EU fails to turn Southeast Asian countries against Russia – SCMP

The European Union has failed to convince Southeast Asian countries to condemn Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. The draft statement prepared for the meeting of the EU and ASEAN foreign ministers, which was reviewed by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), speaks of “strong condemnation” of what is happening on Ukrainian territory, but the document does not mention Moscow.

EU fails to turn Southeast Asian countries against Russia - SCMP

According to the SCMP, the text of the document was agreed by both sides and is an almost exact copy of the December 2022 statement of the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The draft statement adds only a paragraph on the existence of “other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions”.

The 2024 document also calls on the parties to “exercise restraint in conducting any activity” in the South China Sea and “calls on all countries to avoid any unilateral action that jeopardises peace, security and stability in the region”.

“Nevertheless, Brussels intends to raise the Ukrainian issue and urge ASEAN members not to allow Russia to circumvent Western sanctions,” the publication writes.

The draft statement also contains sections on the Gaza Strip, North Korea, Afghanistan and Myanmar. The text proposed by ASEAN members calls for “a long-term ceasefire and the most effective and efficient access to humanitarian assistance … throughout Gaza.” The document calls on both parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and to “immediately and unconditionally release civilian hostages.”

“However, it is unclear whether Brussels would be willing to accept such language on an issue in which the European bloc itself is split,” the SCMP notes.

We will remind, earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to servicemen in the Vishnevsky hospital said that the Russian Federation intends to end the conflict in Ukraine, but on its own terms. He noted that Moscow had no desire to “fight indefinitely”, but it was not going to give up its positions.