2024.04.23

Make Russia foot the entire bill for Ukraine’s devastation

All Russian frozen assets, not only the profits they generate, should be used to finance the reparations for the war damage inflicted on Ukraine. Rather than relying solely on sanctions, the EU should also consider internationally recognised countermeasures. These are political tools that allow Member States to seize frozen assets that can be used to help rebuild Ukraine.

This is the message the EPP Group wants to convey ahead of today’s plenary debate on the use of Russian frozen assets to support Ukraine’s victory and reconstruction.

“Every day brings new damage to Ukraine, and the amount of damage goes far beyond the €400 billion that Ukraine has documented so far. An innovative and effective mechanism should be put in place in order to allow Ukrainians to rebuild their country. Russia has a legal obligation to fully compensate Ukraine for the damage it has inflicted during the war,” insists Andrius Kubilius MEP, the European Parliament’s spokesman on Russia.

According to the latest estimates, the measures currently under consideration in the EU would only be able to generate around €1.7-3.6 billion, while frozen Russian financial assets in Europe amount to almost €300 billion. This is because the proposed legal mechanism does not allow for the confiscation due to the international principle of legal immunity applicable to state assets

“A political countermeasure would allow to temporarily, until Russia again begins respecting rules of international law, disregard rules on state immunity and to seize frozen assets by means of legislative or executive acts adopted in accordance with national rules. The United States used similar mechanisms against Iranian state funds in 1981 and Iraqi state funds in 1992 to compensate for the damage inflicted on KuwaitThe US administration will now implement this same mechanism following the approval of the US Congress to confiscate 20 billion USD of Russian frozen assets,” explains Kubilius.

“It is time to make a bold decision on countermeasures and to confiscate all the €300 billion of frozen Russian assets. Our governments should put this issue on their agendas, while, the European Commission and European External Action Service should present an overview of the potential countermeasures in the EU and in national legal systems,” adds Kubilius.

International law and United Nations’ recommendations foresee that states may use countermeasures in response to internationally wrongful acts of another state, with the aim to make the aggressor comply with its legal obligations.

 

2024.04.19

A.Kubilius. Lessons From The Second World War For Europe Today

Part I. A lesson from the Victory Plan

The European Parliament, angered by the impotence of EU governments in the matter of military aid to Ukraine, decided to postpone the adoption of the budget report of the Council of the European Union (including the European Council). After an impressive speech by former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, in which he called for the discussion of such an issue to be postponed until the Member States (who are the EU’s decision-makers in the European Council) have agreed on the immediate delivery of at least 7 Patriot systems to Ukraine, there followed stormy applause from the MEPs and the motion was adopted by a large majority.

Indeed, there is sometimes a sense of grim hopelessness when you see one European Union prime minister and president after another calling on everyone else to give more military support to Ukraine, swearing that Russia cannot win, but in reality Ukraine is receiving less and less military support from the EU and the West as a whole, and Russia is intensifying its bombing of Ukraine’s cities and energy infrastructure because it no longer has missiles and drones to defend itself. Meanwhile, according to Mr J.Borrell, the countries of the European Union have at least 100 Patriot systems that they are not currently using because they are not at war with anyone.

The question is how to overcome this powerlessness in the West, when there is an ever-widening gap of hopelessness between the loud declarations of support and the actual provision of support.

To find a way to help the West to understand what needs to be done (and not done) today, the best way would be for everyone to go back to school and learn the history of the Second World War.

In the summer of 1941, even before the December attack on Pearl Harbor and the US decision to go to war against both Japan and Hitler, President Roosevelt realised that preparations for such a war had to begin. By June 1941, although the United States still maintained a policy of non-participation in the war, it was already providing Lend-Lease assistance to Britain and later-on to the Soviet Union. To better coordinate US military aid to a struggling Britain, Churchill sent to Washington the representative of defeated France, the future godfather of the European Community, Jean Monnet, who had a reputation as a good strategic planner in pre-war France. According to the history books, Churchill and Monnet managed to persuade US President F.D. Roosevelt and Commander-in-Chief G. Marshall to begin drawing up a plan for US involvement in the war. G. Marshall responded by appointing Colonel Wedemeyer, who was on the War Planning Board, to work with his staff to draw up such a plan. After three months of intensive work, the Victory Plan was born, with a very precise prediction that the US military priority would be the defeat of Hitler on the European continent. At the same time, it calculated exactly what would be needed to achieve such a victory. The calculations showed that the US would have to mobilise a military force of 8 million (in 1941 the US armed forces were only a few hundred thousand strong), and how and where such a force would be trained, where and when the necessary armaments would be produced, and the fleet needed to transport them to Europe would be built. It was also calculated what armaments would have to be produced in order to provide Britain and the Soviet Union with adequate weapons at the same time.

