An urgent appeal from Ukraine: the country now needs Germany’s full solidarity

Two prominent members of the Ukrainian parlia­ment appeal to their colleagues in the German Bundestag to stand by Ukraine in the face of Russian threats of war.

We are docu­menting a letter of Oleksandr Merezhko and Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, the chairman of the Rada Foreign Affairs Committee and the chair­woman of the Committee on Ukraine’s European Inte­gra­tion, to the members of the German Bundestag.

They appeal to their German colleagues to stand by Ukraine in the face of Russian threats of war. This includes a clear signal to the Kremlin that massive economic sanctions will follow in the event of a renewed attack on Ukraine. Nord Stream 2 and Russia’s exclusion from the SWIFT inter­na­tional payment system must not be excluded from this. This also includes strength­ening Ukraine’s defense capa­bil­i­ties to raise the threshold for a Russian attack. The delivery of defensive weapons systems is covered by the right to self-defense enshrined in the UN Charter.

Among other activ­i­ties, the Center for Liberal Modernity is working as a mentoring partner for Verkhovna Rada deputies. The two committee chairs of the Ukrainian parlia­ment have asked us to forward the attached letter to their colleagues in the German Bundestag. Germany has a key role to play in the current crisis situation. Our respon­si­bility extends far beyond Ukraine. The future of the European peace order is at stake.

Marieluise Beck & Ralf Fücks
Center for Liberal Modernity, Berlin


Dear distin­guished colleagues,

Recently we cele­brated 30 years since the resump­tion of official inter­state relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Ukraine. They have been marked by different periods, but have been seriously deepened over the last years, since 2014.

The inter-parlia­men­tary track of our coop­er­a­tion has also played a special role in strength­ening our rela­tion­ship, namely building trust and friendly relations between our nations. We are looking forward to the creation and start of the work of the German-Ukrainian friend­ship group in Bundestag.

We are taking this oppor­tu­nity to express our gratitude for all the political and economic support Ukraine has received from Germany over these years in different forms and formats.

However, chal­lenges and threats, that we are commonly facing, have risen immensely over the last couple of months.

Latest massive Russian troop deploy­ment on the border with Ukraine, intensive Russia-Belarus military trainings, growing aggres­sive rhetoric of Russian lead­er­ship, Russia’s security ultimatum, — all of these are requiring an acute and united response.

There is a real threat that Putin could launch a new attack on Ukraine via different scenarios: massive military strike from the East, North, and/​or South, from occupied Crimea; local military oper­a­tions; desta­bi­liza­tion of the situation inside the country via hybrid instru­ments (from psycho­log­ical pressure, cyber-attacks, subver­sive activ­i­ties to other means, including plotting to put pro-Kremlin leader in Kyiv).

With these actions, Kremlin wants to intim­i­date and attack not only Ukraine but the entire civilized world. With a spiral of a new esca­la­tion in the center of Europe Moscow expects conces­sions in relation to its unfounded ultimatum demands to the West, which include the provision of NATO non-expansion guar­an­tees and “security guar­an­tees” to Russia.

The strangest thing in all this rhetoric and action is that the country, which has blatantly violated inter­na­tional law and inter­na­tional oblig­a­tions, including the Budapest Memo­randum, which attacked its neigh­bours, occupied part of their terri­to­ries, killed thousands of civilians and military personnel, protecting their land, country which forced its own passports on citizens on the occupied terri­to­ries, which has been conducting infor­ma­tion propa­ganda war against the West and its direct neigh­bours, which has used energy as a weapon, which has launched attacks on the free world via cyber-attacks, intrusion in electoral processes, attempts, and assas­si­na­tions on the terri­to­ries of Western countries, dares to require “security guar­an­tees” for itself.

Ukraine has been resisting Russian aggres­sion for eight years now. Tens of thousands of dead and wounded, about 1.5mln inter­nally displaced people, illegally annexed and occupied Crimea, hostil­i­ties in occupied Eastern part of Ukraine — this is the price we pay since 2014 for the desire to be free, to be demo­c­ratic, to transform and to choose our own path aspiring for member­ship in the European Union and NATO.

We do not want war. We know by our own tragic expe­ri­ence that nothing is more harmful and fright­ening than when the military machines start fighting. We under­stand that Germany also remembers the war victims. This under­standing of evil is uniting us. We remember the Nazi occu­pa­tion with so many victims and the genocide of our Jewish popu­la­tion. We also remember the times when Stalin‘s terror was ruling our people and the Great Famine — genocide against Ukrainians, which was delib­er­ately created by him, killing millions of our ancestors.

We do want to live in peace with all our neighbors. We want to live in peace with Russia. We want that to happen on the basis of inter­na­tional law and full restora­tion of our terri­to­rial integrity, sover­eignty, and independence.

