Danish envoy Svane on Russia-Ukraine conflict

Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta

Last Updated: February 15, 2023, 23:57 IST

The sad but realistic answer is that the war is not going to stop tomorrow or the day after, said Svane. File pic/ANI

The sad but realistic answer is that the war is not going to stop tomorrow or the day after, said Svane. File pic/ANI

There is a need to find dialogue to ensure that the Russia-Ukraine hostilities are brought to an end, said Freddy Svane, Denmark’s ambassador to India

The past year has been a year of unprecedented crisis for people in Europe. The Russia-Ukraine war has left thousands dead and millions fending for survival far away from their homelands. Like many European countries, Denmark has also stood with Ukrainians “It’s unbelievable that in this era of peace, we are facing a war that is devastating for all of us,” says Freddy Svane, Denmark’s ambassador to India.

The war has impacted the global economy and countries have faced crises in terms of the availability of food, fertiliser, and fuel. The developing world of the global south, Latin America, and Africa have had worse situations when the granaries of Ukraine became part of war spoils, and European and US sanctions stopped Russian fertilisers from coming to the international market.

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Svane says, “Hopefully one day people will realise that the war is not the way forward, and as the honourable Prime Minister has said very clearly that we do not live in the era of war, therefore we have to put all our forces together in order to ensure that peace is restored. And we start building up the trust and confidence that this world will need to fight not only the crisis of food, fertiliser, and fuel, but also of climate change. We are spending so much money on this war on both sides, this money could have been used for poverty alleviation or climate change.”

But 12 months into the war, forces on both sides have literally trenched, and new weapons and information war are also on full display. How soon can one expect this war to end? Svane says, “I think the sad but realistic answer is that it’s not going to stop tomorrow or the day after. Hopefully, there will be an end to it. Of course, the easiest way out of it is for Russia to withdraw.”

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On the possible role of India in bringing the two warring factions to a peace table, Svane says, “Given the international profile that India enjoys, and particularly prime minister of India is enjoying, and G20 being handled by India, I do hope and express my expectation that India will be doing what India can be doing.”

Russia has begun giving feelers that it wants to negotiate, but with no preconditions. Recently Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Vershinin in an interview said, “Yes, the classics say that any military action ends in negotiations, and we, of course, have already said that we will be ready for such negotiations…but only to negotiations without preconditions, negotiations based on the reality that exists, negotiations taking into account the goals that we voiced publicly.”

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On Russia’s willingness to negotiate for peace, will the diplomatic effort succeed in bringing down the tension? The Danish ambassador says, “I think if Russia is not withdrawing, the war will continue unfortunately, but at the end of the day, you need to find a dialogue to ensure that the hostilities are brought to an end. We cannot allow this to continue.”

Like several European countries, there has been a significant influx of refugees to Denmark also. Since the outbreak of the war, Danish support to Ukraine amounts to approximately 659 million EUR in military support and 192 million EUR in civilian, including humanitarian contributions. Danish focus areas are military support, humanitarian and acute support, and financial support to the Ukrainian state. In all, since the war began in Ukraine, NATO with its 30 members has committed at least $80bn worth of military, humanitarian, and financial aid to Ukraine.

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