EuromaidanSOS: Sanctions are not enough!

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Appeal of Ukrainian civil society to the EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Luxemburg tomorrow.

As EuromaydanSOS noted on 12 April 2014, Russia started its invasion of mainland Ukraine, in a clear parallel to developments in Crimea. See the statement here.

Please take it seriously that these attacks on administrative buildings in Eastern Ukraine are conducted by well trained, coordinated armed personnel – these are NO spontaneous protesters. This video from Kramatorsk (Donetsk Region), for instance, shows how a trained commando with automatic rifles tries to overwhelm a police station, later brings a group of about 50 mobsters that are seemingly supposed to overtake the police station.

When this attempt fails, mobsters are sent back and the commando opens fire on the station. There is no doubt that these commandos’ actions are well a conceived military operation. (Indeed, the town of Sloviansk is a railway crossroads with an airport nearby, a strategic choice in military terms.) There are many other testimonies from the witnesses and the media on the ground confirming this fact.
As in many other societies, there are differences in Ukrainian society, too – social, ethnic or linguistic. And these would be best accommodated in an open democratic process. However, there is realistic fear that Russia will continue its aggressive propaganda and provocations to incite some of these differences into real conflicts, and use this as a pretext for its military presence. And the threat of this situation spiralling into a genuine open war is real. Russia has no intention of changing its current behaviour. 

The EU has a lot of instruments to mitigate the risks of bloodshed:

  • Have sound analysis on Russia. Some countries in the EU believe they understand Russia better than others, yet this has proven wrong – so why not listen more to Central or Eastern Europeans, those who have been exposed to Russia’s aggressive foreign policies as some of their concerns are coming true worryingly fast?
  • Think beyond economic sanctions for Russia. It took less than a month from the annexation of Crimea to the invasion. Economic sanctions are a step in a good direction, but in its current force are clearly not strong enough to stop Russia’s aggression. Russia will not be appeased. If it’s not stopped now, it will have to be stopped later – at much greater costs. Historic parallels to Germany in 1930s are chillingly topical.
  • In aid to Ukraine, thinking beyond economic measures is needed, too. Without basic security, there will be no room to implement reforms and use well the generous package of international financial aid to Ukraine. With respect to a looming default, some financial assistance may be needed even before the IMF package.
  • Ensure high-rank presence on the ground in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. Three EU foreign ministers present in Kyiv managed to bring the then President, who ordered shooting at the Maydan, to the table and achieved a breakthrough – before Russia took further steps.
  • Conduct broad monitoring on the ground in Eastern and Southern Ukraine, and publish its results. A monitoring mission to Crimea, which would observe the human rights situation is also desperately needed.
  • Visa liberalisation, as an important signal for Ukrainian society, is needed. We know that it depends first of all on the obligations carried out by the Ukrainian government, but we ask you to be as flexible as possible.
  • Most importantly, Ukraine needs assistance in ensuring basic security. The recently floated idea of EU police mission to Ukraine is worth implementing. Fast. Any assistance to Ukrainian army (military, logistical, supplies etc.) would be a clear signal to Russia that the EU is not giving up on Ukraine, and also to Ukrainian society where the victims of the struggle for European values are still remembered with pain.
  • If you think that some of these insights are driven by emotions, rather than rational analysis, why don’t you think back to the Friday of 21 February when after the horror of shooting into protesters an agreement was reached between Yanukovych and the opposition and it seemed to be the end of a horrible crisis; when someone told you at that point that Russia’s response would be annexing Crimea, wouldn’t you think that the person is just “too emotional”?

Looking forward to your support.
Sincerely,
EuromaydanSOS

 

Source: EuromaidanSOS FB

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