One year of war in Ukraine (February 24)

Solidarity must not let up

On the occasion of the anniversary of the Russian attack against Ukraine, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) called for consistent solidarity with Ukraine. The German Federal Government should learn from the serious mistakes in connection with its previous Russia policy: “The suffering Ukrainians deserve our full solidarity. In Russia, members of the opposition, human rights activists, media workers, members of minority groups, and many others have been suffering from Putin’s iron-fisted rule long before the war. It was foreseeable that he would turn into an inhumane despot – and there were many warnings which were largely ignored. This must not happen again,” demanded Sarah Reinke, STP expert on Eastern Europe and Russia. “Now, we in Germany must do everything we can to support the people of Ukraine in their struggle against the Russian aggression – to ease the suffering of the civilian population, rebuild what was destroyed, and to keep up pressure on Putin’s regime.”

In view of the suffering of those who fled here, Germany is also responsible for encouraging an empathic and informed debate about Ukraine. “We have to listen to what the victims have to say. Empathy and understanding for the people are prerequisites for lasting willingness to help on the part of Germany,” Reinke explained. Germany has taken in more than one million refugees from Ukraine. This is to be seen as a great accomplishment by the civil society, many individual helpers, the municipalities, and the administration. We should aim for equal and consensual coexistence of the different groups in our pluralist society. Further, Reinke emphasized that the state must support programs and initiatives that are trying to work towards this goal – in the short and the longer term.

“Furthermore, those who are politically responsible in our government and parliament must protect those who are persecuted by Putin’s regime: members of the democratic opposition, media workers, and people who are campaigning for human rights and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities,” Reinke added. The human rights organization criticized that active exchange of information and civil society projects in this regard were criminally neglected over the past 20 years.