Indonesia has issued a formal statement condemning Russia’s military attack on Ukraine but stopped short of actually mentioning Russia.
Separately, President Joko ‘Jokowi‘ Widodo on Thursday took to Twitter to call for an end to the war, which commenced in Ukraine on 24 February after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion on the pretext of keeping peace.
“Stop the war. This war torments humankind and endangers the world,” said Jokowi via his Twitter account @jokowi.
Setop perang. Perang itu menyengsarakan umat manusia, dan membahayakan dunia.
— Joko Widodo (@jokowi) February 24, 2022
Previously, Jokowi on February 22 had said the crisis in Ukraine “must be dealt with carefully to prevent a major disaster for mankind. However, this peace effort must be swift and cannot be delayed.”
Putin has described his invasion as a special military operation that aims to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine. “Its goal is to protect people who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the regime in Kyiv for eight years. And for this, we will pursue the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, as well as bringing to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation.”
The Russian leader strongly warned other countries not to get involved in the situation in Ukraine. “Now a few important, very important words for those who may be tempted to intervene in the ongoing events. Whoever tries to hinder us, or threaten our country or our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to consequences that you have never faced in your history. We are ready for any turn of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. I hope that I will be heard.”
Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said the conflict would have an impact on Indonesia, especially in terms of trade. “The impact is not only felt in the region, in Europe, but also in other regions. We will be affected in the context of trade flows,” he was quoted as saying by Kompas.com.
Indonesia in February 2018 signed a deal to buy 11 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia for US$1.14 billion, but the deal was scrapped after threats of sanctions by the United States. The US in 2017 passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which carries sanctions for countries that purchase weapons from Russia. Indonesia has since turned to France and the US for fighter jet purchases.
Russian President Putin has some admirers in Indonesia, including legislator Fadli Zon of Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto’s Greater Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party. In 2018, Fadli said Indonesia needed a leader like Putin. “If you want to rise and be victorious, Indonesia needs a leader like Vladimir Putin: courageous, visionary, intelligent, authoritative, not in debt, not being bogged down,” he said in a Tweet reported by CNN Indonesia. He further said ‘Putin’ can be abbreviated as “Prabowo untuk [for] Indonesia. God-willing, it will bring the rise of Indonesia, not bankruptcy.”
On Friday, Fadli simply tweeted “NATO = No Action Talk Only.”
NATO = No Action Talk Only ? https://t.co/MPZlPIMZrH
— FADLI ZON (Youtube: Fadli Zon Official) (@fadlizon) February 24, 2022
Despite praise for Putin in some quarters, Foreign Ministry spokesman Faizasyah said Indonesia condemned the attack on Ukraine and called for negotiations and diplomacy to resolve the conflict. “Until now, Indonesia has not stopped trying to give confidence to the conflicting parties that the current path of peace is the best. So hopefully these countries can avoid escalation and can return to the negotiating table.”
While many Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia in response to the Ukraine invasion, Faizasyah said Indonesia was yet to decide whether to follow suit. “We will always measure in terms of Indonesia’s national interest and whether the application of sanctions can solve a problem or not,” he was quoted as saying by Republika.co.id.
He said Indonesia considers the imposition of sanctions does not necessarily resolve problems. Instead, he said, Indonesia can take advantage of its friendly relationship with both Russia and Ukraine. “Our position starts from the principle of Indonesia’s national interest to participate in providing a certain role in overcoming problems that arise, where we have sufficient capacity to contribute in efforts to resolve a problem that arises in a geographical area very far from Indonesia’s national territory.”
Following is the complete text of a five-point statement posted on the website of Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry:
Indonesian Government Statement regarding Military Attacks in Ukraine
- Adherence to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and International Law, including respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, must continuously be upheld.
- Therefore, the military attack on Ukraine is unacceptable. Moreover, the attack puts the people’s lives in grave danger and threatens regional as well as global peace and stability.
- Indonesia calls for this situation to be put to an end and further calls on all parties to cease hostilities and put forward peaceful resolution through diplomacy.
- Indonesia urges the UN Security Council to take concrete steps to prevent the situation from further deteriorating.
- The Indonesian government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has prepared evacuation plans for Indonesian citizens in Ukraine. The safety of the Indonesian people is always the priority of the government.