EU laments losing ‘battle of narratives’ on Ukraine
The ‘Global South’ won’t join the West in its punitive action against Russia, the EU’s top diplomat said
Many G20 diplomats are more concerned with their own national interests than punishing Russia with economic sanctions for attacking Ukraine, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said. He claimed the West was being accused of double standards and had failed to win a “battle of narratives” in relation to Ukraine.
“The global battle of narratives is in full swing and, for now, we are not winning,” Borrell remarked on Sunday in a blog post describing his participation in last week’s meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Indonesia. The solution, he said, is to “engage further to refute Russian lies and war propaganda.”
Some G20 diplomats, Borrell lamented, were more concerned about “the consequences of the war for themselves” than in going after the supposed culprit.
Others “complain about ‘double standards’ or simply want to preserve their good bilateral relationship with Russia.”
He said G20 ministers from the “Global South” agreed in principle with the goal of protecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, but declined to support the Western response. The anti-Russian campaign led by the US involves arming Ukraine with increasingly heavy weapons, and sanctioning Russia with the expectation that it will cave in to pressure due to military and economic damage. Washington has declared a “strategic defeat” of Moscow as its ultimate goal in Ukraine.
Russia said its military operation was a matter of national security and would be continued. Sanctions have so far failed to trigger a collapse of the Russian economy, contrary to what some Western politicians had hoped for.
Borrell reiterated claims that Russia was responsible for surging global energy and food prices – which Moscow denies – and stated that use of force should not be normalized or tolerated.
The surge in energy prices has reportedly allowed Moscow to rake in record revenues from oil trade with nations like China and India.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.