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Peace advocates across the globe reacted with horror and outrage Thursday to Russia’s military assault on Ukraine, a full-scale invasion that sparked anti-war demonstrations in Spain, Norway, Japan, and elsewhere — including downtown Moscow.
“Russia’s shocking invasion of Ukraine will inevitably lead to more fear, misery, and death,” said British MP Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of the Labour Party. “It is a frightening escalation of the ongoing crisis. Russia must withdraw its troops and return to diplomacy. If it does not, dark days are ahead for Ukraine, Russia, and all of Europe.”
Stephen Miles and Sara Haghdoosti of the U.S.-based advocacy group Win Without War sent a similar message, declaring in a statement that “there is simply no justification for the premeditated war we are now witnessing.”
“We strongly condemn this act of violent aggression by Russia,” Miles and Haghdoosti said, calling on the Biden administration to “use every diplomatic tool at their disposal to encourage Russia to cease its offensive.”
“Above all, our thoughts… are with the people of Ukraine,” they added. “War is inherently violent, deadly, and destructive, and we fear for the potential human costs of this violent escalation. While the news will likely be dominated in the coming days by troop movements and scenes of fighting, real people will be suffering, and we urge the media to not erase their humanity by solely focusing on the political leaders directing the very violence causing that suffering.”
Dozens have reportedly been killed as Russia continues its land, air, and sea invasion of Ukraine, bombarding the country with airstrikes and fighting Ukrainian troops on the ground.
Aid groups are warning that the potential consequences of Russia’s assault on Ukraine could be catastrophic and global. Ukraine’s neighbors, including Poland and Romania, are preparing to accept millions of refugees fleeing for their lives.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said Thursday that “there will be far-reaching humanitarian implications across Europe and the globe, destabilizing the continent, straining resources of Ukraine’s neighbors, and impacting food supply for countries like Yemen, Libya, and Lebanon — already facing acute levels of food insecurity.”
The only way to avert such a nightmare scenario, observers and advocates argued, is an urgent return to the negotiating table — not an escalation by any parties involved.
“What we know for sure is that U.S. military intervention will only fan the flames of war,” argued the U.S.-based anti-war group CodePink. “War is not the answer.”
As airstrikes and shelling bombard Ukraine, it’s far from clear whether a diplomatic solution is in reach at present. The Kremlin said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is prepared to negotiate with Ukraine’s leadership regarding the country’s “neutrality,” an apparent reference to the nation’s ambition to join NATO.
Bridget Moix, general secretary of the U.S.-based Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), called on Putin to “immediately withdraw all Russian military forces from all areas of Ukraine and to return to the table for diplomatic negotiation to resolve this crisis.”
“We urge all parties to remain at the negotiating table and to keep lines of communication and dialogue open and active,” said Moix. “Diplomacy is the only way this war will end.”
This piece was first published at Common Dreams.
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