Malta has no intention of inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to address Parliament as it had done with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
However, Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Borg denied that this different approach to the two leaders impinges on Malta’s constitutional neutrality.
Following Zelenskyy’s address to Parliament, in which he urged the government to ramp up its anti-Russia sanctions, Lovin Malta asked Borg whether he intends to extend a similar invitation to Putin and whether a failure to do so will impinge on Malta’s long-held stance of neutrality.
He replied as follows.
“Malta has been consistent in its strong condemnation of the unprovoked attacks on Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
“The Government is also equally unequivocal in its support and solidarity with Ukraine, through medical and humanitarian assistance.”
“Such message was echoed in international fora and more recently following the address by President Zelenskyy to the House of Representatives. This does not impinge on our neutrality but merely confirms the stance supported by multilateral institutions and Malta with regard to the ongoing hostilities.”
“As the Prime Minister explained, being neutral does not mean that ‘we are silent, blind and deaf’ to the suffering of the Ukrainian people.”
“There is no need or intention of inviting other parties in this war to address the House of Representatives.”
During his speech to MPs on Tuesday, Zelenskyy urged the nation to ban Malta-flagged vessels from transporting Russian oil, freeze Russian assets and stop Russians from using “golden passports”.
In an attempt to bring the realities of the war closer to Malta’s shores, the president warned that a prolonged Russian blockage of Ukrainian ports could result in a global food crisis, prompting more irregular migration from North Africa to Europe, including Malta.
The European Commission this week shelved plans to ban the EU shipping industry from carrying Russian oil, following protests by Malta and Greece, the two largest EU flag states.
Cover photo: Left: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses Malta’s Parliament this week Right: Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo: Kremlin)
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