Stop the war in Ukraine!
On February 24, 2022, at 4 am Russia launched a war against Ukraine. The threat of new hostilities has been in the air since 2021, but nobody wanted to believe that the Kremlin’s aggressive rhetoric would lead to a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Prior to that Vladimir Putin signed a pact with Alexander Lukashenko turning Belarus into an accomplice in this war. After that Putin ordered an offensive against Ukrainian cities. We are shocked by the videos of explosions, destroyed houses, reports of dead and wounded. Our Ukrainian friends talk about how they are hiding from air raids, building up self-defense and asking NATO to stop Putin. They show their houses and Russian military equipment are being set on fire. They ask to tell their Russian friends about our common calamity.
According to UN estimates on March 29, at least 3,039 civilians have already suffered in the first week of the war, including 1,179 killed. The Commissioner for Human Rights said that the number of victims is much higher, but the UN does not have accurate data from many regions of the country. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, says that alone the Russian bombardment of the southern city of Mariupol has now caused more than 2,500 deaths.
The number of military casualties reached thousands. The Russian Defense Ministry reported for the second time since the start of the war that 1,351 military soldiers were killed and 3,825 wounded. According to the Ukrainian government as of March 29, more than 12,000 Russian military personnel were killed, the Ukrainian side also states that around 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since the start of the Russian invasion.
More than 3,9 million people (as of March 29) have already crossed the Ukrainian border seeking asylum in Germany, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Russia. Our colleagues have joined the Ukrainian initiative Vitsche in Berlin and they are helping now to coordinate the placement of the refugees with children in Germany. German civil society responded quickly to the new challenge. German citizens donate millions of euros to support Ukraine. They buy bulletproof vests and medicine, they provide apartments for the temporary accommodation of refugees. The European Union grants temporary protection in any EU country for all Ukranian refugees. Rights under the Temporary Protection Directive include a residence permit, access to the labour market and housing, medical assistance, and access to education. Those who have fled are mainly women and children, as Ukrainian male citizens between the ages of 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave the country.
We received questions: Why did Vladimir Putin decide to attack the former Soviet republic? According to the Kremlin’s statements, the purpose of the invasion is “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine and the expansion of the territories of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic” to the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. During the current peace talks Moscow is trying to persuade Kyiv to recognize the annexation of Crimea and provide guarantees that Ukraine would not join NATO. In order to achieve these goals Russia abandoned diplomatic tools and decided to use heavy artillery, missile systems, bombers, howitzers, tanks and warships, destroying military installations, cities and infrastructure. The Supreme Commander of Russia takes it into consideration that the lives of thousands of civilians will be sacrificed and millions of individuals will be put at risk. Fighting is taking place in a close proximity to nuclear power plants, and in case of further escalation with the West, Putin threatens the world with the use of nuclear weapons.
The war became a continuation of the Kremlin’s occupation policy, which began after the mass protests in Kyiv in 2013-2014 and the runaway of President Viktor Yanukovych. Following that, Vladimir Putin ordered the annexation of Crimea, contributed to the outbreak of war in the Donbass and actively supported the separatists movement in Donetsk and Luhansk. More than 13 thousand people became victims of the first Russo-Ukrainian war, including 3.4 thousand civilians and about 500 Russian military personnel. The Russian state did not acknowledge its participation in hostilities and did not make public the losses among the Russian military personnel and militants. Over the past years, the Kremlin, with the support of Russian television, has been spreading conspiracy theories and propaganda myths that neo-Nazis, “Banderites” and “drug addicts” came to power in Ukraine in 2014. Recently, the Kremlin has actively manipulated the concept of “genocide” against the Russian-speaking population. All this was supposed to create an image of the enemy and justify the plans for the occupation of Ukraine.
Russian politics and society found themselves in complete isolation. The majority of the countries have strongly condemned Russian aggression and imposed sweeping sanctions to sway the Kremlin to an immediate cessation of hostilities. Dozens of the world’s leading economies, corporations and IT companies refused to cooperate with Moscow and began to close their representative offices in Russia. Vladimir Putin knew about the possible sanctions, but put the economy, welfare and future of Russian citizens on the line. Even more damage has been done to the image of Russia, Russian culture and sports. Many international organizations, sports federations, theaters and universities refused to continue cooperation or excluded Russia from the competition.
Vladimir Putin dealt an irreparable blow to the so-called “Russian world”, which he allegedly tried to defend in recent years. Russian-speaking Ukrainians switch to Ukrainian in protest against the Kremlin’s aggression. Thanks to the Russian president, the Russian world is no longer associated with Dostoevsky, Shostakovich and Tarkovsky, but with propaganda, homophobia and war.
In response to the sanctions, Vladimir Putin introduced counter-sanctions and military censorship. Social networks, free media sites were blocked. Those who oppose the war face fines and prison terms. Roskomnadzor demanded that the Russians must call the war a “special operation” and rely on reports from the Russian Ministry of Defense when covering the conflict. The State Duma adopted a law according to which spreading of allegedly false information about the actions of the Russian army will be punishable by imprisonment of up to 15 years. Due to threats and pressure, TV Rain, Ekho Moskvy radio station and Znak.com were destroyed and seized their activities in a few days. Roskomnadzor blocked the vast majority of news portals. Meduza, BBC Russian Service, Deutsche Welle, The Village, Radio Liberty, Doxa, New Times, Current Time, Tayga.info, Interfax Ukraine, Ukrainskaya Pravda have been blocked. In Russia, they are now available only through VPN, which is also illegal. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube have been blocked. The last islands of freedom are small media, regional newspapers and Telegram channels. The situation is changing every day, and it is very likely that the wave of online bans will soon reach them too.