But today we see that Putin is getting ready to make his troops march again in a new level of attack on us. Shall we have no chance to keep the Russian military to occupy our country?

You say „Never a war again“ and draw that as a conclu­sion from your history.

What do you tell to people though, who are being attacked and did not start the fighting?

Preven­tion of the war means that the aggressor takes the risk that he might not win. Preven­tion might work if you are unrolling preven­tive sanctions and if we are so well equipped and well skilled that risk is too high to even start a war.

Your govern­ment unfor­tu­nately has decided not to help equip us, knowing well how much the Russian military has been modern­ized over the last years.

We call on you, dear colleagues-parlia­men­tar­ians, not to share this approach. Do you really want to leave us badly equipped? Do you really think it is just and respon­sible to keep others from equipping us? What do you answer us, Ukrainians, who have to face the fact that the war is already there and new aggres­sion must be prevented? What do you say to us who are ready to defend our own land, but need your engage­ment and action in deterring the aggressor, as well as helping us to be fully prepared to fight?

We heard that you want to send us a mobile military hospital. Being sincerely grateful for any support, we would like to under­stand — does that mean that you expect a war to come and that’s how you define efficient support to those who most likely will be attacked?

Inter­na­tional law allows the right to defend oneself. We are prepared to do that but do not see your government’s actions leaving us under­equipped mili­tarily as a real move of solidary and support.

You might argue that you want to prevent Russian attack by other means than military fighting. We totally share that wish.

But we saw you welcoming and building a North Stream‑2 gas line from Russia which makes gas delivered through Ukraine unnec­es­sary and thus makes us more vulner­able, moreover, this move also puts European and German energy security at risk.

We hear both govern­mental officials and oppo­si­tion party leaders in Germany doubting cutting Russia off SWIFT as an efficient sanction, or being worried that this sanction would harm Germany’s economy.

We remember many of you cheering us when we fought for our freedom on Maidan. Can you really bear leaving us alone when freedom as a basic right of human beings and nations is at stake?

It is crucial to under­stand, that Russian aggres­sion is a threat not only to Ukraine’s security but is a real threat to the safety of Europe as a whole. Your further pros­perity and security directly depend on the survival of free, inde­pen­dent, demo­c­ratic Ukraine.

The threat of war can only be averted by joint efforts, including preven­tive measures towards the aggressor and direct and full support to the potential victim, including the provision of defensive weapons. Only such a coherent approach might restrain the aggressor from reckless actions.

A set of tools is at your disposal which could demon­strate the seri­ous­ness of the conse­quences in case of Russia’s new wave of attack on Ukraine. They range from inter­na­tional isolation and Russia’s expulsion from all inter­na­tional insti­tu­tions; from termi­na­tion of economic, invest­ment, and financial coop­er­a­tion, including discon­nec­tion from SWIFT; from refusal to import Russian hydro­car­bons, as well as raw materials; to freezing Russian assets and imposing personal sanctions against Putin’s inner circle.

Another preven­tive measure is the strength­ened the defensive capacity of the Ukrainian army. Ukraine needs military-technical support from partners, including Germany. In this regard, parlia­men­tar­ians can play a key role.

Ukrainians have been upholding Western forefront for 8 years with high resolve, dignity, and dedi­ca­tion.  Therefore, it is regret­table for us to hear strange state­ments of some German officials with regard to the future of illegally occupied Crimea, or the prospect of Ukraine’s member­ship in NATO, or refusal to help with weapons or even to preclude others from helping. All of these play along Russian propa­ganda aimed at dividing European and EuroAt­lantic community of nations, as well as under­mining bilateral relations between our countries.

We hope that you, dear colleagues, as Bundestag members, will be ready to once again polit­i­cally re-assess the situation and prevent possible negative conse­quences in the future.

Taking this oppor­tu­nity, we would like to ask you to take the lead and act in adjusting accord­ingly German position, policy, and approach to living up to the geopo­lit­ical challenge, soli­darity, and responsibility.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: «In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”. We hope, we will remember and cherish the actions of our friends, including Germany.

It is impos­sible to achieve peace by appeasing the aggressor. It’s still not too late to change the approach. We do hope for your soli­darity and support.

We express our full readiness to further deepen bilateral inter-parlia­men­tary coop­er­a­tion and are looking forward to the contin­u­a­tion of the direct dialogue with you.

Yours sincerely,

On behalf of members of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parlia­men­tary Cooperation
Oleksandr Merezhko 
Chair of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parlia­men­tary Cooperation,
“Servant of the People” Party

On behalf of members of the Committee on Ukraine’s Inte­gra­tion into the EU
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze
Chair of the Committee on Ukraine’s Inte­gra­tion into the EU,
“European Soli­darity” Party


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