Public statement by the Friends of Free Russia on the first anniversary of Russia‘s full-scale invasion of Ukraine
February 24, 2023 marks the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The heroic Ukrainian defense of the right to exist as an independent, democratic nation rages on, at a very steep humanitarian cost. Tens of thousands of innocent Ukrainians have been murdered, and pain and suffering has befallen millions more. Great deal of Ukrainian infrastructure, wealth and natural resources have been destroyed. War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocidal acts have been committed by Russia, Russian troupes and Russian decision-makers.
By unleashing an unjust war of aggression, Russia has broken its international legitimacy and undermined the entire UN system. The current Russian regime, its aggressive warfare, terrorist acts, blackmail, kleptocracy and propaganda represents the greatest threat for European and global security and thus must be defeated.
Russia took control over the neighboring Belarus, making it accomplice to the crime of aggression and a launchpad for Russian missiles attacking Ukraine. The subordination was marked by concluding a Union State integration pact on November 4, 2022.
Despite Russia facing a military defeat, lives of hundreds of Russian soldiers are being needlessly ruined every day in the battlefield, Russia is continuing its destructive war and working on the erosion of the future of Russia and its people. Number of political prisoners and detainees is rising and leading democratic politicians of Russia such as Alexey Navalny, Ilya Yashin, Vladimir Kara-Murza and many others are being tortured in prison. Human rights situation is further deteriorating.
Vladimir Putin intends to hold on power at any cost, and therefore he and his clique must not be considered a partner for negotiations, which can only take place upon Ukraine’s decision. Russia will have to reimburse Ukraine for all the damage caused by Putin’s aggression.
Therefore we, the undersigned, plead for the unwavering support to Ukraine’s defense in military, financial and humanitarian terms.
- We commit to unequivocal unity of the EU and the transatlantic community in providing support to Ukraine and punishing aggressors. The ultimate aim is the liberation of Ukraine in its internationally recognized borders of 1991. Ukraine deserves to be offered reliable prospects of integration in the transatlantic organizations, NATO and the EU.
- Sanctions imposed on Russian aggressor still can be intensified but first and foremost must be enforced. Targeting Russian oligarchs and friends of Vladimir Putin and their family members as well as Russian officials with property and funds in the West have to be targeted. They must be denied access and banned to move within the EU and the West.
- War crimes must continue to be investigated, leaning on appropriate resources so that the international community is prepared to hold political and military leadership and pro-regime businesses of Russia and Belarus accountable when the time comes. The EU preparatory work on the special tribunal should begin immediately and be coordinated with Ukraine.
- We support the EU’s effort to come up as soon as possible with a scheme for using confiscated Russian assets for the long term reconstruction needs of Ukraine to make Russia pay for the damages it caused in this war.
- Also, Belarus must be subjected to stricter sanctions, such as against the members of its repressive apparatus.
- No participation of Olympic teams of Russia and Belarus in the 2024 Games in Paris is conceivable.
- Russian and Belarusian civil society and independent media, both in the country and in exile, human rights defenders, activists, and individual journalists deserve our active support of their work for democratic future of their countries.
- Further reduction of the dependency on Russian oil and gas supplies but also long-term reduction of dependence on fossil fuels proves to be the only way to Europe’s energy security.
- Czechia must play an active part in all the above-mentioned. We advocate for sanctions against Russia and Belarus on the bilateral level. We back up spending adequate resources and capacity to support Ukraine in its current fight and in the future reconstruction, development, and Euro Atlantic integration. In our capacities we commit to work on making the lives of Ukrainian refugees in our country as decent and beneficial as the life in refuge can be.
- We support strengthening protection of our own critical infrastructure against cyber threats and significant improvement of resilience of society against disinformation.
We, the undersigned,
Helena Langšádlová, Minister of Science, Research and Innovation, Government of the Czech Republic
Mikuláš Bek, Minister for European Affairs, Government of the Czech Republic
Markéta Pekarová Adamová, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Marek Hilšer, Senator, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Pavel Žáček, Deputy, Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Petr Gazdík, former Minister of Education of the Czech Republic, Deputy, Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Tomáš Petříček, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague
Eva Decroix, Deputy, Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Tomáš Fiala, Senator, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Adéla Šípová, Senator, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Hayato Okamura, Deputy, Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Markéta Gregorová, Member of the European Parliament
Mikuláš Peksa, Member of the European Parliament
Šimon Heller, Deputy, Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Lukáš Wagenknecht, Senator, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Ondřej Benešík, Deputy, Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Miroslav Balatka, Senator, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
David Smoljak, Senator, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Martin Exner, Deputy, Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic