PH condemns 'invasion of Ukraine', backs UN General Assembly resolution

John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2022 10:18 PM

Smoke rises after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine February 27, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Smoke rises after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine February 27, 2022. Gleb Garanich, Reuters

MANILA — The Philippines explicitly condemns the invasion of Ukraine and "strongly urge(s) the cessation of hostilities", it said in a statement it will deliver at the United Nations General Assembly's emergency special session in New York, Monday.

The Southeast Asian country is also voting Yes to the UNGA resolution that is being tackled, according to the statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

"The principle of sovereignty and the sovereign equality of States is enshrined in the UN Charter. All States enjoy the right to full sovereignty in all their areas of jurisdiction," the Philippine statement read.

"The Charter of the UN requires sovereign states to refrain from the use of force against the political independence and territorial integrity of any state."

In calling for an end to the fighting, the Philippine statement notes, "While an offense can be stopped at will, the defense cannot rest until the offense stops."

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last Thursday, targeting cities with weapons strikes. President Vladimir Putin of the former confirmed the "military operation" supposedly to defend separatists in the east of the Ukraine.

"We especially condemn the use of separatism and secession as a weapon of diplomacy for inviting and inflicting terrible cruelties and indiscriminate killings far in excess of that of any other kind of conflict," read the Philippine statement.

Ukraine said Monday, the fifth day of the crisis, that 4,300 Russian soldiers have been killed as it fought back. It also reported 352 civilian deaths since the start of the invasion, including 14 children.

The UN puts the civilian toll at 102, including seven children.

More than 500,000 people have fled the conflict, it added.

"No one can trust news reports of casualties on either side, but 14,000 have been killed since 2014. In the current fog of lies, we have yet to determine the true casualties on both sides," the Philippines said of the two countries' conflict.

Manila said it calls "for massive assistance commensurate with the growing humanitarian crisis".

It also echoes "the UN Secretary General's appeal for respect of humanitarian principles to protect civilians and civilian infrastructures in Ukraine."

"Safe access to humanitarian assistance must be assured by the most effective means."

The Philippines "strongly urged" concerned parties to resort to the 1982 Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes, which had been described as the "authoritative articulation of our collective duty under the UN Charter to peacefully resolve conflict."

"It will at least halt the ongoing tragedy for a while," its statement read.

The UN Security Council voted on Sunday to call for a rare emergency special session of the 193-member UNGA regarding Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. 

PH CAN'T BE NEUTRAL - ACTIVISTS

Filipino activists earlier Monday staged a rally, calling on the Philippines to denounce Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying Manila cannot be neutral despite its ties with Moscow which were strengthened in recent years.

Progessive groups Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), Federation of Free Workers, and Akbayan Partylist said Russia clearly violated international law with its military offensives against Ukraine.

“We are here because we want to call on our government that this is not the time to be neutral. Cowardice is not a foreign policy...," Akbayan Party-list 1st Nominee Percival Cendaña said.

"If there is something (President Rodrigo) Duterte should learn from this experience in Ukraine, that is, the only way to defend our sovereignty is to stand up with the people. Narito po ang mga Pilipino para manindigan para makiisa at makiramay sa ating pong mga kapatid sa Ukraine.”

(The Filipinos are here, taking a stand to be one with and sympathize with our Ukrainian brothers.)

—With a report from Jeffrey Hernaez, ABS-CBN News

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