Mexico City, Mexico, February 28, 2022 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called for a “peaceful resolution” to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine in order to avoid a further escalation of the conflict.
“Venezuela calls for a return to the path of diplomatic understating through effective dialogue between the parties involved in the conflict to avoid escalation, reaffirming the negotiation mechanisms contemplated in the United Nations Charter, in order to preserve life, the peace of inhabitants of these countries and the stability of the region,” read the statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The stance taken by Caracas last Thursday echoes that of other leaders in Latin America who have called for dialogue and respect for international law.
Years of simmering low-intensity conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine exploded into a full-blown conflict after Russian President Vladirmir Putin ordered an incursion of Russian forces across the border as part of an effort he claimed was to “demilitarize” and “denazify” the neighboring country.
Maduro’s statement also condemned the violation of the Minsk Agreements—a series of international agreements aimed at ending the armed conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine—calling NATO’s handling of the accords a “mockery” and that their “derailment” constituted a violation of international law.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia likewise called for a diplomatic solution to the conflict but rejected “illegal” sanctions aimed at “debilitating” Russia, a close Venezuelan ally. Caracas and Moscow strengthened their bilateral ties following a visit by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov last month.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Juan Gonzalez stated that wide-reaching sanctions levied against Russia in recent days would "by design" impact countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.
Venezuelan grassroots activist and National Assembly Deputy for Caracas Oliver Rivas told Venezuelanalysis that the response by the US, European Union (EU), and NATO countries to the conflict in Ukraine marked a “turning point” in global politics.
“Of course the US, EU, NATO are seeking to and will indirectly impact Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and any ally of Russia [through a sanctions regime]. The situation in Russia represents at this moment, beyond its own interests as a State, a rupture, a turning point in the strategy of imperialism led by the US and allies,” said Rivas.
The Biden administration and its European allies have sought to punish Russia over its military incursion by blocking access to its foreign currency reserves and limiting some Russian banks from SWIFT, a banking infrastructure that facilitates international financial transactions.
Experts have warned that the measure could ultimately actually serve to boost the development of a system parallel to the SWIFT service that is not beholden to the US and EU.
“Both Russia and China have generated alternative mechanisms of economic resistance, such as interbank payment systems outside SWIFT. Insofar as imperialism intensifies its violence, it only ends up pushing the very hegemony of the dollar in the world and the monopolies that NATO represents off a cliff,” Rivas went on to tell Venezuelanalysis.
The US also issued sanctions on Russia’s central bank, an unprecedented move that has never been applied to a nuclear power and in tandem with other sanctions could provoke a currency crisis, which would threaten to further escalate the conflict. The move blocks US citizens from engaging in any transactions involving Russia's central bank, finance ministry or national wealth fund.
However, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell confessed that the EU could not block the reserves of Russia or China and that Russia had been placing its reserves in countries where the EU could not interfere.
The EU announced that the 27-nation bloc would purchase and supply weapons to Ukraine, making it an indirect actor in the conflict. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Putin warned the move would be “dangerous and destabilizing” and could result in "dangerous consequences" over the long term.
Rivas argued that the response to the crisis by the US and EU “demonstrates not only their economic but also ideological decline and therefore political and military, compared to other emerging poles.”
With additional reporting and editing by Ricardo Vaz in Caracas.