After all this, it was calculated that the US would be ready to land in France in July 1943. This was the Victory Plan, the plan to defeat Hitler. According to historians, this Victory Plan, which mobilised the army and military industry, was implemented with astonishing precision, except that Churchill persuaded Roosevelt to postpone the landing of US troops in France until the summer of 1944. In an interview in 1980, Wedemeyer argued that this delay was a mistake and that it allowed the Soviets to occupy the whole of Central Europe by the end of the war.

In any case, Hitler was defeated, largely because the US had drawn up a detailed victory plan as early as 1941 and began to implement it consistently and effectively.

The first lesson of the Second World War for the West today is that if victory is to be achieved in Ukraine, there is an urgent need for a Western (or at least a European Union) Ukraine Victory Plan.

Of course, until such a Ukrainian Victory Plan is developed and implemented, the problems of supply of Patriot systems and artillery shells need to be resolved immediately, but Ukraine will not be able to achieve victory if Western military support continues to be so haphazard and dependent on crisis solutions: a little earlier, President Pavel of the Czech Republic (himself not participating in the European Council) took the initiative to resolve the artillery shells crisis, and now a member of the European Parliament, Mr Guy Verhofstadt, has started to look for a solution to the air defence crisis.

What the European Council is doing during such a crisis remains unclear.

What is clear is that both Ukraine and the European Union itself need a European Union Plan for Victory in Ukraine (or Ukraine Victory Plan for short). As the experience of the Second World War shows, such a plan is the only way to Ukraine’s victory and Putin’s crushing; the continuation of the West’s current planless chaos and crisis solutions is the only way to Russia’s victories.

A few months ago I took the initiative to get the EU to start drawing up such a Victory Plan for Ukraine, and I have already succeeded in getting the Congress of the European People’s Party (to which we belong) to adopt a special resolution in which the European People’s Party, the most influential party in the European Union, demanded that the European Union should draw up such a Victory Plan for Ukraine in the near future. Several days ago the EPP Group in the European Parliament also adopted a more detailed position paper  on this issue. It would be good if someone in the European Council finally understood the importance of such a Victory Plan for Ukraine.

Victories will not be achieved by mere verbal courage of Heads of State and other leaders that someone needs to give more support to Ukraine. Victories are achieved only by making the victories happen. Making the victories requires a plan for victory. This is the most important lesson of the Second World War for today’s war.

 

Part II. The five most important lessons of that war

The most important lesson of the Second World War for today is that a Ukrainian victory requires a Ukrainian Victory Plan, developed and implemented in the West.

But this is not the only lesson that today’s West needs to learn immediately from this war. I have already written about some of these lessons, but I have now decided to bring them all together in one text.

Indeed, I cannot help wondering how  so much strong intellectual leadership, the ability to take immediate strategic decisions and implement them effectively, were available at that time, and where it has all gone now.

It is to be hoped, therefore, that the lessons of the Second World War will somehow fill the deficit of leadership and the deficit of strategy  that has become the main feature of Western politics today.

These are the lessons:

 

Lesson 1: 1938: The Munich “peace” agreement with Hitler – the gateway to global war.

Today, when there are calls from all sides to bring Zelensky and Putin to the peace negotiating table, and that Ukraine should “only” sacrifice the occupied territories of Crimea and Donbass (allegedly because they are inhabited by Russian speakers) for the sake of peace, it is worth recalling the historical lessons of the 1938 Munich “Peace Conference” (its official name).

In the “Munich Peace Conference” of 30 September 1938, Adolf Hitler (together with Benito Mussolini) promised to take only the Sudetenland, also inhabited  by Germans, away from Czechoslovakia and to guarantee the security of the new Czechoslovak borders (without the Sudetenland), while the West (Neville Chamberlain and Édouard Daladier), in the name of “peace”, not only gave their blessing to Hitler’s actions, but also undertook actions to persuade the Czechoslovak leadership not to oppose the implementation of such an agreement between the “Great Powers”. The Czechoslovak leadership had no choice but to accept such an agreement about it’s territory and on the security guarantees of all the participants  for its new borders. As we know, in March 1939 Hitler occupied the entire territory of Czechoslovakia and took over all military resources and the powerful Czechoslovak military industry. By September 1939, Czech tanks were rolling through the streets of Warsaw with German troops, and by May 1940, in Paris.

