Left elected representatives call for full support to Ukraine on the second anniversary of the Russian invasion



February 8, 2024

As present and former  elected representatives of the left – members of the European and national parliaments, regional and local councillors – we want to address our colleagues on the left in Europe and in the world. We appeal to you to mobilise together with us in support of the military and civil resistance of the Ukrainian people. In this respect our elected positions give us a special opportunity and a special responsibility. Supporting Ukraine also means countering the nefarious propaganda of the far right which is the bedrock of Putin’s support internationally.

We have come to the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That means that Ukraine is entering its third year of war. Many of us hoped that the war would be shorter and that Ukraine would be quickly victorious. It is now clear that this was an over-optimistic view. Russia has dug in and built strong defences. What was a war of movement in 2022 has become largely a war of position in 2023.

The war does not only concern the soldiers who are defending Ukraine. It also concerns the civilian populations who are victims of Russian bombings and attacks on infrastructure, above all for the second winter in seeking to destroy heating systems.

The situation in the zones occupied by Russia is much worse. Ukrainians who refuse to take Russian passports are discriminated against in various ways, for example in refusal of access to health care. Those who are considered the most incorrigible are arrested and sent to Russia. It is estimated that there are about 4,000 Ukrainians held prisoner in Russia, not counting prisoners of war, and held in very bad conditions. There are also examples of deportation of Ukrainians to Russia and their replacement by Russian settlers – a process pioneered in Crimea after 2014. Most serious of all is the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia where they are “adopted” and “Russified”.

Ukraine has received much aid, humanitarian and financial. Some of this aid comes from governments and NGOs. Some of it comes from trade unions, especially in Europe. Many unions have taken clear positions in support of Ukraine and established strong contacts with Ukrainian unions. Ukraine has also received military aid from NATO countries and elsewhere. This aid is necessary, and it will continue to be.

Two years after the invasion, Russia’s position has not budged one inch. It demands the totality of the territories that it has “annexed” including the parts that it has not succeeded in occupying. There is no guarantee that it will not also demand Kharkiv and Odessa. And it continues to demand a change of government in Kyiv. There is no room for discussion on the basis of these demands. The only road to a lasting peace is the unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops. And Ukraine must be able to receive the arms necessary to impose that withdrawal.

See here for signatories