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END THE WAR

WE support the call made by President Hakainde Hichilema to end the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine which he noted has had serious repercussions on the global economy.

The President made the call in Lusaka yesterday when he received letters of credence from the new Russian ambassador to Zambia, Mr Azim Yarakhmedov.

President Hichilema said the ongoing war is of great concern to the Zambian government as a proponent of peace.

While Mr Hichilema was being diplomatic, it must be noted that the war is an obscene aberration that humanity should not have been exposed to.

Pope Francis has described it as a senseless war while calling on Russia to withdraw its forces.

The digital divide has brought the most horrid visual images that the war has wrought on the civilian population in Ukraine to people’s living rooms.

The international community has been treated to seeing bodies of ordinary citizens strewn on the streets of Ukraine left to rot.

Over five million people have been displaced as they have lost their homes and forced to seek shelter in neighbouring countries.

In recent days, Russian forces have bombed a steel plant in Mariupol where hundreds of civilians had sought shelter.

Attempts to arrange a ceasefire for their evacuation have not bore fruit.

But it is not just the human suffering that is a matter of concern.  It is the effects on the global economy that proponents of the Russian invasion of Ukraine do not seem to realise.

The war in Ukraine was making things worse across the world particularly in areas of food and energy.  Already, there have been steep rices in prices of fuel and wheat.

This is because Russia and Ukraine and major wheat producers and the ongoing war has disrupted the supply chains for the grain, not forgotten the economic sanctions imposed by Western countries on Moscow.

Already, Indonesia, one of the world’s leading producers of cooking oil has banned exports to protect the home market.  The global price of cooking oil has naturally shot up.

All this upheaval will have a telling effect on the ordinary citizens around the world and lead more people into abject poverty.

It should also be noted that Africa will also bear the brunt of the ripple effects of the war and in this vein, we agree with UN Secretary General, António Guterres, who has appealed to international donors not to divert resources from other humanitarian activities around the world to Ukraine during a visit to Nigeria.

The bottom line is that Russia has no moral right to invade Ukraine and unleash a war of such magnitude in this era.

The world needs peace and as President Hichilema told the Russian envoy, no development can take place in the absence of peace.

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