Peace must prevail

On the tragic one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we reiterate our strong condemnation of this terrible war of aggression, in flagrant violation of international law.

Our solidarity lies with the Ukrainians living through terrible suffering, who have lost their loved ones and have seen their homes destroyed. Europe cannot abandon them. They must always be able to find shelter and safety in the EU. We must ensure that all those fleeing Ukraine are offered safe passage and a new home. More broadly, all people on the move, fleeing from violence and oppression, must be granted international protection in an EU that respects and fulfils its obligations under international law.

Over the last year, we have all witnessed the inhuman atrocities in Bucha and many other Ukrainian cities with horror and outrage. Putin must be held accountable for his appalling war crimes against Ukrainians and be investigated by international courts.

The Russian people who are opposing this war cannot be forgotten. Facing violent repression, the anti-war voices in Russia must find strong allies and  support in the EU. The ones fleeing Russia because they refuse to fight in Ukraine or fear persecution for their beliefs must be entitled to protection in Europe and their right to asylum be respected, like any other refugee who is at risk.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has also had a global impact, with the most vulnerable being particularly hit, as energy and food prices have soared. We are using all our means to push the EU to ensure that the current crisis is not making the poor even poorer.

On this dark anniversary, we continue to call for peace and diplomacy as the only solution. The withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine is the necessary objective. Further escalation must absolutely be avoided with the EU and its member states using all diplomatic tools to this end. Achieving a ceasefire is crucial and the EU has a vital role to play in realising this, including the formulation of carefully targeted, properly implemented, sanctions against the Kremlin elite and oligarchs. The beneficiaries of Putin’s regime cannot be allowed to continue with business as usual.

In several resolutions, The Left has also sought to emphasise the importance of debt cancellation for Ukraine to help people in the country cope with the devastation of the past 12 months. There can be no more hesitation on this front from the international community.

The path to peace is undoubtedly laborious, but it is the only way.

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