On the dilemma of taking sides in Russo-Ukrainian conflict

Author: Asuman Bisiika. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

And of course there are arguments that do not want to even give Russia’s strategic interests a cursory look.

Majority of the UN General Assembly voted to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The vote tally, without any infl uence from Uganda’s famous Electoral Commission, returned the following fi gures: 141 voted for ‘yes’ while five voted for ‘no’. And 35 voted to ‘abstain’.

In East Africa, Rwanda, DR Congo and Kenya voted ‘yes’. While Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi and Tanzania abstained. There is a general feeling that Russia is trying to secure her strategic interests in invading Ukraine. Past incidents of such a nature have been paraded to justify Russia’s position.

The Cuban Missile Crisis between the United States of America and the USSR is a case in point. This argument enjoys moral legitimacy and equivalence.

A friend of mine, who has declared his support for Russia public, made the following pitch. Let us share it here. “For Russia, it was (is) a matter of life and death. What the West calls unprovoked invasion of Ukraine was the only thing that was and is available to Russia. The relentless Nato expansion to Russia’s border only meant war against Russia.

Do you remember the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962? Russia had placed nuclear weapons carrying missiles in Cuba. This was too close to USA. With these missiles in Cuba, the entire mainland USA was in striking range of Russiancapabilities.

Similarly, the post-USSR era eastward expansion of Nato meant that the alliance capabilities would be able to strike (with ease) any part of mainland Russia. Any sane Russian president would do what President Putin is doing now. Actually, Putin has been extremely patient. He asked that the last territory between Nato/EU and Russia, which is Ukraine, should consider avoiding accession to Nato.

But all that Russian diplomacy was deliberately rejected.

In 2019, Ukraine voted a man who was doing very successful comedy. He had limited knowledge of international geopolitics. The guy was manipulated by the wave which brought him to power (Western imperial forces). His immediate request was for Ukraine to join Nato. (This was suicide).

Obviously, now, the war is being fought on Ukraine territory. This is the war the West wanted because it helps them in their quest to weaken Russia. It is not about the West’s love for Ukraine and those so called Western values. For Russia, the war is for real existential threat from the West. That circumstance only meant that Ukraine would be crushed in between the interests of the major warring blocs of West and East.”

And of course there are arguments that do not want to even give Russia’s strategic interests a cursory look. All their views are locked on the fact and act of invading another sovereign state without any provocation.


For me, I have advised myself against commenting on what I see as a tribal war fought in far off lands. But my attention has been drawn to two issues from this confl ict: One is the structurally biased reportage of the Western media.

I heard a BBC journalist asking a question and answering it himself. And in a very clever way, he just prodded his interviewee to make a comment on what was really the BBC journalist’s opinion. And then the racial tune and tone on the coverage of human persons fleeing the theatre of war. Duh!

The second issue is the way Rwanda voted. Gen Paul Kagame was recently quoted as saying his country’s military doctrine is fighting wars on the lands of people who provoke Rwanda. I really believed him because Rwanda did it in 1996 when it invaded DR Congo (then Zaire). I would have expected Kagame to understand and appreciate Russia’s situation (and vote “no”).

Mr Bisiika is the executive editor of the East African Flagpost. [email protected]