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“Moscow regards concessions as a sign of weakness,” says Ukrainian civil society ahead of Biden-Putin call | Open letter

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy (left) met US President Biden in Washington DC on 1 September 2021. Photo:
“Moscow regards concessions as a sign of weakness,” says Ukrainian civil society ahead of Biden-Putin call | Open letter
Ahead of a call between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which follows more than a month of a mounting warscare, Ukrainian civil society representatives remind that each attempt “to listen to the Kremlin” has led to another escalation, not a reduction in tensions. We publish their open letter.

6 December 2021


Dear Mr. President,

On December 7, 2021, a video conference will be held between the Presidents of the United States and Russia. The “question of Ukraine” was announced as one of the cornerstone issues for discussion. Over the past few weeks, US officials have spoken out on ways to resolve the threat of armed confrontation between Russia and Ukraine. Because of the seriousness of recent developments, Ukrainians are paying special attention to this meeting.

Over the past eight years, the Kremlin leadership has taken considerable visible and covert measures to convince the world of Putin’s real intentions to revive the Soviet Evil Empire. This policy is being implemented on the territory of Russia itself, against the civil and human rights of indigenous peoples, as well as against other sovereign states and international organizations. It would be superfluous to list all the aggressive criminal actions perpetrated by Putin and his entourage, be it poisonings, targeted assassinations, artificial migrant crises, or war, all of which threaten the stability and lives of millions in Europe and around the world. The Kremlin is cynically seizing foreign territories, interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign states, exporting terrorism, engaging in cyberterrorism, destroying the environment, and using illicit weapons against civilians.

Ukrainians feel the consequences of this criminal activity in their daily lives. Russia’s ongoing armed aggression against Ukraine has forced millions of people to flee their homes. Every day, fighting inflicts injuries and deaths, the regime of occupation systematically violates the rights of the local population, and more and more hostages are taken prisoners.

We hope that the representatives of your Administration are aware of all these facts, because recently, in a letter from Ukrainian journalist Oleksii Bessarabov, who has been languishing in a Russian prison for six years, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken assured him and other Ukrainian hostages that “the United States of America has not forgotten about you and dozens of your unjustly convicted fellow citizens.”

Eight years of Russia’s active confrontation with Ukraine and the West have been enough to prove that each attempt “to listen to the Kremlin” has led to another escalation, not a reduction in tensions. Evidence of this is Washington’s review of the Nord Stream 2 sanctions regime. In response, Moscow did not hesitate to “thank you.” Europe’s gas market immediately suffered an artificial crisis, due to deliberate manipulation by the Russians. Russia has continued to actively take over Belarus, and with Lukashenko’s hands, it is terrorizing the countries of the Free World, either by organized delivery of “migrants” to the border or by systematic threats. In fact, it was in response to the easing of sanctions against Nord Stream 2 that Russia began to draw a huge number of weapons and military into Ukraine’s borders.

Moscow has always regarded any concessions as a sign of weakness. We, Ukrainians, can confirm this long-proven axiom. Therefore, we assure you that #UkrainiansWillResist to successfully win the war for the sake of their freedom and sovereignty. Regular opinion polls in Ukraine and Europe show that Ukrainians have one of the highest rates of readiness on the continent to fight for their country with weapons in hand. The Summits for Democracy initiated by you are a good idea for the solidarity and consolidation of the world’s democracies in the face of rising autocracies. However, now democracy not only needs a summit but, above all, protection.

We believe that during your talks with Putin, you will adhere to a guiding principle: no decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine. Mutual trust and partnership relations between our countries are based on this position. At this juncture in time, we express our deep gratitude to all the American people for their continued and consistent support for our state. We believe that by working together we are nearing the moment of Ukraine’s accession to full membership in NATO.

We also want to emphasize that the implementation of the Minsk agreements under Russia’s dictatorship cannot be a way to a peaceful settlement. Since 2015, public opinion polls have consistently shown that most Ukrainians do not support the provisions of these agreements. Attempts to limit Ukraine’s sovereignty through the implementation of the Minsk agreements will have catastrophic consequences for the security of the whole Europe. The solution to the current crisis should be sought through coercive and severe punitive measures, not aimed at the victim of aggression, but through a coalition of international pressure on Russia as a systematic violator of international law and order and through immediate, enhanced military support for Ukraine.

Yesterday, marked the anniversary of the signing of the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, which sadly failed to protect a nuclear-free Ukraine from an attack on its sovereignty. Today, countries like Iran, are carefully watching developments in Ukraine. They will view the failure to stand up for Ukraine as a green light for bad behavior by other rogue nations. If the US and its European partners fail to protect Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity, if Russia is not stopped, the West will have shown the world that international agreements are pointless and peace-loving nations, like Ukraine, cannot count on their Western partners.

