One year of war in Ukraine: the EU should keep acting for democracy, peace and the defence of human rights

On the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, EFA regrets that the conflict persists and calls for further humanitarian support for Ukrainian people and those fleeing from the war

On 24 February 2022, the Russian Federation escalated its conflict in Ukraine into a full-fledged invasion, bringing war back to Europe for the first time in over 20 years.

One year on, the war is still ongoing, with devastating consequences for the Ukrainian people and the whole of Europe. EFA expresses its grave concern at the recent news that a new Russian offensive is underway, and that President Putin continues to ramp up the rhetoric against Ukraine and “the West” as a whole. Such escalation is a worrying sign in a war that has already produced shocking war crimes and atrocities.

We stand with all the peoples of Ukraine, including national minorities, against Putin’s aggression. They have demonstrated incredible resistance and bravery. Europe must not weaken its support for them, so that they will also have the opportunity to rebuild all that they have lost. Further humanitarian efforts are an imperative, both in Ukraine itself and here in the EU for the over 8 million refugees who have been forced to flee to safety. We also call on Ukrainian authorities to ensure that, despite the wartime circumstances, they respect the highest standards of democracy and non-discrimination.

Equally, we call for solidarity with the anti-war resistance among the Russian people. We must never forget that this aggression is the action of an authoritarian regime. Europe must be a safe haven for those fleeing from or standing up against the actions of that regime.

The discussion must now turn to a programme for peace. The Russian Federation must recognise that its position is untenable and come to the negotiating table. The European Union – the continent’s most famous peace project – must play its role in creating the circumstances where peace becomes possible. Ultimately, Putin and his generals must answer to justice and be tried for war crimes in the International Criminal Court.

EFA continues to stand for peace, and respect for international law. We continue to renounce the Russian Federation’s instrumentalisation of supposedly oppressed minority groups to justify the unjustifiable. And we continue to stand for the right to self-determination of a free, diverse, democratic and European Ukraine.