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The Global South media on the war in Ukraine (07.04 – 14.04)

1. Perspectives on conflict resolution 

The Daily Prothom Alo, one of the most popular and influential daily newspapers in Bangladesh, published on April 13 the article “A counterattack by Ukraine would be a death trap for the US and NATO”. It is assumed in the article that Ukraine does not have resources and military equipment for a successful counter-offensive, and its very probable failure will lead to a decline pf the US and NATO global stature.  

“Ukraine is preparing a major counter-offensive by the end of the spring under the direction of the United States. The attack was planned at a time when farms and roads in Ukraine would be wet. In that case, it is not possible to drive armored vehicles over open ground. Driving them on dirt roads is really difficult“.

“Ukraine’s plan to launch a counterattack will not work for three reasons. The munitions factories are not producing new weapons required for success. Losses in manpower caused by the war have been filled with new recruits but the training of new troops is still in process. In addition, Russian troops have been fighting very effectively in recent months. In this context, if the Russians win, then the political existence of Ukraine may be endangered“.

“Even with US and NATO support, Ukraine’s counteroffensive plan will face significant obstacles. A major reason for this is that the number of Western armored vehicles and weapons in Ukraine’s nine brigades is much lower than what NATO had promised  and they were produced by different countries. Maintenance of such heterogeneous armored vehicles and military equipment is not very easy. And if something goes wrong, it’s almost impossible to repair anything on the battlefield”.

“The Biden administration is against any kind of political settlement on the Ukraine issue. There is a rumor that the Biden administration has asked the Zelensky government to show more flexibility, but this has not been confirmed. Newland and many others oppose any deal with Russia. But there are dissenters in the Biden administration. Due to the Russia-Ukraine war, NATO has also been under great pressure. NATO’s arsenal is largely depleted. In this situation, pro-Ukraine European politicians are now disillusioned with war. In addition, the Nordsteam pipeline disaster has also affected German-US relations. https://www.prothomalo.com/opinion/column/tsfw3q1y7n

(Translated from Bengali by Google Translate)

Le Quotidien d’Oran a daily French-language Algerian newspaper, headquartered in Oran, Algeria  published on April 12, the article “Far from the Ukrainian front: Tribulations of a Frenchman in China” (“Loin du front Ukrainien: Tribulations d’un Français en Chine”). Itdescribes the attempt of Macron to restore links between France and China, predicting the growth of the Chinese global influence induced by the spreading discontent with the US domination. 

“China has been regarding Europe as dependent on the US and dominated by Washington and, therefore, having very little room for maneuver. The war gave a new confirmation of that: now it seems obvious that France and Europe, both together and separately, have demonstrated their inability to act independently and increase their influence on international relations. This is why the Chinese prefer, on strategic questions, to deal directly with the principal rather than with his auxiliaries with whom they have à la carte interactions on economical issues”.

Macron tried during his three-day state visit to China to use the war in Ukraine to make Beijing show its disapproval to Russia. He did not expect Chine to state explicitly that it supports Ukraine, but he wanted it to comply with the rhetoric which cam be considered”.

“This trip seems to have led to no concrete results, limited to the signing of minor contracts or the confirmation of what had already been concluded. Moreover, it seems unlikely that at a time when Washington is urging its companies to leave China, the United States would look very favorably on the increase in French or European investments in this country, moreover to the detriment of American companies. And European countries relied upon industrial export, Germany in particular, need neither France nor the European Commission to take care of their business”. http://www.lequotidien-oran.com/index.php?news=5320301

(Translated from French by IISWU) 

2. Economic problems caused by the war in Ukraine

The Deccan Herald,  an Indian English language daily newspaper published in the state of Karnataka., published on April 11 the article “Ups and downs of global nuclear industry”. It is mentioned in the article that despite the security concerns the surge in energy prices is rising demand for nuclear power and Russia remains the leader on the international market.

“Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its seizure of the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest nuclear facility, fears over safety have again been on the rise in some quarters.”.

