FEBRUARY 23, 2022 – Military buildup, aggression, and the recent formal recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as independent states by the Russian government have heightened international tensions. Despite the best efforts of diplomats and world leaders, Europe is facing a new international war, potentially even more intense than the ongoing conflicts on Russia’s borders. Excessive military posturing, threats of nuclear conflict, and the recent military exercise of forces of Russia’s nuclear triad (including the firing of two nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles) have further brought a large-scale nuclear war back into the realm of possibility. The ineffective international response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 has already shown the modest limits of diplomatic measures.
The situation has reached a tipping point. Under the disguise of a peacekeeping mission, Russian troops have now been ordered to enter the territory of Ukraine, in clear violation of international law.
As a member of the United Nations, Russia has agreed to “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state” (Article 2). The Budapest Memorandum requires Russia to “respect [...] Ukrainian independence and sovereignty in the existing borders” and to “refrain from the threat or the use of force against [...] Ukraine”. The Minsk Protocols finally aim to “restore control of the state border to the Ukrainian government in the whole conflict zone” and specifies the “pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine”. The Russian government has ignored and openly violated these international treaties, so far without tangible consequences.
As world federalists, such an escalation which could result in all-out war deeply alarms us. Abolishing war and establishing peace is instrumental in creating a just, democratic global society, and we firmly believe that world federalists must call out and condemn any aggressor of said tensions.
We ask you to join the Young World Federalists in calling for the following immediate measures to alleviate the issue and protect the people in danger:
1. Deploy UN Peacekeepers to the occupied region to ensure stability,
2. Enforce stricter, targeted sanctions against Russia’s leadership for these
3. Grant visa-free travel to Ukrainians who may have to flee war and
seek asylum abroad, and
4. Ensure that humanitarian aid missions have access to the region
and can reach civilians in need.
Furthermore, the crisis highlights the shortcomings of international security built on voluntary treaties. World peace can only be secured through enforceable world law, and by holding aggressors accountable for their actions.
In light of this, we reiterate our demands for the following long-term institutional reforms:
5. Remove the veto of the permanent members of the UN Security Council,
6. Establish a UN Parliamentary Assembly with proportional representation,
7. Grant universal jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court
in which individuals have standing, and add further crimes
that affect all of humanity to its scope,
8. Make the UN budget independent of national contributions,
e.g., by levying a global tax,
9. Establish a standing rapid reaction force under UN command,
10. Recognize the supremacy of internationally established
human rights law over national law, and
11. Continue the support for democratization movements
and processes everywhere in the world.
While world federalists oppose war, we should not fall victim to the fallacy of rejecting all military assistance. Ukrainian and Russian citizens alike are victims of the aggressive rhetoric and actions of Putin and his accomplices and need our support. Our goal should rather be to protect the Ukrainian people from the bullying of a larger nuclear power, and to establish an international order in which Ukraine does not need to fear an invasion.
World federalists should stand with the Ukrainian people and strive to create the conditions to abolish the institution of war, once and for all. Let us keep the credo of the United World Federalists, our American forerunners in the 1950s, in mind:
We believe that peace is not merely the absence of war but the presence of justice, of law, of order - in short, of government and the institutions of government; that world peace can be created and maintained only under world law, universal and strong enough to prevent armed conflict between nations.
We invite you to join us in our support of a democratic world federation with the means to place international affairs on the basis of enforceable, transparent world law, and hold aggressors accountable.
The Young World Federalists is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and an associate member of the World Federalist Movement. YWF believes that the current system of competitive sovereign countries fails to tackle the global challenges that impact us all. YWF advocates a new form of global governance, one in which people cooperate to secure their common interest through a democratic world federation.
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