The European Union delegation has urged Uganda to decide which side it supports in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
The war that has escalated the world’s economic crisis started in February and has raged till now, creating turmoil in food and energy markets and further raising high food prices. The two countries are leaders in the production of wheat, oil, and sunflower seeds.
Unlike many countries in the world, Uganda opted for a non-partisan approach, standing among the 17 countries that abstained on a United Nations resolution condemning the Russian invasion, which was supported by 141 out of 193 countries. Uganda was also among the African countries visited by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
At a joint press conference on Wednesday, President Yoweri Museveni defended the country’s relationship with Russia. “How can we be against somebody who has never harmed us?” Museveni asked. If Russia makes mistakes, we tell them, “Museveni said, citing his participation in student demonstrations against the crushing of the Prague Spring by the Soviet Union in 1968. “But when they have not made a mistake, we cannot be against them,” he added.
But Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, the head of the European Union delegation to Uganda, said that Russia’s invasion was an unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine that is threatening the peace and unity of the European continent, adding that coercion has no place in the 21st century.
He added that this crisis has come with a high cost to humanity, with lives lost, large refugee numbers, international economic disruption, as well as agricultural and fuel supply shortages. According to Pacifici, this was the aggression of one country by another, and it has to be condemned by all peace-loving humans, and that is what is expected of Uganda.
His message was delivered by the Belgian Ambassador to Uganda, Rudi Veestraeten.
The Ambassador made these remarks while officiating at the pre-departure event of 13 Ugandans who are heading to different European countries to further their academic careers through the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree programme. The first countries to host this year’s group of students are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Jotham Maitum, who was awarded a scholarship to study for a Master’s in European Forestry, says he applied several times for the scholarship but finally succeeded last year, adding that he did a lot to see to it that he won the scholarship.
Maitum says that this is an opportunity for him to grow professionally with these international skills at an international standard and will help him improve forestry in the country.