Putin must be branded a war criminal

State­ment on the Russian inva­sion of Ukraine

Putin’s war against Ukraine is a Euro­pean cat­a­stro­phe and an attack on the fun­da­men­tal values of the Euro­pean com­mu­nity: freedom, national sov­er­eignty, renun­ci­a­tion of vio­lence and the invi­o­la­bil­ity of borders. Putin’s call for the “denaz­i­fi­ca­tion” of Ukraine and the over­throw of an allegedly “ille­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment” is an unprece­dented cyn­i­cism. This tragedy was also long in the making. German and Euro­pean politi­cians have far too long turned a blind eye to the Kremlin’s violent policies.

With our policy of appease­ment and growing depen­dence on Russian gas and oil we have been feeding a monster. Now the West must respond united and employ the full arsenal of sanc­tions against Russia’s energy and finan­cial sectors. Putin must be branded a war crim­i­nal, Russia iso­lated polit­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally. Any hes­i­ta­tion and half-heart­ed­ness only strength­ens Russian aggres­sion. Beyond this, we must com­pletely reori­ent our secu­rity and energy poli­cies. We must be pre­pared to bear the costs nec­es­sary to defend Europe’s polit­i­cal order.