This group is devoted to elaborate on obtaining long lasted missing justice for the nations of the North Caucasus. It is also dedicated to concentrate on human rights issues that had been abducted when the invaders conquered and colonized the region.
KEY MESSAGES ON RUSSIA’S WAR AGAINST UKRAINE As Of 2 June (99th Day Of War)
We fight against the Russian aggressor, defending not only our state, but also democratic values and freedoms, and the right of nations to freely choose their own future. Ukraine’s victory will be a victory for the whole Europe, which will be much safer and secure when Russia’s military machine will be dismantled and Kremlin’s capacities to launch invasions against other countries will disappear. We have the full right to count on weapons supplies to assist us in reaching this scope. No appeasement strategy and no policy of fait accompli for occupation and attempted annexation should take place;
Russia is preparing for a long-term war, constantly replenishing its occupation forces. Ukraine, with the support of our partners, will fight as long as it is necessary to win: we will not agree to the “frozen” conflict. Ukraine’s victory would mean restoring our sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders: this approach is shared by our partners. As of today, ~20 percent of Ukraine’s territory is occupied. 82% of Ukrainians would not agree to cede territories in exchange for peace. The ceasefire in itself cannot be an objective: we will strive for the withdrawal of Russian troops. Ukraine will liberate its territories based on the principle of maximum preservation of people’s lives;
Russia’s current objectives are to occupy the entire territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, secure the land corridor to Crimea and complete the occupation of southern Ukraine. The situation in Donbas, in which Russia has concentrated its forces, remains the most problematic. Ukraine’s coast of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov remains blocked. Russia continues launching missiles (2478 as of 2 June) and air strikes on civilian and military infrastructure throughout Ukraine. Lukashenko’s regime in Belarus continues to provide logistical support to Russia and increase military pressure on Ukraine’s north without directly going to war;
Even though Russia has thrown all its resources against Ukraine, the war is not going as planned by Kremlin: none of the key objectives has been reached by it. Ukrainian defenders repelled attacks of the first weeks of the war and forced Russian troops to leave the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions. Counterattacks regularly take place in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions. Russia suffers daily heavy losses in manpower (>30.000 as of now) and military hardware, its resources (although still enormous) are depleting fast. Kremlin did not dare to declare a general mobilization and continues to replenish the losses with forced conscription (including in the temporarily occupied parts of Ukraine), raised maximum age for voluntary enlistment, mercenaries, and private military companies. The population of the Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine continues to fiercely resist the occupation;
In order to be able not only to defend itself, but to liberate the Russia-occupied territories as well, Ukraine needs modern NATO standards arms (air defense and UAVs, artillery systems, MLRS and tanks, armored vehicles, combat aircraft, anti-ship missiles) and ammunition. We need constant logistical support including fuel and finances to accelerate the victory. In the long run, Ukraine must be entirely re-armed, ensuring interoperability of our Armed Forces with the NATO countries. The regular “Ukraine Contact Group” meetings of defense ministers significantly contribute to this process;
Given all the crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine, continuing negotiations with Russia is a challenging task. They must be based on restoration ofterritorial integrity and economic recovery of Ukraine. No negotiations will take place until Russia leaves the territories occupied since 24 February 2022. We have proposed a new system of security guarantees, which is currently under discussion with possible guarantee states;
When the war ends with Ukraine’s victory, Russia will face a radically different situation. Ukraine’s Armed Forces will be interoperable with the NATO. Russia’s neighbours, Finland and Sweden have applied for NATO membership. NATO allies are expected to define Russia’s behavior as a direct threat to the Alliance in an upcoming strategic document. Putin’s regime will be shaken by international isolation, economic crisis, and decreased popular support.
2. HUMANITARIAN SITUATION
Russia’s public statements that its attacks are directed only at the military targets are fake: the Russian troops continue destroying Ukrainian cities with missile strikes and heavy artillery. In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, they regularly resort to the scorched-earth tactics. Dozens of thousands of civilians lost their lives, many more were wounded. Nearly 220,000 people lost their homes. More than 13,000 civilian infrastructure facilities were destroyed and damaged, including roads and bridges, educational and medical institutions, water and electricity networks, cultural and religious sites. Vast areas are mined;
The worst humanitarian situation remains in the localities along the front line and in those temporarily occupied by Russia. The most worrisome locality is the city of Mariupol almost entirely destroyed by Russian attacks, with dozens of thousands of casualties and forceful deportations by the Russian occupiers. Looting, tortures, willful killings and abductions are widespread in the occupied areas;
Millions of Ukrainian citizens were forced to flee from war: almost 12 mln became IDPs and more than 5 mln (mostly women and children) left abroad. Nearly 0.5 mln were deported by Russia to its territory or to the occupied parts of Donbas. Many thousands were rescued through the humanitarian corridors. The number of Ukrainians returning home is exceeding those who are leaving as the Russian troops are pushed back and security situation improves;
We are grateful for warm hospitality demonstrated to our refugees in European countries and elsewhere. Humanitarian assistance continues to flow to Ukraine: it remains critical to millions Ukrainian citizens affected by the ongoing war.
