During a regular meeting of Democracy Seminar, the worldwide committee of democratic correspondence, last Thursday morning, (February 24th), we discussed the unfolding crisis in Ukraine and agreed to write up and share our quick responses from our different locations. At the same time, we received this message from our colleague in Ukraine.
On February 24, thousands of Ukrainians woke up at 5 am after hearing numerous explosions. Under cover of darkness Russian aviation started shelling Ukrainian military installations and civilians. At exactly the same time the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin declared the start of a“special military operation” in Ukraine.
However, this is neither an “operation”, nor “Ukrainian crisis”, nor “Ukraine-Russia conflict”. What happens in Ukraine right now has a single definition: it is war.
In the morning of February 24, Russian troops breached the territory of Ukraine from the Russian and Belarusian border. A full-scale invasion was launched from the north, the east and south. There were explosions in Kyiv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lutsk and other Ukrainian cities. Furthermore, the occupiers have taken control of the Chornobyl nuclear plant. Ukraine is now under a martial law.
Which new evidence of war do the international partners need? Russia is an aggressor. There is war here now, in the center of Europe.
Despite Putin’s hopes for a blitzkrieg, he did not succeed. Ukraine is ready to protect its territory and sovereignty. Ukrainian armed forces are fighting air and artillery raids of the enemy on all fronts.
“This morning is carved in history now, but this history is absolutely different for us and for Russia,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says. “Ukraine is defending and won’t sacrifice its freedom even if they wish for it in Moscow.”
Ukraine has cut diplomatic ties with Russia and calls for other countries to do the same. Now Ukraine is a shield for the whole of Europe. However, this shield needs some aid from international partners.
In the course of the previous week Ukrainian armed forces have received a lot of weapons from the US and European countries. Also, the US, Great Britain and EU have declared new sanctions against Russia. We are grateful for this support. But unfortunately, that is not enough.
All the civilized world should unite to stop the Kremlin dwarf. Russia will not stop at Ukraine. Events which are happening now concern other countries as well. That could have happened to Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary…to any other country in Europe. That is not the “Ukrainian crisis”. That is a European crisis. That is a world crisis.