Almost a month since the full-scale invasion and war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Russia’s regime, under Putin’s rule, is committing serious war crimes in Ukraine by targeting civilian infrastructure, murdering thousands of innocent civilians, destroying nature and cultural objects, and violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
From the first day of this war, the world has witnessed Russian armed forces deliberately and brazenly bombing peaceful cities, shelling houses, bomb shelters, kindergartens and schools, hospitals, and ambulances. At the same time, Lukashenko’s regime is Russia’s full accomplice in these war crimes. From Belarus territory and its military bases, many of the shelling of Ukrainian cities are carried out. Belarus continues providing the transit of soldiers, weapons and military equipment from Russia to the Ukrainian borders.
The Russian military has been taking hostage local government officials, patients and medical staff, children in boarding schools, as well as entire cities, restricting their supply of food, water and medicine, shutting down communications, gas, electricity and water services. They occupied Chornobyl and Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant stations and have been torturing the staff. Due to the temporary Russian occupation, more than a million civilians have been under constant attack and locked up in their communities, unable to receive humanitarian aid or evacuate to a safer place. The Russian side openly violates the agreements on the silent regime for the “green corridors” for the evacuation of civilians and humanitarian aid delivery. In most cases, evacuations are carried out under fire or cancelled, and humanitarian aid is looted by Russian soldiers.
Currently, there is a humanitarian catastrophe, when people die in their cities under shelling from a lack of food, water and medical care (for example, in Mariupol, Volnovakha, Izium, Okhtyrka). It is frightening to realise that this is happening in the 21st century in a democratic country.
Despite the threat to their lives, residents of occupied cities are constantly protesting Russian aggression and occupation and express their desire to live in a free country under the Ukrainian flag and government. Thousands of people gather on the streets in Kherson, Melitopol, Berdyansk, Energodar and other cities. The Russian occupiers have repeatedly opened fire on these protests, threatened violence, and kidnapped pro-Ukrainian activists and representatives of the municipalities.
The exact number of casualties among the civilians due to the Russian invasion cannot be determined at the moment. The Ukrainian government operates only one officially registered case. However, this statistic does not include data from Mariupol or cities near Kyiv, where no one can pick up corpses from the streets, to say nothing of keeping records and making accurate calculations. For example, many killed by shellings in Mariupol are buried in mass graves in city parks. For obvious reasons, official data is behind reality, so it may seem that the scale of the tragedy of this war is smaller than it really is.
Russian army puts the whole world at risk by occupying the Chernobyl inclusion zone and Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. They violated all international agreements. The staff has been under psychological pressure and torture, forced to work solely under the command of the Russian military, which poses not only a violation of workers’ rights but an additional wider nuclear safety breach. In addition to the destruction of people’s lives, Russia is also destroying nature and the environment. Millions of hectares of protected natural areas are under threat of extinction. Wild animals die or have to migrate to safer places. Zoos were destroyed in Kharkiv, near Kyiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, some animals ended up in the occupied territories without the possibility of food supply. With each dropped bomb, heavy metals fall on Ukrainian soil, which can also get into groundwater. There are huge industrial plants in Ukraine, the destruction of which will bring an environmental catastrophe to the nearest territories.
Despite such gross violations of both international law and basic human rights, we still do not see decisive actions from Western countries targeted at Russia. SWIFT has not been completely turned off for Russia and Belarus yet – for example, it is still used by Sberbank, one of the largest banks in Russia. Europe still buys Russian gas and oil, supporting the war with its taxpayers’ money. Many big international businesses still operate in Russia. This form of maintaining the existing wealth and comfort for Western countries, at the expense of Ukraine and the lives of Ukrainian people, must not be an option.There can be no halfway solutions in the fight against Putin’s imperialist agenda.
As the Young Greens of Eastern Europe, we call upon the States and decision-makers to do the following:
– Terminate cooperation with the aggressor countries (Russia and Belarus), as well as with companies whose beneficiaries are the government officials and the supporters of these regimes;
– Halt the import of Russian fuel and other natural resources to stop sponsoring Russia’s war against Ukraine and maintaining the stability of the dictatorial regime;
– Impose more severe economic, diplomatic and military sanctions on the aggressor countries, which must remain in force as long as these regimes remain in power;
– Further, provide humanitarian and financial support to Ukraine;
– Provide Ukraine with military support (weapons and equipment) to protect its territory and citizens from Russian military invasion. In particular, air defence systems, as most of the civilian population suffers from artillery shellings and air bombings. We as greens do not condone armings and militarisation, however, due to the particular nature of this conflict, it is apparent that Ukrainian forces require tools to be used for defence against the aggressor, in order to protect the lives of Ukrainian citizens and prevent further mass fatalities; a lack of military support for Ukraine would, in this case, mean indirect endorsing of a de-facto genocide.
– Apply diplomatic pressure on the countries that could provide both economic and military assistance to Russia such as China and India.
– Stipulate disarmament of Russian military forces by reducing, limiting, or abolishing armament (for example, confiscation of Russian warships and aircraft and blocking the transit of Russian military equipment by water, land and air, as well as the ban on the supply of resources for the production of new weapons);
– Prosecute war crimes and violations of IHL under the international criminal tribunals;
– Ensure the protection of civilians through peacekeeping or other missions, providing humanitarian access, and delivering protection specifically to those who are most vulnerable, such as women, children and retired people, as well as providing effective systems of support for the refuges
– Ensure safety and security of IDPs (internally displaced people), refugees, and POWs (prisoners of war);
– Navigate and facilitate negotiations to stop the war and violence based on the truly democratic development of both countries.
There would be fewer chances of this war happening if the West would have used similar measures against Putin, his closest circle, and businesses that benefit from this regime earlier. Instead, we saw mostly conservative forces in the West prioritizing the financial gain over an adequate response to violations of the International Law by Russia in 2008 in Georgia and 2014 in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. The sanctions must not be delayed any longer and should not be lifted until there is a regime change in Russia, instead of lifting them as part of a negotiation process with the current authoritarian government.
We already see that there is a huge solidarity and self-mobilisation, as well as enormous support provided by different states, communities, and international institutions. Western democracies, especially Poland, have already accepted more than three million refugees. We, as CDN EC, are very proud and inspired by the representatives of CDN Member and Partner organisations and other activists in our network, who also work hard to help Ukrainian refugees, as well as organise and participate in campaigns and demonstrations for solidarity with Ukraine. However, all the help provided, without systemic measures, is still not enough to stop the war, as Ukraine is fighting one of the biggest military powers ruled by a dictator.
CDN once again stands for peace and nonviolence and expresses support for the people of Ukraine in their fight for people’s lives, democratic development of their country, and against the fascist regime of Russia.
Glory to Ukraine!