“Russia, on the other hand, dominates the international market. Of the 25 reactors in whose construction it has been involved since the 2000s, only five are in Russia itself. The rest are in Bangladesh, Belarus, China, India, Iran, Slovakia, Turkey and, since 2022, Egypt. “The new thing here is the arrival of countries that didn’t use nuclear power before — like Bangladesh and Egypt,” noted Mycle Schneider, the lead author of the WNISR, who sees this as a Russian strategy to create “long-term interdependence”. Other countries are showing renewed interest in nuclear energy in the wake of the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s war on Ukraine.”.

”These circumstances led the IAEA last year to raise its forecasts for the sector for the second year running, predicting that installed nuclear power worldwide could more than double by 2050. However, for this to happen “a number of challenges need to be addressed”, the UN agency’s director general Rafael Grossi said”.https://www.deccanherald.com/science-and-environment/ups-and-downs-of-global-nuclear-industry-1208560.html

LBCI News,  the leading TV station and news website in Beirut, Lebanon, reported on April 12 about the reaction of  the Ukrainian food producers’ union (UAC) to demonstrations of Eastern European farmers.

“Protests by European farmers are politically motivated and shipments of Ukrainian grain are not reducing the profitability of their business, – the UAC said on Wednesday.  According to the UAC, Logistical bottlenecks have kept large quantities of Ukrainian grains, which remains cheaper than those produced in the European Union, in Central European states, reducing prices and sales for farmers there who have staged protests. Poland last week said it would temporarily halt Ukrainian grain imports after farmers’ protests led Poland’s agriculture minister to resign, but transit would still be allowed”.

“The political nature of the European farmers’ strikes is obvious. Ukraine sells some grain to Poland, and this is not a massive amount,” Denys Marchuk, deputy chair-person of the Ukrainian Agrarian Council (UAC), said in a statement. “However, certain forces need to demonstrate that this is due to an oversupply of Ukrainian grain,” he said, noting that the country faced elections later this year. He said that the decline in global grain and oil-seed prices was a trend and that Ukraine was using Poland and Romania as transit routes rather than directly exporting to them. Marchuk said Poland’s import ban could affect Ukrainian farmers in western regions as they traditionally sold to consumers in Poland and farms still have up to 40% of last year’s harvest, which they planned to sell and use for the sowing season.

“A major grain grower and exporter, Ukraine’s grain output is likely to have dropped to about 53 million tons in the 2022 calendar year from a record 86 million tons in 2021, with officials blaming hostilities in the country’s eastern, northern and southern regions. Ukrainian officials this month said, however, the country may export a further 15.6 million tons of grain in the April-to-June quarter, which would lift this season’s exports to nearly 53 million tons. Millions of tons of grain from the 2021 harvest remained in Ukraine’s silos after its Black Sea ports were closed in the second half of the 2021/22 season. The ports were unblocked the end of July after the United Nations and Turkey brokered a deal between Moscow and Kyiv. Efforts to extend the deal beyond next month are ongoing, with Russia demanding the removal of obstacles to the export of its agricultural products”.


3. Impact of the war on the Global South relations with China and the West

The Argentinian daily newspaper La Nación published on April 7 the article “Lula’s peace suggestion that was rejected by Ukraine: “Zelensky cannot want everything”” (“La sugerencia de paz de Lula que Ucrania rechazó: “Zelensky no puede quererlo todo”). The author argues that the US administration and its allies cannot support the mediation of the Brasilian president who is trying to end the war in Ukraine taking into consideration Russian interests.

“The Brazilian president had suggested that Ukraine cede the Crimean peninsula to Russia to facilitate an end to the war, and stated that Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky “cannot want everything and Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot keep the territory of Ukraine. Maybe Crimea will be discussed. But what has invaded again has to be rethought”, Lula also said in a meeting with journalists at the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia.“

“Lula formulated at the end of January a proposal for mediation in the conflict in Ukraine by a group of countries. The Brazilian leader plans to present this project to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Beijing next week.

The Brazilian head of state said he is confident in the success of this project, and hopes that this group of countries can be formed upon his return from China”.

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted on Friday that peace talks on Ukraine should be based on a “new world order” free from US domination”. https://www.lanacion.com.ar/el-mundo/la-sugerencia-de-paz-de-lula-que-ucrania-rechazo-zelensky-no-puede-quererlo-todo-nid07042023/

(Translated from Spanish by IISWU)