Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Guyana calls for immediate cease-fire in Ukraine, urges return of diplomacy

…Foreign Secretary says no Guyanese in Ukraine; assistance available for students in Russia if needed

Guyana has joined in the widespread global condemnation of Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, calling for immediate cease-fire and peaceful resolution of differences between the two European neighbours.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

After months of tension between the two countries, Russia’s military invaded Ukraine on Thursday, launching attacks by land, sea and air that targeted Ukrainian bases and several major cities including its Capital – Kyiv. Reports from Ukrainian authorities are that over 70 civilians and military personnel were killed and dozens others injured in airstrikes and bombings during invasion attacks that have spread across the European country.

Scenes from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday (Photo credit: Reuters)

In a statement Thursday evening, the Guyana Government condemned the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia.
“The Government of Guyana is gravely concerned over the recent military intervention in violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to diplomacy,” it said.
According to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration, “The Government of Guyana deplores the threat or use of force in the conduct of international relations and urges a peaceful resolution of the differences that currently exist, in consonance with the rule of international law and the provisions of the United Nations Charter.”
Thursday’s missive outlined that the current military action in Ukraine is contrary to the principles of respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and the non-interference in the internal affairs of another sovereign state.
“The aggression against Ukraine is a threat to the region and countries everywhere. The Government of Guyana supports the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General to bring a speedy resolution to the situation in Ukraine and cease the threat to international peace and security,” the Guyana Government stated.
With mounting concerns over the safety and security of citizens in Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud, when contacted, told the  Guyana Times  that there are records of 11 Guyanese students in Russia but no records of any in Ukraine.
“We don’t know of any student in Ukraine and no one has reached out from Ukraine to us, we don’t have any records of students in Ukraine and we don’t know of any Guyanese who reached out from Ukraine. We have eleven students in Russia,” he explained.
Persaud further indicated that there is an established mechanism in place for Guyanese students who are affected by the crisis to reach out to the Guyana Government for help. So far, the Ministry has not received any requests for assistance.
“There’s a mechanism where all overseas students have been able to contact student offices in different parts and then through the Government, so there is a network and a channel of communication and that’s primarily those at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service Ministry which is responsible for scholarships,” the Foreign Secretary noted.
Meanwhile, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) – the largest party in the APNU/AFC Opposition – also joined in the condemnation of Russia’s invasion of its neighbour. The party said the violation of Ukraine’s borders of Ukraine not only breaches principles relating to the sanctity of treaties and internationally recognised borders but that the continuation of this situation is most likely to have grave implications for the peaceful development and for the geopolitics of Europe, the rest of the world, more particularly, and negative consequences for the world economy.
“This particular development, Guyana as a small developing state, which has an open economy vulnerable to external shocks, ignores at its peril,” the PNCR said.
Nevertheless, the Guyana Government in an earlier missive on Thursday said it has been consulting with its international partners on this matter. It later added its fully alignment with the position taken by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in response to the issue.
On Thursday, CARICOM strongly condemned the military attacks and invasion of Ukraine by The Russian Federation and calls for the immediate and complete withdrawal of the military presence and cessation of any further actions that may intensify the current perilous situation in that country.

“The hostilities against Ukraine go counter to the principles of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of another sovereign state and the prohibition on the threat or use of force, and the peaceful resolution of disputes, which are the bedrock of this Community.”
“CARICOM maintains that the principles of universal respect and adherence to these norms and principles of international law are fundamental to the maintenance of the international system and global peace and security. CARICOM calls on all parties involved to urgently embark on intensified diplomatic dialogue to immediately de-escalate hostilities and work towards a sustainable peace,” the regional body stated.
Meanwhile, the Organization of American States (OAS), of which Guyana is member also, has also calls for the immediate cessation of the hostilities that were irresponsibly initiated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Russian aggression constitutes a crime against international peace. The armed attack perpetrated against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is reprehensible and constitutes a very serious act in violation of international law. Aggression has been defined as the “supreme international crime” and it undoubtedly constitutes an attack against the peace and security of humanity, as well as civilized relations between States,” the OAS Secretariat said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has already cut diplomatic ties with Moscow, as hundreds of citizens rush to seek refuge underground, while scores are rushing to other neighbouring countries including Poland. However, Zelenskyy has forbidden Ukrainian males between the ages of 18 to 60 from leaving the country,
Russia’s act of aggression has been described by western neighbours as “a dark day for Europe.”
In response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, major global leaders have announced widespread sanctions against Vladamir Putin-headed Russia.
In fact, United States President Joe Biden on Thursday imposed stronger sanctions on the European country which has far-reaching consequences not only for Russia’s economy, financial institutions and its access to technology but also impacts the world market price for oil which skyrocketed to over US100 per barrel.
However, Russia’s Putin has cast aside international condemnation and sanctions, warning other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences that you never faced in your history.”
Meanwhile, these developments have sparked protest actions across Europe and even in Russia. But authorities in Moscow threatened to arrested and prosecute persons caught protesting illegally.