NEW YORK — Countries that refuse to take sides in Russia’s war in Ukraine are “accomplices” of Moscow’s “new imperialism,” French President Emmanuel Macron told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday in an impassioned speech.
“Those who are silent today are serving, either against their will or secretly with some complicity, the cause of a new imperialism,” Macron said.
In some of his strongest comments 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 faced a choice between “war and peace.” .
While Western allies like France have shown a united front against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, the response has been more muted in Africa and Asia.
Some countries have been reluctant to condemn Russia too strongly, a trend that has been reflected in the vote at the UN in April, 58 countries, including India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia, abstained during a vote on a resolution to exclude Russia from the UN Security Council.
Speaking to delegates from around the world, the French president acknowledged the “sense of injustice” felt by countries that have been hit by the consequences of the war, related to 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 make things very clear today: those who want to imitate the struggle of the non-aligned by refusing to express themselves clearly are making a mistake and this will carry a historic responsibility,” he said, referring to the unaligned movement during the Cold War.
In an effort to show that France is not indifferent to the impacts of the conflict on the poorest countries around the world, Macron also announced in his speech that France would finance the transport of Ukrainian wheat to Somalia, in partnership with the World Food Program. from the ONU.
The French president himself has been accused by critics of not wholeheartedly supporting Ukraine, due to his decision to keep open lines of communication with the Kremlin, as well as earlier comments about not wanting to “humiliate” Russia amid war.
Speaking at the UN, Macron said he would continue his “dialogue” with Russia in an effort to “return to peace.”