Ukraine-Russia conflict has long-lasting repercussions on Malaysia, the world, says Kyiv’s diplomat in Kuala Lumpur

“We breathe the same air and drink the same water. If you throw something in the Black Sea near Ukraine, it will arrive in Malaysian waters in five to six months.”

Denys Mykhailiuk, Charge d’affaires at the Ukraine Embassy in Malaysia, used that analogy to explain how the war in Ukraine affects people globally, and why Malaysians should care about what is happening in Europe.

He said it was frustrating that many still do not see how interconnected everything is, and how the war with Russia impacts their lives.

Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, it has had a ripple effect around the world.

One of them is the rising food prices, as Ukraine produces 10 per cent of the world’s grain, 15 per cent of the world’s corn, and 13 per cent of the world’s barley.

“Many are not concerned about the war … they only worry or complain when the prices of food rise,” said Mykhailiuk, on the sideline of the launch of the Piala Puteri Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship in Kuala Lumpur, on Friday.

“When you lose 10 per cent of the world’s grain, the world will not go hungry, but the cost will rise due to high demand.

“It is the same for chicken farmers. The price of chicken feed has risen to record levels. Chicken is the main source of protein in Malaysia. So yes, there are consequences to what is happening in Ukraine.”

Mykhailiuk also said Malaysia was one of the first countries to experience Russia’s aggression when a Dutch court convicted three pro-Russian separatists for their role in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014.

“Malaysia is a victim, too. Not just you, but the Netherlands and Belgium also lost their citizens when your plane was shot down by those with links to the Russian military,” he said.

Mykhailiuk also said the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam in June would have grim consequences. Ukraine’s military and Nato (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) had accused Russia of blowing up the dam, while Russia blamed Ukraine.

The dam contained in excess of 18 cubic kilometres of water. Its destruction caused catastrophic damage to numerous businesses, sewage and farming systems, and transportation infrastructure. The floodwaters displaced tens of thousands of people and dislodged unexploded landmines, which are now unaccounted for.

“All these consequences can be felt around the world. It is not just us Ukrainians who are suffering,” said Mykhailiuk, who has been in Malaysia for nearly three years.

“The economic, agricultural, and ecological devastation will last for years.”

Mykhailiuk reiterated that war benefits no one, as Russia has lost 260,000 soldiers, with double that in injuries.

“Politicians always try to divide a nation by using differences in religion and language as a tool to get seats in parliament. They end up burning down the whole house,” added Mykhailiuk.

Yesterday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said that his forces had recaptured an eastern village on the southern flank of Bakhmut.

On the same day, Russia’s Defence Ministry said in its daily briefing, that its forces had continued their attacks near Klishchiivka, which had a pre-war population of around 400. It added that Russian forces had downed three Ukrainian drones over the south-western Crimea on Sunday evening.

Russia and Ukraine are set to meet at the International Court of Justice today, as Moscow claims its invasion of Ukraine was done to prevent genocide.

Russia wants the case to be dismissed, as it continues to object to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The hearing is scheduled to run until Sept 27 and will focus on legal arguments about jurisdiction.

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