One year on since the Russian invasion of Ukraine: people need peace

One year on since the Russian invasion of Ukraine: people need peace

One year ago, Vladimir Putin violated international law and ordered the invasion of Ukraine, launching a large-scale military operation. Ever since, the Russian invading forces have continued to bombard this devastated land, causing a human and environmental disaster.

Unfortunately, the war is not over yet, any more than the devastation it is inflicting on the population. It is critically and rapidly exacerbating numerous risk factors such as the right to food, access to drinking water, the right to housing, the right to education and health care. According to the United Nations, four in ten Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance and 8 million Ukrainians have now fled their country, numbers not seen since the Second World War. Faced with this situation, our solidarity must be sustained and unwavering; our message of peace and unconditional welcome must remain constant.

To mark the first anniversary of the Russian war against Ukraine, the Emmaus movement reiterates its support for the entire Ukrainian population, along with the Russian and Belarusian pro-democracy protesters opposed to this unjust aggression carried out in their name and who are facing persecution. We strongly reject Russian imperialism and call on the entire international community to shore up negotiations for a peaceful resolution.

Emmaüs has provided practical humanitarian assistance to several tens of thousands of people

The whole Emmaus movement stated loudly and clearly last May: “We must resist lies, corruption, violence, domination and illegitimate power”.[1] These words of resistance were coupled with meaningful acts. Over the last year, two Emmaus groups in the west of Ukraine have focussed their efforts on the most vulnerable people and those displaced from the east of the country. The exceptional support from Emmaus groups around the world, particularly the groups in Europe, made it possible to provide practical humanitarian assistance to several tens of thousands of people. A reception centre for refugees has been set up in Lviv and thanks to the support of the Emmaus movement, the Ukrainian groups are also able to continue their day-to-day work.

On Thursday 23 February, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for “just and lasting peace in Ukraine”. Emmaus International endorses this call to end Russia’s unsustainable invasion which threatens the lives, dignity and livelihoods of many people around the world. Furthermore, the richest countries must stop adopting double standards to solidarity and reception policies and act consistently. The collective response of many countries to the arrival of millions of Ukrainians fleeing the conflict and the arrangements made to welcome these people must be the rule, not the exception. This conflict, like others around the world, shows us how urgent it is to promote worldwide solidarity to cope with the multiple crises that are increasingly affecting our globalised and interdependent world.

[1]Final statement of the Emmaus International World Assembly in Piriapolis, May 2022