February 24, 2022
We condemn the decision by the President of Russia to invade Ukraine. Unarmed civilian populations in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and other cities across Ukraine are currently under attack in what is the largest military operation in Europe since the end of World War II. We are shocked and appalled by this unprovoked war of aggression.
Since independence in 1991, Ukraine has declared it a state priority to integrate with the EU and the West. After the Orange Revolution of 2004, when Ukrainian citizens rejected the results of a rigged election, the Russian government has grown increasingly belligerent. In remarks intended to justify this invasion, President Vladimir Putin indicates that he considers Ukrainians to be part of the Russian nation and Ukrainian statehood to be illegitimate. To turn back the clock and destroy the Ukrainian state, he has compiled “kill lists”and made broader plans of repression to rein in what he calls “Nazism and extremism.” In reality, he is targeting the democratically elected Ukrainian government, the independent media, and various civil rights activists, including LGBTQ rights advocates. He also seeks to silence scholars who have researched Stalinist atrocities such as the Holodomor, the complexities of World War II, and other subjects that do not correspond with Putin’s affirmative view of Soviet history. His plans for repression in Ukraine reveal that Putin will use this military invasion to destroy groups and institutions that have fought hard for human rights, media freedom, and other democratic advances in Ukraine, just as he has done at home, where he has used violence against reformers and activists attempting to promote human rights and civil society in Russia.
We call on all of you to join with Ukrainians in solidarity, rejecting the illegal efforts of the Russian government to destroy an independent sovereign state with a democratically elected government in Ukraine.