Feb. 24, 2022, will forever be recalled as the day when Russia started its brutal, unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine. This was, and remains, a case of pure aggression and a clear-cut breach of the UN Charter. This war is neither “just a European issue,” nor is it about the “West versus the rest.”
It is about the kind of world we all want to live in: no one is safe in a world where the illegal use of force — by a nuclear power and a permanent member of the Security Council — would somehow be “normalized.” That is why international law must be enforced everywhere to protect everyone from power politics, blackmail and military attack.
One year on, there is a risk people become inured to the images of war crimes and atrocities that they see because there are so many; that the words we use start to lose their significance because we have to repeat them so often; that we get tired and weaken our resolve because time is passing and the task at hand is hard.
This we cannot do. Because every day, Russia keeps violating the UN Charter, creating a dangerous precedent for the whole world with its imperialist policy. Every day, Russia keeps killing innocent Ukrainian women, men and children, raining down its missiles on cities and civilian infrastructure. Every day, Russia keeps spreading lies and fabrications.
For the European Union and our partners, there is no alternative to staying the course of our “triple strategy”: supporting Ukraine, putting pressure on Russia to stop its illegal aggression, and helping the rest of the world cope with the fallout.
This is what we have been doing for one year now — and successfully so. We have adopted unprecedented sanctions; cut our dependency on Russian fossil fuels; and in close collaboration with key partners, reduced by 50 per cent the energy revenues the Kremlin gets to finance its aggression.
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Working together, we have also mitigated the global ripple effects, with food and energy prices declining, thanks in part to our Solidarity Lanes and to the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
It is not enough to say that we want Ukraine to be able to defend itself — it needs the means to do so. So, for the first time ever, the EU has supplied weapons to a country under attack. Indeed, the EU is now the leading provider of military training for Ukrainian personnel so they can defend their country. We are also offering significant macro-financial and humanitarian aid to support the Ukrainian people. And we have decided to respond positively to Ukraine’s request to join the EU. Finally, we are working to ensure accountability for the war crimes Russia has committed.
Ukraine has shown remarkable resilience, partly thanks to this support. And Russia has grown more isolated, thanks to global sanctions and the international condemnation by the overwhelming majority of states in the UN General Assembly. Our collective goal is and remains a democratic Ukraine that prevails: pushing out the invader, restoring its full sovereignty and, with that, restoring international legality.
Above all, we want peace in Ukraine, a comprehensive and lasting peace that is in line with the UN Charter and international law. Supporting Ukraine and working for peace go hand in hand.
Russia’s actions are a frontal attack on the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty and international law. If Russia were to succeed, the repercussions would spread globally, as this aggression is a textbook example of an imperialist mindset.
We need to be clear that Russian actions are responsible for the economic shock waves being experienced. Acting in lockstep, the EU, Canada and other like-minded partners have supplied massive defence, humanitarian and financial aid to Ukraine, and levied heavy sanctions on Russia and its war machine. We have also worked together to tackle Russian disinformation about the war and its consequences. Our joint efforts have helped blunt the global food and energy crisis resulting from Russia’s war. Our transatlantic partnership has proven to be strong and unwavering.
History and justice are on Ukraine’s side. But to accelerate history and achieve justice, we need to amplify our “triple strategy.” We know this is a collective task. That is why the EU is counting on all its partners to act in a spirit of joint responsibility and solidarity and to ensure that aggression fails and international law prevails.
Josep Borrell Fontelles is the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy and vice-president of the European Commission.
I'm disappointed at the one
I'm disappointed at the one-sided narrative of this piece. No mention of Seymour Hersh's expose about the Americans and Norwegians sabotage of the Nord Stream Natural Gas pipelines; A German and Russian project.
No mention that this was planned months before the Russian incursion.
Also no mention of the American organized Coup in Ukraine in 2014. This was to put a Western friendly government in power. No mention about the UN Observers in Eastern Ukraine before the war reporting a quick build up of Ukrainian Artillery strikes against the Russian Ethnic population. Days before the Russian incursion they reported over 2,000 Artillery strikes in just one day! Russian actions should be looked at as an attempt to stop this Ukrainian hostility towards its own citizens. This Geopolitical strategy by the Americans was planned in advance and the Russians were Provoked into it. If you need a reference to a real illegal invasion, look at the American and British invasion of Iraq. I expect better from your publication.
Utter bullshit from the Putin
Utter bullshit from the Putin propaganda machine. Totally bereft of accuracy, historical facts and evidence. I rank that narrative down there in the intellectual basement with Nazis, Satanists, evidence-free Ukrainian biolabs and zombies. Readers would be right to think multiple allegations like those would have cited multiple credible sources. "Credible" means checkable facts and sources that can be independently verified by multiple credible researchers.
What's the lowest hanging fruit of false criticism? Plain-as-day deflection from the topic at hand, which is the war in Ukraine, not the sins of America that could be published in a separate article. And the dismissal of a human tragedy playing out in Europe before the eyes of the world. Don't like what you see? Or support the opposing view? Easy. Change the subject.