As international representatives of the British Youth Council we are extremely concerned by the events currently unfolding in Eastern Ukraine. After weeks of escalation and failed attempts to return to diplomacy, Russian President Vladimir Putin – as of the early hours February 24, 2022 – authorised a “military operation” into the Eastern Donbass region of Ukraine.
Let it not be mistaken that what is currently taking place in Ukraine is an affront to international law, the right to self-determination and most importantly the rights and liberties of everyday Ukrainians who did not ask for this war. President Putin’s actions not only threaten to destabilize the region in risking what could well be the largest war Europe has faced since WWII; but they show a reckless disregard for a sovereign nation’s right to choose what she wants.
Let us be clear, we believe that nations should be free to make decisions for themselves. Any attempts to stifle or suppress a nation’s right to choose for itself which groups or organisations it may or may not join, is not only oppressive but sets a dangerous precedent.
During this difficult time, we wish to express our deepest sympathies and prayers for the people of Ukraine, particularly our friends from the National Youth Council of Ukraine, who we know will be doing everything possible to help defend Ukraine and fend off Russian aggression. Although we may not know what lies ahead, we know the next few hours and days will be critical. Above all, we want you to know that we are here with you, hoping for a quick de-escalation and that Russia backs down from its illegal attempts to subvert your sovereignty.
Standing in solidarity with you.