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Phuket Opinion: Get well soon

PHUKET: The announcement earlier this week that Thailand will provide B2 million in “humanitarian aid” to support refugees fleeing Ukraine is as shameful as Thailand’s current stance to remain “neutral” over the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has now killed at least 549 civilians, 41 of whom were children. That grievous tally was three days ago.


By The Phuket News

Sunday 13 March 2022, 01:01PM


The remains of a maternity ward and a children’s ward destroyed by an aviation strike amid Russia’s invasion in Mariupol, Ukraine, killing two adults and a child. Photo: Mariupol City Council

The remains of a maternity ward and a children’s ward destroyed by an aviation strike amid Russia’s invasion in Mariupol, Ukraine, killing two adults and a child. Photo: Mariupol City Council

As is now common for Thai government public comments on Thailand’s position on the Russian invasion, the announcement was not made directly by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Instead he left that to a government spokesperson.

Retired Army General Prayut has avoided being quoted directly on the subject, as if that absconds him from direct association with the announcement. Mr Prime Minister, the public relations tactic of not having your face associated with the announcements is not lost on us.

The token B2mn for humanitarian aid to Ukraine will be used to buy daily necessities for people in Ukraine affected by the fighting, government spokesperson Tanee Sangrat said on Thursday (Mar 10). The items will be handed out via the Ukrainian Red Cross Society or other international organisations, he added.

While the world understands that Thailand is not in a financial position to provide anywhere near the same amount of aid provided by other countries, the B2mn is nothing short of an insult. It would not even provide a ‘Get well soon’ card to the more than 2.5 million refugees who have fled Ukraine.

Making the announcement even more shameful is that it came just eight days after the same government announced B1.4 billion to develop an “international medical center” to be built on state land at the northern end of Phuket.

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In a country where corruption is perceived to be so rife that it permeates nearly every office throughout the kingdom, just asking those “skimming the cream” from the B1.4bn to donate half of their ill-gotten gains would easily provide more than B2mn for the refugees. Even prizes put up for golf tournaments surpasses that amount. That is how embarrassing the B2mn declaration is.

As for remaining “neutral”, that is a difficult stance to defend when private tourism operators in Phuket are appealing for the government to actively seek a way to circumvent international sanctions against Russia. Doing so would plainly support the Russian government.

The Russians stranded in Phuket due to the sanctions and lack of flights home do need help. That is for their government to provide. If the Russian government is unable to pick up the tab for a few thousand of their stranded citizens and sort out the payments later within Russia, that is the Russian government’s problem – and screams loudly to the Russian citizens stranded here how much their own government cares about them.

Russians in Phuket deserve support, and rightly so certain Phuket businesses have provided that support. Not all Russians support the invasion. It’s no secret that Russian nationals have been applying for asylum at embassies of outside countries around the world. They need help and Phuket has its role as a decent host to support them. The tourist support call center has been an excellent quick response initiative.

The Phuket News has been questioned repeatedly on its position over the conflict. To be clear, The Phuket News is not pro-Russia or pro-Ukraine in their agendas over the long-ongoing conflict. We stand against the invasion that is killing innocent people. The invasion must stop now; only then can serious peace talks can proceed. No country can be expected to parley terms to end a conflict while its civilians, especially children, are being murdered.

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Grazzy69 | 16 March 2022 - 08:38:09

When this gets published in the West don't hope for your Farang coming back anytime soon. Your Russian mafia will give your local police more than B2 million on the street corner

DeKaaskopp | 14 March 2022 - 11:00:47

And now PN start your own fund raising initiative ! I bet you and your social minded reader can't wait to donate hundreds of thousands of baht !

Ash Ward | 14 March 2022 - 10:12:34

Thai govenment must be in dreamland.
2 million baht won't even buy a condo in Phuket!

JohnC | 14 March 2022 - 09:34:35

Thailand's governments have always been very good at looking the other way, too scared of upsetting somebody that in future might become allies and provide more money to put in their own greedy pockets.

Fascinated | 13 March 2022 - 23:00:20

Police general half a billion dollars in 'unusual wealth', Thai Gov't contribution to Ukraine 2 million baht- says it all. Less than one baht pre refugee- I guess they will be flocking to Thailand in gratitude when this is all over. Unteresting comment about the Gov't being 'neutral' though, when the last paragraph tries to imply PN is neutral! No secret that this Gov't...

Capricornball | 13 March 2022 - 18:56:41

2 million baht really is embarrassing, and this article does a great job of shaming the Thai government, as it truly deserves.  

Kurt | 13 March 2022 - 13:29:48

A fantastic reality reflecting piece of Phuket News Opinion. It shows what Thailand lacks, ... dignity, honesty, self respect, missing a total clutch with global reality. The self isolating thinking is astonishing. Non-, avoiding behavior of Gen Prayut underlines that. A PM unworthy.

 

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