We are convinced that the struggle of the Ukrainian people against Eastern despotism at the vanguard of Western civilization deserves deep respect and comprehensive support. The United States and Ukraine must act in the spirit of the renewed Strategic Partnership Charter. We assure you that the Ukrainian people, along with our free Eastern European neighbors, are, and will remain, a reliable ally of the United States in the struggle for freedom, democracy, international stability, and prosperity.

Most respectfully,
representatives of
Ukrainian civil society

  1. Solomiia Bobrovska, Member of Parliament of IX convocation
  2. Halyna Vasylchenko, Member of Parliament of IX convocation
  3. Yulia Klymenko, Member of Parliament of IX convocation
  4. Iryna Gerashchenko, Member of Parliament of IX convocation
  5. Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Member of Parliament of IX convocation
  6. Mariia Ionova, Member of Parliament of IX convocation
  7. Iryna Friz, Member of Parliament of IX convocation
  8. Josef Zissels, Kyiv, former political prisoner, First of December Initiative Group
  9. Volodymyr Vasylenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine
  10. Hanna Hopko, Head of ANTS Network, PhD in Social Communication
  11. Myroslav Marynovych, Lviv, former political prisoner, UCU Vice-Rector, First of December Initiative Group
  12. Mykhailo Gonchar, President of CGS Strategy XXI
  13. Serhiy Kvit, Professor of National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
  14. Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar People
  15. Roman Bezsmertnyi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine
  16. Olena Styazhkina, historian, writer
  17. Volodymyr Ohryzko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine in 2007-2009
  18. Ihor Kozlovsky, President of the Center for Religious Studies and International Spiritual Relations, Senior Research Fellow at Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, First of December Initiative Group
  19. Olya Hnatyuk, Kyiv, Vice-President of the Ukrainian PEN Center, Professor of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and the University of Warsaw, First of December Initiative Group
  20. Mykola Horbal, Kyiv, poet, former political prisoner
  21. Taras Voznyak, Editor of NGO Magazine Ї
  22. Yevhen Zakharov, Human Rights Defender, Director of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, Member of the Board of the Memorial International Society, First of December Initiative Group
  23. Anatoliy Podolsky, Ph.D., head of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies, leading researcher at the Kuras Institute for Political and Ethnonational Studies, NAS of Ukraine
  24. Agiya Zagrebelska, Founder of Antitrust League
  25. Ostap Kryvdyk, Analyst at AC UCU, Ukrainian strategic initiative
  26. Oleksandr Khara, Fellow of Centre of Defence Strategies
  27. Yaroslav Yatskiv, Kyiv, Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, First of December Initiative Group
  28. Walter Zaryckyj, PhD, Executive Director Center for US-Ukrainian Relations
  29. Andriy Lyubka, PEN Ukraine member
  30. Andrii Teteruk, Member of Parliament of VIII convocation
  31. Victoria Voytsitska, Member of the Parliament of VIII convocation
  32. Oleksiy Garan, Kyiv, Professor of Political Science, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Scientific Director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation
  33. Heorhii Tuka, public figure, volunteer
  34. Mykola Hryckowian, President of Organization for the Defense of the Four Freedoms of Ukraine (ODFFU)
  35. Ihor Lapin, Russo-Ukrainian war veteran, human rights activist, member of parliament of VIII convocation, co-coordinator of Resistance to Capitulation Movement
  36. Andrii Yusov, Director of “School of responsible politics”
  37. Andrii Levus, Head of Oversight council Ukrainian strategic initiative
  38. Mykhailo Basarab, Political analyst
  39. Borys Babin, Expert at Assosiation of Reintegration of Crimea
  40. Ihor Lutsenko, Member of Parliament of VIII convocation
  41. Yevhen Mahda, Executive director at Institute of World Policy
  42. Anatoliy Dnistrovyi, author, board member at PEN Ukraine
  43. Volodymyr Horbach, Political analyst at Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation
  44. Ihor Koliushko, Head of the Board at Centre for Policy and Legal Reform
  45. Yuriy Lutsenko, Kyiv, public figure, former political prisoner
  46. Ivan Vasyunyk, Kyiv, statesman and public figure
  47. Viktor Taran, CEO at “Digital reputation”
  48. Illia Kononov, Spokesman of Resistance to Capitulation Movement