The civil society of Russia and Belarus strongly condemned the aggressive actions of Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko. Svetlana Aleksievich, Boris Akunin, Vladimir Sorokin, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Dmitry Glukhovsky and hundreds of cultural icons and civil society activists signed open letters against the war. There are calls for the Belarusians to desert the army and flee the country. Despite threats and pressure, more and more Russians are saying “No to the war” on social media and on the streets. According to OVD-Info, as of March 13, more than 14,000 people have been detained for participating in peaceful street protests. Anti-war demonstrations swept across the world. On February 27, up to 500,000 Berliners took to the action of solidarity with Ukraine and demanded to stop the bloodshed. In Tbilisi, 100 thousand people said no to Putin’s aggression.
The Kremlin is promoting its campaign on TV, enlisting cultural figures to sign open letters to support of the war in Ukraine, hanging out advertisements in the metro with the “Z” letter, which has become a symbol of the invasion of Ukraine. According to a study by the independent sociological group Russian Field, 58% of Russians support the war.
We call upon the Russian authorities to immediately cease fire, conclude a truce and sit down at the negotiating table! Our team expresses solidarity with Ukraine, supports refugees and tries to help partners in danger.
We launched the stop-the-war.world portal and urge you to say “No to war”! You can participate in actions and campaigns, donate to support Ukraine and help refugees, support activists and media that speak out about the war. You can find the latest information about new initiatives, campaigns and rallies on our Telegram and Instagram. We described the ways to do this and reduce the risk of persecution if you are based in Russia or Belarus, you may see the advice on our web-site.
It is difficult to calculate the damage that Putin has done to Ukraine and the world, but it is clear that he will pay a high price for this aggressive war. Today it is absolutely necessary to unite the efforts of all the democratic forces in Europe to make this war the last one in history and to bring Belarus and Russia on the path of democratization – for the sake of our and your freedom!
Anti-war action on the Volga from the art group “Nevoina” from Samara
Useful resources in Ukrainian, English or German:
Support anti-war initiatives
1) Support funds and initiatives in Ukraine
We do not recommend making donations to Ukrainian organizations from Russian or Belarusian bank accounts.
— Teple Misto (“Warm city”) – our partners in Ivano-Frankivsk
— Metalab are raising money for the renovation of a student dormitory in Ivano-Frankivsk, to host up to 150 internally displaced people in Ukraine.
2) Support initiatives to help refugees from Ukraine in EUROPE
On this web-site you may find help and support available in the majority of European cities.
This site also contains links and tips on different countries in Europe.
For those who live in Germany, you can find here a list of organizations and initiatives that help refugees and victims of war. If you want to help refugees from Ukraine in one of these cities – Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne or Genf – you can register on the Volunteer Planner website. You can also join the initiative created to raise awareness about the war against Ukraine in Berlin schools, by filling out this form. The programme in cooperation with the Berlin Senate aims at supporting teachers and students in Berlin and Brandenburg to understand the war in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian initiative Vitsche in Berlin collects humanitarian aid and organizes protests in support of Ukraine – you can support them financially, informationally or by joining as a volunteer.
If you need any help with translation (German-Russian-Ukrainian), you can contact the volunteer initiative TranslatorsAgainstWar. In the Telegram channel Translators in Berlin, you can offer your help with translations and accompanying people from Ukraine to Berlin.
You can also donate to our partner organizations in Berlin and Chisinau that work with refugees on spot and support organizations in Ukraine. MitOst e.V. launched the Ukraine Solidarity Fund that directly supports organizations in Ukraine and neighboring countries with medical and humanitarian aid, helping with the evacuation of people and art objects. Quarteera e.V., a volunteer association of Russian-speaking LGBTQ+ people in Germany, raises funds for food, clothing, legal aid and language courses for LGBTQ+ people who have fled Ukraine. EcoVisio in Moldova provides humanitarian aid, food, and housing in Chisinau and the village of Riscova for those fleeing Ukraine.
3) Support journalists in need
Ukrainian journalists work under the bombs. It is often that they do not have proper protection, bulletproof vests, helmets and special equipment, and their moderate salaries and honorariums do not allow them to cover these expenses. Our partners from the German association n-ost have launched a crowdfunding campaign. They equip the vehicles of Ukrainian journalists with special protection and assist journalists who suffered during the hostilities.
Putin declared a war against Ukraine and at the same time began to exterminate the last free media within Russia. Dozens of media outlets have been blocked by the Russian authorities. More than 60 criminal cases have been launched against journalists because they dared to call the war a “war” and the bombing of Ukrainian cities “war crimes”. Due to draconian laws, Russian journalists who want to keep telling the truth about the war, corruption and the Kremlin’s crimes are fleeing the country. Their accounts and credit cards do not work abroad. Now we are trying to help those who are in trouble: provide funds for living for the first 1-2 weeks, buy tickets, save their colleagues, (re-)launch the media, and also support those who, despite the repressions, continue to work from within Russia covering the recent events.
We cannot allow Vladimir Putin to bury free media in Russia. Your donation will go directly to support free media in Russia! You can donate to the account of our non-profit human rights organization Dekabristen e.V. using paypal or cryptocurrency wallet. We will regularly report on the funds spent on our website and in our telegram channel.
Let’s stop this war together!