The lesson is simple: negotiating with an aggressor to somehow limit its military aggression is not only a hopeless business, but also a morally very “slippery” one, because it gives the aggressor the impression that its actions are blessed by the “great” democrats of the West. Just like the “peace talks” with Hitler, the “peace talks” with Putin will end in the same way: the gates will be opened for Putin to take over the whole of Ukraine, and with it the powerful potential of Ukrainian industry. In a year or two, tanks made in Kharkiv will be rolling down the same streets of Warsaw under the control of Russian tank drivers.

 

Lesson 2: In the late 1940s, Roosevelt and Churchill begin to build not a “pro-British” coalition, but an “anti-Hitler” coalition.

In late 1940, Churchill began to communicate intensively with F.D. Roosevelt, who had been re-elected for a third term. The foundations were  laid for the formation of an anti-Hitler coalition, although the USA was not yet involved in the war. On 14 August 1941, at the US naval base in Placentia Bay, on Canada’s North Atlantic coast, Churchill and Roosevelt met face to face for the first time since the outbreak of the Second World War. It was there that the Atlantic Charter was born – the founding strategic document of the anti-Hitler coalition’s war plan and future post-war order.

If the West is to have a more consolidated strategy for its actions in this war today, the first thing it needs to achieve is for the “pro-Ukrainian” coalition that now exists in the West, despite its inability to clearly define its objectives, to dare to become an “anti-Putin” coalition. As the Russian opposition analyst Vladislav Inozemtsev, who has written very wisely on the subject, puts it, victory over Adolf Hitler in the Second World War was achieved because the Nazis were fought not by a “pro-British” coalition but by an anti-Hitler coalition which had clearly defined its objectives and which declared in 1943 that it would seek the unconditional defeat of Hitler. So now, too, the democratic Western world must finally dare to join the “anti-Putin” coalition and seek the unconditional overthrow of the Putin regime, at least in Ukraine. The creation of such an “anti-Putin coalition” is a prerequisite for the West finally to have the courage and ability to seek unconditional victory in Ukraine and to invest at least 100 billion euros a year, without which victory will never be achieved.

 

Lesson 3: In the summer of 1941, on Roosevelt’s instructions, Colonel Wedemeyer draws up a precise and detailed Victory Plan for the anti-Hitler coalition.

Why we need a Ukrainian Victory Plan of the same kind today is described in Part I.

 

Lesson 4: January 1943 – Roosevelt and Churchill issue the Casablanca Declaration on the objective of the war: “the unconditional surrender of Hitler”.

In January 1943, at the Casablanca Conference, Roosevelt and Churchill, with the support of the leader of undefeated France, General Charles de Gaulle (in the absence of Joseph Stalin), adopted a declaration that clearly and unequivocally defined the objective of their participation in the war against Hitler. The stated objective left no ambiguity: the members of the Alliance would seek Hitler’s unconditional surrender; there would be no separatist peace negotiations with Hitler; there would be no negotiations with Hitler “for peace and armistice”; and the goal of the war and the definition of victory would be Hitler’s unconditional surrender. The Allies remained united in this position until the end of the war. Why they did so was made very clear publicly by Roosevelt himself at  Casablanca Conference: the only way to ensure a lasting, sustainable peace after the war was to implement a policy of “unconditional surrender”, while the ceasefire negotiations would only bring about a temporary cessation of hostilities (and would not guarantee a lasting peace after the war). The unconditional surrender clause would encourage both the German military and the wider German public to continue to oppose the war. If the Allies succeeded in weakening the foundations of support for Hitler within Germany, and thereby weakening the motivation and fighting spirit of the army itself, it would only be a matter of time before Hitler was finally crushed. President Roosevelt stressed in Casablanca that the West’s goal of Hitler’s unconditional surrender did not mean the destruction of German society, but only the destruction of the Nazi philosophy that prevailed in Germany, a philosophy based on the conquest of other peoples and the subjugation of other nations. History has shown that the clear objectives of the war formulated by F.D. Roosevelt and W. Churchill – only the unconditional surrender of Hitler – were fully justified. This allowed a new Germany to emerge after the war, free of the Nazi philosophy that had been crushed in the war. A lasting peace was thus established in the western part of the European continent. Germany, long the greatest threat to European security, was reborn as a stable democracy after its unconditional surrender and became the locomotive for the peaceful unification of Western Europe.

