United Nations (UN) existence has taught anything, then it is that “lasting peace is not achieved, nor sustained by military engagements, but through political solutions.”

He also noted in his speech that saving generations from war was the main motivation in the creation of UN, whose founders saw two world wars by 1945.

“It is, therefore, one of the purposes of the United Nations to maintain peace and security in accordance with the rule of law,” he said.

Furthermore, the UN President said that preventing conflicts in the first place was the most effective way to “diminish human suffering and the massive economic costs of conflicts and their aftermath…”

He called on his colleagues, to deploy the tools that they have to resolve disputes.

“Let’s give priority to diplomacy, good offices and mediation. Let’s give peace all the chance it deserves.”

“Full commitment to the United Nations Charter, its purposes and principals is the only path to lasting peace.”

Moreover, he called on all parties to intensify their negotiations and deescalate the current trajectory through dialogue.

The Ukraine-Russia situation has been escalating, with Russian President Vladimir announcing a military operation in Ukraine and warning other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences you have never seen.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an emotional overnight address, speaking in Russian in a direct appeal to Russian citizens. “The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,”

“But if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.”

The Maldivian Foreign Ministry’s latest update stated that with the exception of five students, all residing in Kharkiv – the closest main city of Ukraine to the Russian border – have returned to Maldives.

In addition to the five students in Kharkiv, there are 14 other students in Ivano-Frankvisk and another student in an unnamed city.

Foreign Ministry stated that they are communicating with the students and that they are all doing well.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday, February 22, ordered to facilitate the return of students residing in Ukraine.

Ukraine-Russian crisis

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia escalated when Ukraine initiated talks to join North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In mid-December 2021, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a set of demands which included a ban on Ukraine entering NATO and a reduction of NATO troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe in order for its military forces to be withdrawn.

These demands were rejected by the United States and other allies of NATO, and also warned that if Ukraine is invaded, there will be retaliation through means such as economic sanctions, and deploying assistance including small arms and other defensive weaponry. 

The situation continues to escalate, and along with it, the fear of war. Russia has stationed a large number of military personnel and military equipment outside the borders of Ukraine as of the present.

Many countries have urged their nationals residing in Ukraine to leave the country, including the United States (US). 

Russia has repeatedly stated that they have no plans of attacking first to trigger a war. They claim that the military personnel and equipment have been stationed outside of the borders of Ukraine to defend themselves in case NATO military personnel cross Russian borders as part of US efforts to make Ukraine a member of NATO.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has stated that they will defeat Russia in case of an invasion – noting that over 2,000 tons of military equipment have been acquired by Ukraine through the US and other NATO members over the weeks.