“If ‘never a war again,’ what do you tell the people who are being attacked?” Ukraine parliament appeals to Bundestag

Ukraine appeals Bundestag

The building of the Bundestag, the German Parliament, in Berlin, Germany. Credit: depositphotos 

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The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine appeals to the German Bundestag, asking parliamentarians to take the lead in adjusting German policy to provide defensive aid to Ukraine in the face of a possible Russian attack.

“You say “Never a war again“ and draw that as a conclusion from your history. What do you tell the people, though, who are being attacked and did not start the fighting?” they ask.

The Committee on Ukraine’s EU Integration and the Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation addressed a joint letter to the Bundestag urging German deputies to reconsider Germany’s policy towards Ukraine against the background of the Russian threat.

“Germany’s behavior in recent days undermines our good relations with this country. In the situation in which Ukraine finds itself, not arming us and even preventing our partners from doing so is irresponsible and short-sighted. And there can be no ambiguity politicians are unconvincing. Because this is not a policy of appeasement, but encouragement of war. And this is better known in Germany than anywhere else,” said Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, chair of the Committee on Ukraine’s EU Integration.

The letter emphasizes that “prevention might work if you are unrolling preventive sanctions and if we are so well-equipped and well-skilled that the risk is too high to even start a war.”

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

Ukrainian parliamentarians urge German colleagues not to share this approach.

“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?” the letter asks.

Euromaidan Press has obtained the full version of the letter which we publish below.

Ukraine appeals to the Bundestag: appeasing the aggressor doesn’t work

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.

The 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 a pro-Kremlin leader in Kyiv).

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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 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 neighbors, 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 neighbors, 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.

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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. Furthermore, 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 the people, though, who are being attacked and did not start the fighting?

You say “Never a war again“ and draw that as a conclusion from your history. What do you tell the people, though, who are being attacked and did not start the fighting? Ukraine's parliament appeals to Bundestag Click To Tweet

Preventing a 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 to 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 a Russian attack by other means than military fighting. We totally share that wish.

But we saw you welcoming and building a Nord Stream-2 pipeline 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.

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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 bare 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 it is a real threat to the safety of Europe as a whole. Your further prosperity and security directly depend on the survival of a free, independent and 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 potential victims, 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.

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Another preventive measure is the strengthened 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 the European and EuroAtlantic community of nations, as well as undermining the 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 live 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.

It is impossible to achieve peace by appeasing the aggressor. It's still not too late to change the approach. - Ukraine's Rada appeals to Bundestag Click To Tweet

We express our full readiness to further deepen bilateral inter-parliamentary cooperation and are looking forward to 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

Background

Earlier, in November 2021, Berlin vetoed Ukraine’s purchase of anti-drone rifles and anti-sniper systems through a NATO procurement agency from Lithuania. In January, Germany reiterated its refusal to send defensive weapons to Ukraine that according to Kyiv would help the country fend off a potential Russian invasion. This is part of a new German peace policy aiming at restricting arms exports and fostering peace via diplomacy. And on 21 January Germany had blocked NATO ally Estonia from delivering German-made weapons to Ukraine.

Days later, the chief of Germany’s navy resigned after arguing that Putin “deserves respect” and Kyiv will never win back annexed Crimea. His statements were echoed by Prime Minister of Bavaria, Germany Markus Söder who said Russia is a difficult partner, but not an enemy. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry noted that such statements can harm Ukrainian-German relations.

Germany’s official position has met criticism, with over 70 East European experts calling upon the country to “fundamentally correct” its Russia policy.

73 East Europe experts call on Germany to “fundamentally correct” Russia policy

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