15 April 2021
Statement by supporters of peace
Source: Moscow Helsinki Group
Statement by Supporters of Peace
Recently there has been a stream of alarming messages in the news and on social media regarding the mass deployment of Russian military equipment and soldiers to the Ukrainian border.
This movement of troops comes alongside a wave of aggressive anti-Ukrainian propaganda and a rhetoric of hate in the statements of officials on state-owned television channels. Lies and calls to eliminate Ukraine as a nation are pouring out from the screens. Military aggression gets labelled as “protecting the interests of Russian-speaking citizens.”
The “hybrid war” that Russia has been waging against Ukraine is now in its eighth year. Many thousands have fallen victim to it. People continue to die. Much of the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine is in fact controlled by armed separatists, directed and supplied by Russia.
Armed separatism has been declared a serious crime in every country in the world, Russia included. Delivering military support to separatists from abroad is recognised as aggression in UN terminology. We Russians would hardly consider it a normal situation if there were separatists operating in our territory, using tanks and heavy artillery and helped by a foreign state. However, when it comes to Ukraine, this state of affairs is considered normal.
The brazen convergence of Russian armed forces on the border with Ukraine represents a real threat for the resumption of a full-scale conventional war, in which Russia would take the role of aggressor, invading the territory of the sovereign state of Ukraine. The outbreak of such a war threatens unpredictable consequences for global peace and international security.
We, the undersigned citizens of Russia, will not allow this criminal war to be waged in our name. There is not, and there cannot be, any justification for a military invasion of Ukraine.
-The immediate withdrawal of troops from the Ukrainian border.
-The cessation of aggressive anti-Ukrainian propaganda.
-The unconditional rejection of any plans for military invasion.
Russia can and is obliged to take all necessary steps to transfer to Ukraine control over that country’s internationally recognized border and bears full responsibility for possible provocations along the line of contact of the two countries.
War is contrary to the interests and hopes of the people of Russia and Ukraine.
The unsubstantiated concept of “protecting the Russian-speaking population” as an excuse for military aggression studiously echoes “the defence of Germans in the Sudetenland,” which became the prologue to the tragedy of the Second World War.
Russia is capable of providing support to Russian speakers beyond its borders without resorting to military force.
Russians need to sort out their own country and get it in order, not fight their neighbours. Russia needs peace, development, freedom, and the rule of law.
We call on our fellow citizens to fight for the future of Russia by adding their signature against the unjust war with Ukraine.
No to war!
Mikhail Krieger, civic activist
Lev Ponomarev, human rights activist
Liudmila Ulitskaya, writer
Liya Akhedzhakova, actor
Aleksandr Eisman, civic activist
Valery Borshchev, human rights activist
Aleksandr Cherkasov, human rights activist
Oleg Orlov, human rights activist
Translated by Verity Hemp