NEW YORK — Countries that refuse to take sides in Russia’s war in Ukraine are “accomplices” to Moscow’s “new imperialism,” French President Emmanuel Macron told the The UN General Assembly delivered a passionate speech on Tuesday.
“Those who are silent today are serving – whether against their will or secretly with a certain complicity – the cause of a new imperialism,” Macron said.
In some of his strongest remarks since the start of the war, Macron said Russia’s aggression against Ukraine marked a “return to the era of imperialism and colonies” and said the world was faced with a choice between “war and peace”.
While Western allies like France have shown a united front against Russia in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, response in Africa and Asia has been more moderate.
Some countries are reluctant to condemn Russia too forcefully, a trend reflected in the vote in the UN. In April, 58 countries, including India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia, abstained in a vote on a resolution to Remove Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.
Speaking to delegates from around the world, the French president acknowledged the “sense of injustice” felt by countries affected by the effects of the war, regarding food, energy and their economies. But he also issued a strong warning to those who want to remain in a position of “neutrality.”
“I want to say things very clearly today: those who want to imitate the struggle of the nonaligned movement by refusing to express themselves clearly are making a mistake and this will bear a historic responsibility,” he said, referring to the not -linked movement during the Cold War.
In an effort to show that France is not indifferent to the impact of the conflict on poorer countries around the world, Macron also announced in his speech that France would fund the transport of Ukrainian wheat to Somalia, in conjunction with the World Food Program. of the UN.
The French president himself has been accused by critics of not wholeheartedly supporting Ukraine, over his decision to keep communications with the Kremlin open and past comments about not wanting to “humiliate” Russia during the war.
Macron told the UN he would continue his “dialogue” with Russia in an effort to “return to peace”.
CORRECTION: This article has been corrected to clarify that countries voted in April to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.