Kenya tells off Russia over Ukraine

Martin Kimani UN

Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) in New York Dr Martin Kimani.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Kenya has called out Russia over its imminent attack on Ukraine, warning that the move could rekindle dangerous expansions by ‘dead’ empires.

In a presentation before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) yesterday, Dr Martin Kimani, Kenya’s permanent representative to the UN, used the illustration of African countries to say Russia should respect Ukraine's borders.  

Nairobi said Russia must take a leaf from African states that have had to live with artificial boundaries planned by colonial masters for the sake of peace.

In the last two meetings on the situation in Ukraine and the buildup of forces by Russia, Kenya urged that diplomacy be given a chance. 

"Our cry was not heeded. Today the threat of use of force against the territorial integrity of Ukraine has been effected,” Dr Kimani said.

He added: “We (Africa) agreed that we will settle for the borders that we inherited but still pursue the continental political, economic and legal integration rather than form nations that looked ever backwards to history with a dangerous nostalgia. We chose to look forward to greatness.” 

Dr Kimani also emphasised the need for countries to recover from colonialism and embrace unity. 

“We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us into new forms of domination and oppression,” he added. 

Kenya had previously skipped a vote on debating the actions of the Russian government against Ukraine saying it would escalate tensions and risk the ongoing diplomatic talks. 

Dr Kimani’s sentiments came hours after Russia announced it was going to recognise Donetsk and Luhansk regions, two self-proclaimed rebel republics of Ukraine, as independent states. The two escaped Kyiv’s control in 2014. They have been mired in armed conflict with the Ukrainian army since a Kremlin-backed armed uprising following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already deployed more than 150,000 troops close to the Ukraine border in what he terms as a “peacekeeping mission”. 

Mr Putin also labeled Ukraine a puppet of the West and said it is not a proper state.

Russia and Ukraine were historically part of the Soviet Union until it collapsed in 1990. But the regions in question had been annexed, released and annexed again by today’s Russia several times in history. 

Under the UN, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are recognised as being inside the territory of Ukraine.

Ukraine has deep social ties with Russia, but relations between the two countries deteriorated when Russia attacked Ukraine in 2014.