  49. Vitalii Bala, Director at Agency for Situation Modelling
  50. Larysa Volovyk, President / Founder of the Kharkiv Holocaust Museum Public Organization
  51. Ostap Yednak, Board member at National Interests Advocacy Network ANTS
  52. Myroslav Hai, Foundation Mir&Co, co-coordinator of Resistance to Capitulation Movement
  53. Alfiya Shevchenko, Kyiv, Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine
  54. Taras Stetskiv, Member of Ukrainian Parliament in 1990-2006, 2007-2012
  55. Borys Potapenko, Member of LUC/ODFFU
  56. Volodymyr Kurennoy, Member of Parliament of V, Vll and VIII convocations, Freedom and Democracy Foundation
  57. Yuriy Pidlisnyy, Chair of the political science department at Ukrainian Catholic University
  58. Vladyslav Golub, Member of the Parliament of VII convocation
  59. Yuriy Goncharenko, Vice-president of Foundation for democracy assistance
  60. Bronislav Tutelman, Chernivtsi, artist, Honored Artist of Ukraine
  61. Anatoliy Tkachuk, Director for science and development at Civil Sosiety Institute
  62. Pavlo Rizanenko, Member of Parliament of VII and VIII convocations
  63. Zoya Kazanzhy, Strategic consultant at Communication consulting E`COMM
  64. Tetyana Pastushenko, Kyiv, senior researcher at the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
  65. Borys Zakharov, Kyiv, Director of the “Lyudyna i Pravo” Charitable Foundation
  66. Yevhen Bystrytsky, Head of Election Council UA
  67. Mykola Kushnir, Chernivtsi, historian, director of the Jewish Museum
  68. Serhii Savchenko, Head of Center for Analytical Studies and Countering Hybrid Threats
  69. Leonid Kozachenko, Chairman of the Council at Enterpreneurs Council at the Government of Ukraine
  70. Vitaliy Kolomiets, lawer at «OK Legal» law firm
  71. Oleksii Mushak, Member of Parliament 2014-2019, economic adviser to the Prime Minister 2019-2020
  72. Ashot Topchian, Director of Ukrainian strategic initiative
  73. Petro Kiyan, Co-coordinator of Pravotvorets initiative
  74. Anatoii Lutsenko, CEO of GMT GROUP
  75. Halyna Kharaz, Kyiv, Vaad of Ukraine
  76. Ihor Markov, Senior Research fellow at Institute of Ethnology of National Academy of Sciences
  77. Pavlo Podobied, Chairman of the Board at The charitable foundation “Heroyika”
  78. Olexander Shyrshyn, Chernivtsi, Chairman of the “UA group” Public Organization
  79. Oleh Yaskiv, Vice-rector for Science at Ukrainian Catholic University
  80. Artem Myrhorodskyi, СЕО at «GreenAge»
  81. Sergiy Shtepa, Professor at National Aviation University
  82. Kateryna Musiienko, APA at European Parliament
  83. Ruslana Potapenko, PhD at Hryhorii Skovoroda University in Pereiaslav
  84. Taras Plakhtiy, Independent researcher of political parties
  85. Sergiy Parkhomenko, Director of O.Nykonorov Centre of Foreign Policy Studies OPAD
  86. Lyubov Krupnyk, Kyiv, researcher, UINM
  87. Serhii Repik, Head of NGO “YNC”
  88. Dariia Taran, CEO at NGO “Result”
  89. Ruslan Rokhov, Managing partner of PGR Consulting Group LLC
  90. Zoya Garkavenko, President of ACADEMY OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
  91. Yohanan Petrovsky-Stern, Chicago, Professor of History
  92. Bohdan Pankevych, Head of the Department at NGO Ukrainian Galicijan Assembly
  93. Petro Makovskyi, Head of Board of Directors of Credit union “Vyhoda”
  94. Pavlo Bilous, co-coordinator of Resistance to Capitulation Movement
  95. Pavlo Zhovnirenko, Head of the Board at NGO CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES
  96. Roman Kulyk, researcher, UINM
  97. Oleksiy Borovskiy, Associate Professor at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
  98. Roman Sohn, Chairman at Direct Initiative International Centre for Ukraine
  99. Ariana Gic, Director of Direct Initiative International Centre for Ukraine
  100. Sviatoslav Litynskyi, Director of NGO Nezalezni
  101. Oleksandr Yabchanka, teacher at Ukrainian Catholic University
  102. Alina Maiorova, Executive Director of Security Environment Research Center “Prometheus”
  103. Mykola Saveliev, Editor in Chief at Newspaper “Ratusha”
  104. Svitlana Blagodietielieva-Vovk, Head of the Council at NGO GPES
  105. Oleksander Sosnytskyi, entrepreneur, community leader
  106. Volodymyr Volovodiuk, Chieftain of Vinnytsia Cossack Regiment named after Ivan Bohun
  107. Oleh Leontyev, lawer
  108. Jechiel Fischzon, Jerusalem, poet
  109. Svitlana Kopylova, Kyiv, lawyer
  110. Petro Rykhlo, Chernivtsi, professor of National University of Chernivtsi
  111. Tetyana Khorunzha, Kyiv, editor of the Forum of Nations newspaper
  112. Vyacheslav Perch, Kyiv, lawyer
  113. Kyrylo Danylchenko, Kyiv, Vaad of Ukraine


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