3. ECONOMIC SITUATION
One of Russia’s key goals in the war it has launched is to destroy Ukraine’s economy, to make us a “failed state”, which would not be able to resist Russia’s pressure and influence. As a result of armed hostilities, destruction of infrastructure, and interrupted logistical chains (most critically, blocked Ukrainian ports), a major part of economic activity has stalled in Ukraine. Every next day of the war makes the situation even worse, so we need to defeat Russia and liberate our territories as soon as possible;
As of 1 June, the GDP of Ukraine dropped by 35%. The monthly budget deficit caused by war is nearly 5 bln USD. Russia’s invasion has damaged or destroyed up to 30% of Ukraine’s infrastructure at a cost of 100 bln USD. The overall infrastructure and economic losses have already exceeded 600 bln USD;
The unravelling global food crisis provoked by Russia’s war against Ukraine can still be avoided if Ukrainian ports are unblocked. Russia’s proposals to establish humanitarian corridors for exporting Ukrainian grain from the sea ports in exchange for lifting sanctions on Russia demonstrate Kremlin’s intention to blackmail the world by using the threat of hunger as a weapon. As Russian occupiers continue stealing grain, we expect all countries to refrain from buying it;
The Government of Ukraine is making every effort to keep Ukraine’s economy afloat (supporting relocation from the war zone, cutting red tape, launching lending programs, ensuring welfare benefits to IDPs and restoring infrastructure in the liberated areas);
The generous financial and technical international assistance is warmly welcomed. This is a contribution of our partners to their own security, as defending Ukraine prevents Russia from bringing new wars and crises. Grants are a priority, as Ukraine should not bear the increased debt burden being in defensive war;
Restoring and increasing Ukraine’s export is a critical element of post-war recovery. We appreciate the opportunities provided by the recent decisions and announcements by the EU, UK and Canada to remove duties and quotas on Ukrainian exports, as well as the US decision to temporarily suspend a part of tariffs on Ukrainian steel.
4. RUSSIA’S RESPONSIBILITY
During their invasion into Ukraine, the Russian troops systematically violate the norms of international humanitarian law and international human rights law: deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians; their use as hostages and human shield; execution and rapes; forceful conscription and kidnapping; attacks on medical personnel and facilities; use of banned weapons etc. Ukrainian law enforcement agencies launched investigations into >15.000 war crimes and crimes of aggression committed since 24 February;
Russia flagrantly violates international law (including by attacking civil ships, Ukraine’s environment and cultural heritage) and Ukraine’s sovereignty (by introducing its laws, passports, currency, education and phone codes in the occupied territories of Ukraine);
President Putin and his proxies responsible for the war against Ukraine have to be sentenced as war criminals. The war launched by Kremlin is widely supported by the Russian society, which shares responsibility for it. Russia must be recognized as a state – sponsor of terrorism, and the Russian Armed Forces must be recognized as a terrorist organization;
We welcome all steps made by the international institutions to bring Russia to justice, as well as statements made by the heads of state and government throughout the world, on Russia’s responsibility for war crimes. All cases of violation of the provisions of international and international humanitarian law must be registered by the respective international bodies (the OSCE Moscow mechanism Report of 13 April as an example);
A separate investigation into the crime of genocide is being conducted. The International Criminal Court opened its own full-fledged investigation at the request of 42 countries and joined the joint investigation team of Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland;
Russia’s diplomatic and political isolation must continue: the international organizations need in particular to consider banning Russia’s membership for blatant violations of international law (as, for instance, the Council of Europe did) and dismissing Russian citizens from their Secretariats to eliminate Russia’s influence.
5. FURTHER ACTIONS BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
We need modern NATO arms and ammunition (MLRS and artillery systems, air defense and UAVs, tanks and armored vehicles, combat aircraft, anti-ship missiles) to be able not only to defend ourselves, but to liberate the Russia-occupied territories as well. The faster we receive them, the sooner the war will end and the less casualties will take place: every next day of delay means dozens of killed and wounded Ukrainians;
Russia’s military machine can be stopped if Kremlin loses revenues from selling fossil fuels. Strengthening sanctions remains a critical tool in this regard. We appreciate that the EU has agreed in principle upon the sixth package of sanctions covering crude oil and petroleum products (albeit with a temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline). As soon as this sanctions package is imposed, the work on the seventh one should start. Sanctions work: in 2022, Russia’s GDP has moved from 5.6% growth in January to 3% decrease in April. Any lifting of sanctions has to be agreed with Ukraine. The legal way to confiscate Russia’s frozen foreign exchange reserves and assets abroad to be further used for compensations to Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens has to be found;
Ukrainians people are dying for the freedom of Ukraine and Europe. Support for Ukraine’s accession to the EU increased to a record 91%. We strive for a full-fledged EU membership: no alternative options would be appropriate. The first step will be the candidate status in June. Ukraine’s accelerated accession does not contradict the parallel efforts by the Western Balkan states. European integration must be an integral part of Ukraine’s economic recovery. Trade and transport between Ukraine and the EU should be liberalized as fast as possible;
Russia must be economically and politically isolated from the world, losing its levers and capacities to influence decision-making in other countries (withdrawal of private business, banning Russian propaganda channels, ending Russia’s influence in politics, diplomacy, business, sports, culture, research and other spheres, introducing visa regime, expelling from international financial institutions etc).