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Discussions about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been punctuated by what-about-isms ranging from extremely valid to outright spurious. True, the war has led to broader debates on injustice, structural inequality and conflict including in the global south. Typically Western states fare poorly in these critiques and yet there is no denying the bigger impact.

There are South Africans who consider strife between two states in far-flung and bitter cold Eastern Europe wholly irrelevant. Ripple effects, including those on global oil prices, do not register. For some, pressing struggles on home soil warrant attention to the exclusion of worry for Ukrainians...

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