Phuket Opinion: Get well soon
PHUKET: The announcement earlier this week that Thailand would provide 2 million baht in “humanitarian aid” to support refugees from Ukraine is as shameful as Thailand’s current stance of remaining “neutral” in the face of the Russian invasion of the country Ukraine, which has now killed at least 549 civilians. 41 of them were children. This sad record was three days ago.
The remains of a maternity ward and a children’s ward destroyed by an airstrike during the Russian invasion of Mariupol, Ukraine, killing two adults and a child. Photo: Mariupol City Council
As is common today for public comments from the Thai government 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 spokesman.
Retired Army Gen Prayut has avoided being quoted directly on the issue as if that would remove him from direct association with the announcement. Prime Minister, the PR tactic of not associating your face with the announcements has not escaped our attention.
The B2mn humanitarian aid to Ukraine token will be used to buy basic necessities for people in Ukraine affected by the fighting, government spokeswoman Tanee Sangrat said on Thursday (March 10). The items will be distributed through the Ukrainian Red Cross Society or other international organizations, he added.
While the world understands that Thailand is financially unable to provide anywhere near the amount of aid provided by other countries, the B2mn is nothing short of an insult. It would not even issue a “good-good card” to the more than 2.5 million refugees who have left Ukraine.
To make the announcement even more shameful, it came just eight days after the same government announced 1.4 billion baht to develop an “international medical center” to be built on state land on the north end of Phuket.
In a country where corruption is said to be so rampant that it pervades almost every office across the kingdom, it would easily fetch more than Bn 2 million if one counts those who claim “the cream” of the 1.4 billion baht skim asks that half of their ill-gotten gains be donated to the refugees. Even prize money for golf tournaments exceeds this amount. That’s how embarrassing the B2mn explanation is.
Remaining “neutral” is a difficult stance to defend when private tourism operators in Phuket are urging the government to actively seek a way to circumvent international sanctions against Russia. This would clearly support the Russian government.
Russians stranded in Phuket due to sanctions and a lack of flights home need help. Your government has to take care of that. If the Russian government is unable to foot the bill for a few thousand of its stranded citizens and later arrange the payments inside Russia, that’s the Russian government’s problem – and shout out to the Russian citizens stranded here how much their own government cares about them.
Russians in Phuket deserve support, and rightly so, certain Phuket companies have provided that support. Not all Russians support the invasion. It’s no secret that Russian nationals apply for asylum at embassies of other countries around the world. They need help and Phuket has its role as a decent host to support them. The Tourist Call Center was an excellent initiative for quick response.
The Phuket News was repeatedly asked about his position on the conflict. be clear The Phuket News is not pro-Russia or pro-Ukraine in its agendas about the protracted conflict. We stand against the invasion that is killing innocent people. The invasion must stop now; Only then can serious peace talks be held. No country can be expected to negotiate terms to end a conflict while its civilians, especially children, are being murdered