Ukraine and Samoa: friends and partners in tackling global challenges

By Dmytro Kuleba 23 September 2023, 12:00PM

As Ukraine and Samoa celebrate 10 years of establishing diplomatic relations, both of our nations share common values.

Samoa understands how to match an enduring and historic culture with modern aspirations for the future of its people. Samoa understands what it means to sacrifice for your nation’s freedom and independence.

Indeed, the principle of sovereignty and non-interference from large foreign powers is rightly at the heart of the Samoan story.

In these respects, though we are geographically distant, Samoa and Ukraine are close, and I hope we will become closer for our nations’ mutual benefit. The development of multi-faceted cooperation with nations in the Pacific region is among the most important foreign policy priorities of Ukraine.

I am grateful to Samoa for standing with Ukraine as our people are living through and defending against the full-scale, unprovoked, and illegal invasion by Russia and its pariah President Vladimir Putin. This support is demonstrated in different diplomatic fora, including during key votes in the General Assembly of the United Nations, which have condemned Russia’s actions.

There is the famous Samoan proverb: ‘o le ala i le pule o le tautua’ or ‘the pathway to leadership is through service’. Through the good service it does for the Ukrainians, Samoa shows true leadership.

Though Samoa may be far from us, your solidarity gives great heart to Ukrainians who are living through their darkest time right now. In revenge for its military losses on the battlefield, Russia continues to terrorize Ukrainian civilians by attacking critical infrastructure and residential areas with missiles, rockets, guided aerial bombs, and attack drones, causing loss of life and damage. But instead of weakening the Ukrainian spirit, these heinous attacks only strengthen Ukraine’s resolve to defeat the aggressor. During such a challenging time, the support of our friends around the world, including Samoa, means a lot to us.

Samoa’s solidarity sends a strong message that bullies are unwelcome by the international community, including in the Pacific region. It is vital that the nations that represent democracy, sovereignty, and the rule of law stand together against coercive power.

We are currently working toward an international summit to promote a Peace Formula initiated by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and founded on the cornerstones of sovereignty and stability. The Peace Formula is gradually gaining the support of the world's majority. The Formula is universal in its nature and can be used not only to end Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine but also to end other military conflicts on the planet and address pressing global challenges.

We would be thrilled to see Samoa, as a regional leader, choose to participate in the Global Peace Summit and lend its resonant voice.

Like-minded countries such as Ukraine and Samoa can also progress on other key issues of concern. For example, Russia’s refusal to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative is again putting pressure on international food supplies and grain prices, particularly in developing countries. 270,000 tons of grain, nearly 30 port facilities, and five civilian ships have been damaged or partially destroyed since Russia ruined the Initiative. Russia’s hunger games are yet another threat to be collectively resisted.

Ukraine also hears and understands Samoa’s strong concerns about climate change and the need for global action. We note the UN Secretary-General’s comment that this year’s IPCC report on climate change was “a code red for humanity”.

Despite fighting the war at home, Ukraine stands ready to support the efforts of Pacific nations in tackling climate change, including meeting international obligations under the Paris Agreement. In that respect, Ukraine recently adopted a key strategy to become a more environmentally-safe and climate-resilient country following a relevant decree by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

I have also instructed Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, to discuss the critical issue of climate change with Samoan leaders and at the regional level.

Because we share common values and interests, Ukraine is also keen to strengthen its relations with the Pacific Islands Forum, where Samoa plays an important role.

 Samoa and Ukraine are two ancient cultures, two committed members of the international community, and two friends who will build a better future together.

Dmytro Kuleba is Ukraine's Minister for Foreign Affairs. The views expressed in this article are his.

By Dmytro Kuleba 23 September 2023, 12:00PM
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