'No to the war in eastern Ukraine', anti-war conference says

Monday, July 21, 2014

The statement below was issued as a “declaration of the assembly of citizens of Ukraine and representatives of international solidarity networks” at an anti-war conference in Yalta, Crimea on July 7.

The text is reprinted from Canadian socialist Roger Annis's blog, who attended the conference and signed the statement. You can read the full list of signatories to the statement.

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A major human rights and humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Ukraine. The government that took power in Kiev in February is conducting a brutal military assault in the south-east of the country.

The European Union Association Agreement, signed by the government on June 30, and its austerity program promise to sharply cut living standards and effectively demolish industry, largely located in the south-east.

The government includes ministers from far-right parties. One measure of its early extremism, soon withdrawn, was to make Ukrainian the only official language, violating the language rights of millions of speakers of Russian, Hungarian and other languages.

This right-wing government was immediately recognised and given extensive financial, diplomatic and military support by the US, British and European Union governments. They aim to open up Ukraine to investment for international finance and capital.

The US also aims to further its long-standing project of countering Russia’s power in the Eurasian region by drawing its neighbouring countries into the orbit of NATO. This can only further destabilise the region.

Protesters against the Kiev government have been arrested, jailed, attacked and driven into exile. One of the worst cases of violence was the murder of at least 48 anti-fascist protesters in Odessa on May 2.

People in the south-east of Ukraine have sought to protect themselves in the face of of the Kyiv government’s violent agenda. Their peaceful demonstrations against austerity and demands for autonomy were violently met by armed gangs, fascist paramilitaries, and the new National Guard, many of whose members are drawn from the parties of the far right.

In a referendum in May, the people of the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk voted overwhelmingly for self-rule and declared autonomous people’s republics.

As the Kiev government seeks to regain these areas, it is engaged in killing its citizens and denying them access to food, water and medicines.

We, representatives of the people from south-east and central Ukraine, and delegates from networks of international solidarity with the resistance to war in Ukraine, make this appeal for urgent worldwide action. We call:
1. For an immediate end to the war by the Kiev government;
2. For direct talks between Kiev and the representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics;
3. For an immediate end to the Kiev government’s human rights violations;
4. For an international solidarity movement addressing the immediate and long-term needs of the people currently under attack, raising funds for humanitarian relief and support for their political struggle through non-violent means and exposing what is really happening in the region;
5. For an international inquiry headed by jurists and human rights advocates into the human rights violations and war crimes that have been committed in the course of this war;
6. For an end to present and planned austerity policies;
7. For an end to NATO, EU, US military support for the Kiev government;
8. For immediate cancellation of the NATO manoeuvres in Ukraine and in central and eastern Europe designed to give further material and moral support to the Kiev government and its civil war; and
9. For an international protest against the NATO summit in Wales in September.

Alan Freeman (United Kingdom)
Radhika Desai (Canada)
Richard Brenner (United Kingdom)
Hermann Dworczak (Austrua)
Jeffrey Sommers (USA)
Roger Annis (Canada)
Tord Björk (Sweden)
Kai Ehlers (Germany)
Boris Kagarlitsky (Russia)
Vasiliy Koltashov (Russia)
Alla Glintchikova (Russia)
Vladimir Rogov (Ukraine)
Aleksei Anpilogov (Ukraine)
Aleksei Albu (Ukraine)
Yana Manuilova (Donetsk People’s Republic)
Anastsia Pyaterikova (Lugansk People’s Republic)

Ukrainian organizations:
Centre for Coordination and Support of Ukrainian Federation
Union of Ukrainian Citizens
Borot’ba Political Party
Slavic Guard (Zaporozh’e)
People’s Unity (Khar’kov)
Lugansk Guard
Initiative groups of Antifascist resistance from Sumy, Kijev, Dnepropetrovsk,
Zaporozh’e, Odessa

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From GLW issue 1017