Today is Independence Day in Ukraine, celebrating 31 years of being a sovereign nation. Sadly, of course, Ukraine’s neighbour, Russia, is seeking to conquer the country with armed forces, six months of daily missiles launched at civilian cities, towns and villages, and nigh on 200,000 deaths.
Almost half of the lives sacrificed have been of the non-ethnic Russian soldiers that Russia has selected from its fringes to fight in Ukraine.
The remaining deaths, being the majority, are of Ukrainian soldiers, volunteers and civilians — walking on streets, riding bicycles, sat in their homes, even lain in hospital.
It’s nowhere near the largest genocide humanity has ever inflicted, but it does now fully qualify as genocide by numbers.
It also represents an absolute breach of international law in the 21st Century, which quite clearly bars the military invasion (with soldiers and tanks and missile launchers) or conquering of neighbouring countries, for any reason whatsoever. Which is why much of the world – a majority at the last United Nations vote – is sanctioning Russia until it desists and withdraws.
Except, not the African Energy Chamber (AEC). For, on Monday, just hours ahead of whatever carnage unfolds today, the chamber sent out a press release about its meeting with the Russian deputy energy minister and an emphatic AEC declaration that Russian-African collaboration was essential to ending African energy poverty.
Now, that’s not your everyday announcement in the ‘kill, kill, kill’ era espoused by the Russian ideologue Aleksandr Dugin, whose own daughter was killed this week, following his calls on video for the killing of as many Ukrainians (other people’s daughters?) as possible.
Indeed, the AEC move seemed strangely dislocated from the colossal suffering of now more than 10 million displaced people, so, it got me wondering, who is this chamber, and why has it issued a statement about Russian energy without the slightest mention of the energy reality of sanctions and rising oil and gas prices? Is this one of those parallel-universe type announcements?
Well, not too surprisingly, it’s actually a South African organisation, and the only big, foreign oil company on its advisory board is GazProm, represented by one Vladimir Ilyanin.
Now, I’m not abreast of every spin-off, consultancy, or energy stake in every oil company in Africa, so maybe there are board members there tied to big internationals, but none of those companies are directly on that board.
The AEC is African companies, and Gazprom. So I wonder who funds them?