People fleeing the war in Ukraine walk towards a train which will take them to Berlin from Karkow, Poland, on March 15. Of the roughly 3 million refugees forced to leave Ukraine, more than half have crossed into neighbouring Poland. Photo: TNShttps://www.astridessed.nl/published-in-the-south-china-morning-post-eu-welcoming-of-ukrainian-refugees-in-stark-contrast-with-those-from-middle-east/
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POSTLETTERS: EU WELCOMING OF UKRAINIAN REFUGEES IN STARK CONTRAST WITH TREATMENT OF THOSE FROM
Like most people who respect international law, I condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The UN General Assembly, the US and European Union are also right to condemn the invasion. However, the EU’s hypocrisy over the tragedy also stands out.
First, its sanctions against Russia go too far. They are causing ordinary people in Russia, who have nothing to do with Vladimir Putin’s war policies, to suffer. Such collective punishment is not fair.
Even more dangerous is the fact that the EU and individual European countries are sending all sorts of military weaponry to Ukraine. This is provoking Russia and risks setting off a bigger war.
Putin’s reaction to EU sanctions has been to put his nuclear forces on high alert. This is no joke. He may also decide to turn off the gas tap to Europe, with disastrous consequences. The EU should stop putting peace at risk with such cowboy-like behaviour.
European countries have expressed their solidarity with the Ukrainian people. But while they are rightly doing everything they can to help Ukrainian refugees, what about the Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian refugees who were trapped last year between the borders of Belarus and Poland, brutally pushed back by Polish border guards and abandoned to die in the winter cold?
The EU supported Poland in “defending” its borders. The same Poland that welcomes Ukrainian refugees is at this very moment building a wall to prevent refugees from the Middle East from entering. This is inhumane and also contrary to international law.
It’s very good that the EU is condemning the Russian invasion in Ukraine, but European countries must also stop provoking Russia by sending weaponry to Ukraine and start treating refugees from the Middle East as humanely as they do the Ukrainian refugees.
Astrid Essed, Amsterdam, the Netherlands