Rødt supports Ukraine's fight for freedom

The Norwegian Left Party Rødt (Red) adopted this statement at its national meeting in Stavanger on 23 April 2023.

The Red Party (Rødt) strongly condemns Russia's aggressive attack on Ukraine in violation of international law. This is imperialism that goes against everything Red stands for. We support Ukraine's independence and defence struggle.

Rødt supports those who are now defending themselves against Putin's soldiers and fighting for their freedom, for their country's sovereignty and for democracy. The responsibility for the war of aggression and the bombings lies solely with the Putin regime. Russia must immediately stop the war and withdraw from the whole of Ukraine. There are no arguments, no security interests, spheres of interest or other pretexts to justify a war of aggression in violation of international law and the enormous human suffering it is causing. The people of Ukraine are the first to suffer, but the consequences of the war also exacerbate social distress and inequality throughout the world, hitting the working class in particular. Norway must increase its humanitarian aid to both Ukraine and other war and crisis victims in the world.

The Red Party's anti-imperialist principles are clear. In the programme of principles we advocate that "Norway should not choose sides in the struggle between imperialist powers", that we "support people and nations fighting against occupation and oppression" and "will defend international law and the right of nations to self-determination". We must defend these principles in practice when a great power attacks a smaller country.

Without arms support, Ukraine would have been overrun and subjugated by a chauvinistic and right-wing nationalist Russian regime with declared imperialist ambitions. Therefore, it is right to provide arms support to Ukraine in the struggle for independence and peace, when the Ukrainians have asked for it. These weapons must not be used outside Ukrainian territory. Rødt presupposes that the government demands an end-user declaration from the Ukrainian government, ensuring that Norwegian weapons are only used by the regular Ukrainian forces within Ukrainian territory.

The Red Party will oppose an escalation where the war spreads to other countries and which could result in a third world war. The main responsibility for the escalation of the war lies on the Russian side.

Today, arms donations are made directly from the Norwegian side or in co-operation with other countries, i.e. not from NATO. This must continue so that the Ukrainian defence struggle can be supported without further increasing the risk of a great power war.

Thorough assessments prior to Norwegian donations are essential. No country has given Ukraine everything it has asked for. The government must inform and consult the parliament in advance about military contributions. The Red Party is opposed to sending Norwegian fighter planes, tanks or soldiers to Ukraine. International conventions and laws against the use of cluster munitions and phosphorus bombs must be respected.

It is a prerequisite for a peace solution that Ukraine survives as an independent state. Occupation is not peace. Occupation is oppression, mass arrests, death sentences and terror.

In Norway, we must use all our international influence and diplomatic capacity to contribute to an end to the war through negotiations aimed at a peaceful solution based on international law. There is no contradiction between supporting the resistance struggle and working for peace.

A future outcome of negotiations also depends on the concrete situation on the battlefield. If the aggressor is allowed to dictate the terms of peace, imperialist aggression is rewarded. Therefore, until a diplomatic solution is possible and the basis for a just peace is in place, Ukraine needs weapons to defend itself and resist the invasion.

The Red Party will work actively to ensure that the government strengthens Norway's efforts for humanitarian aid, long-term development efforts and lasting peace. The Red Party will also work for Norway to promote a policy in the UN so that the organisation becomes an effective tool for creating and securing peace, and to stop all arms exports, direct and indirect, that go to wars of aggression and that violate international law.

The Red Party supports the peace movement in both Ukraine and Russia. Norway must work to ensure that peace negotiations are conducted in line with the UN treaty. These must take place on the Ukrainians' terms.

Norway must defend dissidents and the persecuted. The Red Party was quick to demand collective protection for all Ukrainian refugees - something that was quickly introduced. The Red Party has called on the government to ask Russian soldiers to desert and guarantee them protection in Norway.

The Red Party has spearheaded tough punitive measures against the Russian regime and its supporters. We want sanctions that target the political elite, the military, the oligarchs and the financial elite in Russia. The aim of sanctions must be to weaken the regime and not to weaken the peace movement in Russia.

The Red Party works for the prosecution of wars of aggression that violate international law. The Red Party proposes that Norway should support Ukraine's initiative to establish a special tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine, where the Putin regime can be investigated and prosecuted for the unlawful war of aggression against Ukraine.

The Red Party has proposed that Norway ratify the Kampala Amendment to the Rome Statute, which gives the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction to prosecute heads of state for wars of aggression that violate international law. In addition, Norway must work to remove the special jurisdictional limitation on the crime of aggression, which currently prevents the ICC from investigating Putin for the decision to attack Ukraine. We see this as a necessity to strengthen Norway's legal security against wars of aggression; to contribute to preventing future wars in line with the intention behind the Nuremberg process and for Norway to have credibility in the international work to ensure prosecution of Russia's crime of aggression against Ukraine.

The Red Party believes that Norway should introduce its own sanctions that close loopholes exploited by Putin and his allies. We therefore called early on for independent Norwegian sanctions to close the loopholes in the EU's measures that have allowed unloading of metal and payment of refunds to oligarchs on oil hunting.

The Red Party will continue to work for comprehensive economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, both while the war is ongoing and for reconstruction. Rødt has proposed cancelling Ukraine's national debt and believes that this must be implemented. We have supported all humanitarian aid as well as equipment such as helmets, bulletproof vests, etc. for the Ukrainian military. Rødt believes that financial and humanitarian support must be stepped up.

There have been several reports of Ukrainians in Norway being exploited for social dumping and other forms of criminality. Solidarity with Ukraine must also lead to Ukrainians in Norway not being exploited as cheap labour or for crime. The Red Party demands that the government, in co-operation with the trade union movement, employers and NGOs, introduce concrete measures to prevent cynical employers and criminals from profiting from the war in Ukraine.

We demand:

  • Information in Ukrainian about rights at work and in the Norwegian labour market
  • Offers of Norwegian language training
  • Whistleblower programmes in Ukrainian to report crime and social dumping
  • Measures to integrate Ukrainians into the regular labour market to qualify them for skilled jobs

Translated from Rødt website