Future of European and global community depends on unity and cooperation: Russian Embassy

BYYasir Rehman


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“The future of the European and global community depends on unity and cooperation, on harmonization of national, regional and global interests”, Russian Embassy in Australia said Thursday in a statement on the 105th anniversary of beginning of World War I.

“The World War I, one of the turning points in the 2oth century, began 105 years ago on August 1, 1914. It reshaped both European and global orders causing the collapse of four empires, establishment of new nations, and radical changes in the system of international relations”, it said.

This conflict became an unprecedented global catastrophe that resulted in the death of millions, led to hunger and epidemics, and caused tremendous economic damage to the belligerent countries.

The statement said that Russia was one of the countries that took the brunt of the war. For Russia the First World War turned out to be a great feat but also one of the major tragedies in its history having plunged the country into the chaos unleashed by the revolution and fratricidal conflict.

The evolutionary transformation of the Russian nation, prepared by the reforms of the second half of XIX and the beginning of XX centuries, came to an abrupt end.

“Russia did not want war and was striving to avoid it by all means. Till the last day, Tsar Nicholas II and Minister of Foreign Affairs S.Sazonov were engaged in diplomatic efforts to resolve the differences. Nevertheless, Germany was unwilling to compromise and declared war on Russia on August 1 and on France on August 3. Britain entered the conflict the following day”, it read.

Russian embassy reminded that being loyal to the Allies, Russia came to their rescue more than once during the war. In August 1914, France was on the verge of defeat and requested the Tsar to invade East Prussia as soon as possible in order to weaken the German advance upon Paris.

Without enough time to prepare the operation, the Russian forces stepped into the breach without hesitation. The price was high. The army under General A.Samsonov was crashed. However, Germans were forced to urgently relocate two of their corps to the Eastern Front 2 and France was rescued.

As French Marshal F.Foch admitted later: “We owe it primarily to Russia that France had not been erased from the map of Europe”.

Russian efforts in the Battle of Galicia in 1914 and the Carpathian Winter War in 1915 were crucial to rescue Serbia. The Southwestern Front’s offensive in 1916 supported Italian forces. A separate front was established specifically to help defend Romania.

“Russian sailors contributed also to the Gallipoli campaign where the Anzacs were fighting”

Russian military operations in the Caucasus significantly assisted Britain in the war against Turkey. Russian sailors contributed also to the Gallipoli campaign with the cruiser Askold supporting the landing of French troops in the operation of diversion from the main battlefield where the Anzacs were fighting.

Last but not least, Russian military campaigns in 1915 and the Brusilov Offensive in 1916 played a significant role in the victory of the Entente. In 1916, 40 thousand Russian soldiers and officers were deployed to the Western Front on the request of France. Thus, Russians and Australians once again were fighting together on the same theatre of operations.

The Eastern, or Russian, Front was a pivotal one. Approximately 42 per cent of the Triple Alliance troops were fighting against Russians. The Triple Alliance suffered more than half of their casualties during the battles with Russians. 15 million people had served in the Russian army through the war. Its total strength constituted 37% of combined military force of the nine major Entente powers and their allies.

“As we are adverting today to the history of the First World War it is neither to expose the warmongers nor to talk about winners and losers. There are lessons to learn. And the most important one is that the future of the European and global community depends on unity and cooperation, on harmonization of national, regional and global interests”, the statement added.

Russian embassy warned that attempts to ensure own national security by infringing on other nations’ interests are clearly counter-productive.

In order for security to be sustainable it needs to be equal and comprehensive. This is enshrined in the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation that places the utmost importance on establishing just and democratic world order, based on supremacy of international law and collective decision-making in search for solutions to international problems.