Lao journalists were invited to a media briefing on the situation in Ukraine jointly hosted by the Australian and UK embassies on Friday.
Mr. Paul Kelly and Mr. John Pearson, the Australian and British Ambassadors to Laos, hosted Mr. Oleksandr Lysak, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Ukraine Embassy in Bangkok, who spoke about the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The Ukrainian ambassador commented on the situation in Ukraine following 80 days of Russian troops in its territory.
On this occasion, journalists from state and independent media in Laos questioned the Ukrainian Ambassador in Bangkok via an online platform.
Notably, the ambassador repudiated oft-repeated claims about cultural affinity between Ukraine and Russia, identifying differences in worldview and recent Russian hostility as significant complicating factors in the relationship between the two nations.
Journalists questioned the Ambassador on areas such as seaport closures and an ongoing food crisis, as well as potential for armistice and the establishment of humanitarian corridors.
Questions were met with repeated mention of Russian war crimes and atrocities, identification of Russian withdrawal as a precondition for serious negotiations, and a call on Laos to join international efforts to ensure a rules-based international sytem.
The Ukrainian ambassador’s remarks on the likely continuation of disruptions to exports of food and fuels, as well as seaport closures, were among the most locally relevant during the briefing.
Many countries not party to the conflict are suffering downstream consequences, with commodities prices skyrocketing worldwide, contributing to food shortages across Africa and the Middle East, while gaps in fuel supply have hit Laos hard.