United Europe is following the events on Ukraine with tremendous horror, a war with heavy fighting in the middle of Europe, which breaks international law and puts NATO on alert. The terrible images from Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa shock us. These acts of war have ended our European security order as we know it since the Helsinki Final Act. The war means the end of a cooperative peace phase with Russia. Autocratic Russia wants to impose a new geopolitical order on Europe and the world, fights democratic movements in the harshest possible way, and calls into question Europe’s previous role as a Russian partner.
The occupation of Crimea, which has claimed 14,000 lives to date, was already a breach of international law. United Europe demands an immediate end to all hostilities, the withdrawal of Vladimir Putin from a sovereign state, and the start of bilateral talks.
Drastic sanctions can’t solve alone this tremendous development: Europe must also invest in its security structure and defence policy in the longer term. A united, responsible, and forward-looking European approach is indispensable for the European project and the strength of all European democracies.
The European Union must increase pressure on Russia, provide political, financial, and humanitarian assistance, continue the debate on Ukraine’s accession to the EU and work vehemently for the security of all Ukrainians, but also of their neighbouring states.
Günther H. Oettinger, President of United Europe e.V.