Ukrainian World Congress calls for “decisive stand” against Russian aggression

    Kateryna Bandura for New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

    On the eve of the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting, held in Riga, Latvia, on Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2021, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) urged global leaders to demand that the Russian Federation immediately cease hostilities against Ukraine.

    “The international community must not fall prey to Russia’s blackmail,” the official UWC statement said. “There is no more room for appeasement. The world must stand firm and join in efforts to deter Russian aggression and preserve peace.”

    According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Russia has amassed around 115,000 troops – backed by tanks, artillery, electronic warfare systems, air and naval units – along its borders with Ukraine, including in the occupied Crimean Peninsula. The Kremlin has been moving troops toward the border with Ukraine while demanding Washington guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO and that the alliance will refrain from certain military activities in and around Ukrainian territory.

    The UWC said in their statement that deterring the Kremlin can be achieved through:

    Sending Russia a clear message, condemning its aggression and escalation;

    Increasing sanctions against Moscow;

    Increasing deterrence by providing military equipment, defensive weapons and expertise to Ukraine.

    Demonstrating a readiness to stand up to Russian aggression is the only realistic way to deal with the Kremlin, Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Oleksiy Reznikov told the Atlantic Council in November.

    “We must convince Moscow that the price of a new offensive would be too high to contemplate,” Reznikov said. “This price would be in purely military terms and in the form of negative political, economic, and social repercussions.”

    “Failure to respond decisively to Russia’s latest threats will only raise the cost of containing the Kremlin,” he said.

    UWC said that the recent Russian massive military build-up at Ukraine’s borders is a well-planned purposeful hybrid destabilization campaign threatening security in the region, including European energy security as well. According to Dr. Maria Shagina, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Eastern European Studies at the University of Zurich, sanctions continue to be prominently featured in the North Stream 2 saga.

    “They have delayed the construction of the pipeline for more than a year and a half,” Shagina said during a discussion of European energy security, hosted on December 2 by the Atlantic Council.

    Shagina said that sanctions continue to dangle over Gazprom and Nord Stream 2, meaning that should Russia attempt to use energy as a weapon or commit further aggression against Ukraine, Germany will take action at the national level or press for effective measures at the European level.

    As for increasing deterrence by providing military equipment to Ukraine, the Globe and Mail reported on November 24 that Canada is considering sending CF-18 fighter jets to Ukraine, currently based in Romania. Canada is also considering deploying hundreds of additional troops to support the Canadian soldiers already in Ukraine.

    However, Chief of Defence Staff of Canada Wayne Eyre on December 2 said that he believes Canada should not increase its military contingent in Ukraine in order to not irritate Russia.

    “What we’re doing with Operation Unifier … shows long-term commitment [to Ukraine],” Eyre told The Globe and Mail. “But we’ve got to be very careful about the balance between deterrence and escalation, and what is the perception from the other side as well. That’s where diplomacy absolutely has to lead in a case like this.”

    According to Eyre, any new military backing for Ukraine could inflame the situation. Still, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly told the National Post on December 2 that Canada would work with “like-minded” countries to apply “diplomatic” and “economic” pressure as well as “all the means necessary” to deter the “Russian threat.”

    In their statement, UWC called on all Ukrainian communities around the world to support Ukraine by addressing their governments and meeting with political, public and expert community leaders to deliver a simple message:

    “No appeasement of Putin at the cost of Ukraine. Russian aggression must be stopped.”

    This article is written under the Local Journalism Initiative agreement