CODEPINK strongly condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where over a million civilians have fled the country in fear of explosive weapons and missile attacks, while remaining residents from eastern to western Ukraine seek refuge in underground subways and bomb shelters. As an international peace organization, we call for an immediate ceasefire, negotiations without preconditions, withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, an end to NATO expansion and a return to the negotiating table to address the security interests of all stakeholders. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people under vicious attack and with the thousands of courageous Russian anti-war activists risking arrest and imprisonment to protest in the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
There is no military solution to the conflict over Ukraine, a country caught in the crossfire between the United States and Russia, the world’s two most heavily armed nuclear nations. While we denounce Putin’s reckless veiled threat to launch nuclear weapons against NATO countries, we also recognize the United States government is culpable in the proliferation and deployment of nuclear weapons, and must reverse course on its decision to pursue nuclear rearmament and instead advance verifiable agreements for global nuclear disarmament.
In condemning Putin’s invasion of a sovereign country, the shelling of a Ukrainian hospital, the tanks closing in on Kyiv, we understand the U.S. has played a major role in exacerbating this conflict, facilitating a 2014 coup to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Ukraine and breaking promises not to expand NATO into Eastern Europe, where offensive missiles in Romania and Poland could reach Russia in minutes.
Though some will argue NATO is a defensive alliance of 30 countries, we view NATO as a threat to world peace with its military encirclement of Russia and support for U.S. military aggression in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, where an estimated million died under a rain of bombs and millions more were displaced. NATO’s aggressive stance on China, another nuclear-armed nation, also threatens world peace and efforts to unite in the face of existential climate catastrophe.
In advance of the NATO summit in June, CODEPINK calls for an international security agreement to protect the interests of all Europeans to remain free from war and occupation. Such an agreement should have been forged after the fall of the Soviet Union and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact; instead the U.S. and NATO sought further militarization in a continuance of the Cold War that spawned multiple hot wars, from Korea to Vietnam.
To prevent further fighting in Ukraine, to stop the loss of life, bloodshed and grave environmental degradation from the bombing of munitions plants, let us return to the 2015 Minsk II agreement that established a blueprint for peace and an end to the civil war rocking eastern Ukraine. Ukraine should be a neutral country; its incorporation into NATO should be off the table as a starting point for diplomacy.
During this perilous time, when further military escalation could trigger a Chernobyl radioactive meltdown or push us to the brink of nuclear annihilation, we urge President Biden and Congress to stop the flow of weapons to Ukraine, offer humanitarian assistance and safe refuge instead, renew lapsed arms control treaties (Anti-Ballistic Missile, Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces, Open Skies) the U.S. abandoned with Russia, and reject the imposition of massive sanctions that will harm the Russian people who, like us, want peace and security.
Blanket sanctions on the entire Russian economy could spread economic and environmental hardship to Europe and potentially the global community with energy price hikes that may reduce energy consumption in the short term but prompt more oil drilling and lethal burning of fossil fuels in the long term.
In solidarity with anti-war protesters in Russia and across Europe, we call on the world’s peace-loving people, including conscripted front-line soldiers, to join us in a massive unified response to say:
No to War in Ukraine; Yes to Negotiations and Peace.