Let’s get two things out of the way before we continue. First, Ireland has very limited room to maneuver in this Ukrainian war.
But secondly, if we don’t continue to speak out forcefully about the murderous travesties that are Russia’s terror in Ukraine, we are doomed forever.
In a powerful speech to the United Nations Security Council, Simon Coveney put that country’s position on the line with some frankness.
“Ireland is a small country. We are not a member of any military alliance – we are not a superpower. But we fought to be seated at this table and we earned the right to be here,” he told the representatives of the other 14 nations.
Of course, the old bugbear remains that the Russian invaders and their tacit ally, China, have permanent veto power in this UN policy-making body.
Nonetheless, Mr. Coveney fulfilled his obligation to take a strong Irish position in all of this. And he borrowed much from his bold move last week to visit Ukraine and share what he saw there.
The Irish minister then said that peaceful solutions to this terrible war in Ukraine cannot wait until Russia conquers the contested Donbass region.
That’s a growing realistic assumption that’s creeping into international commentary that reflects on the prospects for some sort of end to killing, which remain daunting given the likelihood of ultimately rewarding the wanton attackers.
Mr Coveney reiterated the reality – now at risk of being forgotten – that Russian President Vladimir Putin can end “this war of choice” at any time.
Despite this, Russia has launched an offensive in eastern Ukraine to consolidate its hold on the part of the country that Moscow has long targeted, he added.
“I hear the narrative from far too many quarters that peace is only possible after the fight for Donbass. I cannot accept that logic – logic that leads directly to more death, more suffering and more displacement,” Mr Coveney told members of the UN Security Council.
Mr Coveney said by contrast, despite the brutality of Russian forces against his people, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has always remained open to diplomatic solutions.
In a direct challenge to Moscow, Mr Coveney urged Putin to agree an immediate ceasefire on humanitarian grounds and then begin peace talks.
Mr Coveney insisted that despite its long history of military neutrality, that country has always wanted to work with the United Nations.
He pointed to Ireland’s efforts to secure a rotating seat on the Security Council for a temporary two-year period.
“The only weapons we have are diplomacy, dialogue, facts, collective leadership and, most importantly, a shared commitment to international law and the UN Charter,” he said.
Mr. Coveney pointed out that this war has hit the poorest of the poor around the world – from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America.
He pointed to the potential looming disasters in Palestine and Somalia, where drought has already displaced 700,000 people.
Up to seven million people have been displaced in Ukraine and five million Ukrainians have been displaced beyond their home borders, he added.
Putin and his allies will not tremble in their boots. But such things must be said.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/simon-coveney-right-to-challenge-growing-assumptions-in-un-that-vladimir-putin-can-just-seize-donbas-41568711.html Simon Coveney is right to question the growing assumption in the UN that Vladimir Putin can easily conquer Donbass