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“A point of no return.” Ukraine’s civil society leaders appeal to US Congress for “severest sanctions” to stop Russia

Editor’s Note

Following Russia’s recognition of its puppet statelets in Donbas and decree to introduce “peacekeeping” troops there, Ukraine’s civil society leaders appeal to the US Congress for a wide scale of targeted sanctions against Russia, including asset freezes, visa bans for oligarchs from Putin’s inner circle & family members, full-scale embargo, stopping Nord Stream for good

The lives of millions of Ukrainians are at stake, and hours of delay and wrong decisions may cost dear price. If the Russian Federation is not stopped by the severest sanctions now, a disastrous war will erupt in one of the biggest countries of Europe, a breadbasket of the planet. Moreover, this war has the potential to spill over into NATO countries and grow into a large-scale regional conflict.

21 February 2022 has become a breaking point in global geopolitics, when the Russian Federation reached a point of no return in its aggression against Ukraine, a sovereign state, breaching its borders, neglecting intensive preventive diplomatic efforts of the collective West. Russia has once again bluntly violated international law.

The instruments and means Russia has used in current aggressive acts painfully remind us of the beginning of WWII and the behavior of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler, intentionally crafting fake casus belli acts, backed by unimaginable volumes of propaganda.

It has become evident that Russia is implementing the worst-case scenario in which the recognition of the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” is just the beginning.

A full-scale attack against Ukraine’s sovereignty with military aggression, striving to kill Ukraine’s macro-financial system, curtail energy supply, put our critical infrastructure under destruction and undermine our political institutions, will follow shortly if the West does not respond swiftly and harshly to existing Russian crimes.

The aggressor can only be stopped by effective immediate counter-actions, using a wide range of targeted sanctions. They should include asset freezes and visa bans for oligarchs from Putin’s inner circle and their family members .

Sanctions also need to target whole sectors of the Russian economy, most critical for the existence of Putin’s regime such as:

  • Halting Nord Stream 2 for good;
  • Imposing a full-scale embargo on Russian oil and gas exports, forestry and metallurgical products;
  • Sanctioning international transactions of the Russian Ruble, cutting off Russia from the SWIFT system;
  • Sanctioning supply of electronics of world’s top brands;
  • recognizing Putin’s Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism;
  • Block Putin Wallets –
  • Sanctioning use of Android and Apple operational systems, search engines, social media platforms etc.
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Since the beginning of this round of escalation on February 17, Russia has already killed 4 servicemen and 1 civilian.

There is no need to wait until the death toll reaches thousands to take action. It’s high time for the collective West to act and demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine now.

We urge our partners to enforce all possible measures to effectively respond and stop the Putin regime now. Russia should immediately withdraw its armed forces from all over Ukraine, as well as be decisively punished for the global blackmailing it has been doing for at least since 2008 (invasion in Georgia).

It is not only about Ukraine anymore – now the stability and security of the globe are at stake. If Putin is not stopped, we will return to the times when changing borders by force will happen regularly and all over the world.

In order to preserve the rules-based order, to help us defend our sovereign nation and emerging democracy, we urge our EU and US partners to immediately introduce a wide package of painful financial, economic, and sectoral sanctions described above.

Ukraine must receive concrete security guarantees and a wide package of military and economic assistance, including immediate deployment of the EU and NATO forces.

The EU and US leadership or their representatives should be permanently physically present in Kyiv as well as other potential targets of the Russian troops, including the eastern and southern regions of the country.

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The Appeal is signed by

  • Hanna Hopko, Democracy in Action Initiative, Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee (2014-2019)
  • Daria Kalenyuk, Olena Halushka, AntiCorruption Action Center
  • Ostap Yednak, Maksym Kyiyak, Natalya Veselova, Maria Golub, ANTS Network
  • Olena Kravchenko, Environment-People-Law, International Law Organization
  • Olga Aivazovka, Civil Network “OPORA”
  • Oleksandra Matviychuk, Center for Civil Liberties
  • Mykhailo Gonchar, CGS Strategy XXI
  • Josef Zissels, co-president of Vaad of Ukraine, member of the Initiative group “First of December”
  • Mykhailo Ratushnyi head of Ukrainian World Coordinating Council
  • Oleksii Mushak, Member of Parliament (2014-2019), Adviser to Prime-Minister (2019-2020)
  • Sergiy Parkhomenko, Head of center of Foreign Policy Studies OPAD
  • Andriy Teteruk, Veteran of Russian war against Ukraine, Member of Parliament (2014-2019)
  • Ihor Lapin, Ukrainian War veteran, Member of Parliament (2014-2019)
  • Alya Shandra, editor in chief, Euromaidan Press
  • Myroslav Hai, human rights activist, Russian-Ukrainian war veteran,
  • Agiya Zagrebelska, President of Foundation Mir&Co, co-founder League Antitrust

If you support the idea of the urgent appeal you could join it by sharing publicly and adding your name

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