Today, the main reason why some Western leaders are afraid to give Ukraine more military support is that they fear the crushing of the Russian army and the collapse of the Putin regime, because they fear that this will only make things worse in Russia, either by bringing even bloodier dictators to power, or by bringing about the bloody collapse of Russia and inter-regional power struggles in which it will no longer be clear who will continue to control Russia’s nuclear weapons.

The lesson of the Second World War is clear: do not be afraid to crush the aggressor. Just as after Hitler the way for the rebirth of democratic Germany opened, so Putin’s crushing will open the way for positive change in Russia. And that is the most important condition for lasting peace on the European continent. This requires, above all, a Ukrainian victory and a Ukrainian Victory Plan.

 

Lesson 5. 1944: The Western (victorious) plan for a post-war, defeated Germany (without Hitler): from the Morgenthau Plan to the Marshall Plan

As early as 1944, when the Allies were discussing how to deal with the economy of  defeated Germany, the plan drawn up by US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, known as the “Morgenthau Plan”, was adopted, which called for the destruction of German heavy industry and the division of Germany into a number of independent states. This plan was based on the basic premise of Morgenthau himself and his associates that this was the only way to prevent Germany, having recovered economically from the war, from starting World War III ten years later. One of the memoranda endorsing the Morgenthau Plan stated that the military industry in the Ruhr and Saar regions of Germany (the main industrial areas) would have to be destroyed, and that Germany itself would eventually have to be transformed into “a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in character”.

After the war, however, the Americans quickly realised that this plan was completely wrong, as it would condemn the Germans to a long period of poverty and deprivation, which would allow various radicals, including the Communists supported by Stalin, to win the elections. Thus, as early as 1946, the United States and President Harry S. Truman began to realise that the main objective of the US in post-war Europe was to defend the democracies against Stalin’s encroachments, and promptly abandoned the implementation of the Morgenthau Plan and any hint of the destruction of the German economy or its territorial division. On 6 September 1946, US Secretary of State James F. Byrnes made a famous speech in Stuttgart, known by the Germans themselves as the “Speech of Hope”, in which he essentially “buried” the Morgenthau Plan and outlined the prospect of an independent, democratic and economically strong Germany. In 1947, the US announced the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, the implementation of which was aimed at the economic reconstruction of post-war Europe (including Germany), with the clear geopolitical objective of defending European democracies against the radicalism of a disillusioned electorate and against Stalin’s communist expansion.

This lesson of the Second World War tells us today that if we want more security for ourselves, we should look after democracy in Russia. And that means that one day, after the victory in Ukraine and the crushing of Putin, a democratic Russia will be reborn, with the potential to develop economically and become a strong economy. That is why, today, when we consider how the West should deal with a Russia that has lost the war, we should not be thinking of Morgenthau plans for such a Russia, but of something like a Marshall Plan for a democratic Russia. For this is the only thing that will help to stabilise the revival of democracy in Russia defeated after the war, if such a revival takes place. We have written about this, together with experts from the Western and Russian opposition, in a special text “The EU’s Relations With a Future Democratic Russia: A Strategy” (25 July 2022).

 

******

These are the lessons of the Second World War for today’s European Union.

If you put all these lessons together, you realise that the EU now needs to agree not only on a Ukraine Victory Plan, but also on a broader and longer-term strategy for the transformation of the whole eastern part of the European continent. In other words, we need not only a Ukraine Victory Plan, but also a strategy for the transformation of Russia and Belarus that is closely linked to Ukraine’s victory. We can say that the European Union needs a grand strategy for the transformation of the eastern part of the European continent.

Some time ago, while speaking in the European Parliament, Mr Borrell admitted that before the war against Ukraine, the European Union did not have a strategy for Russia, because the EU was heavily dependent on Russian gas, and at the same time the EU did not have a strategy for Ukraine, because the EU’s strategy for Ukraine was subordinated to the EU’s strategy for Russia.

Mr Borrell believed that the end of the EU’s dependence on Russian gas could lead to the birth of a new EU strategy towards Russia.

It is my conviction that such an EU strategy towards Russia must henceforth be subordinated to the EU strategy towards Ukraine.

And the EU’s strategy towards Ukraine must focus first and foremost on Ukraine’s victory and Russia’s defeat, but it must also include Ukraine’s membership of the EU and NATO, because only this will create a long-term success for Ukraine, and this will be an inspiring example for ordinary Russians. Mr Putin launched the war against Ukraine only because he was afraid that Ukraine might become such a model of success.

The West’s strategy towards Ukraine and Russia must aim both for a victory for Ukraine and for such a victory to be the impetus for positive change in Russia. This is the only way to ensure not only Ukraine’s security, but also the long-term peace and security of the whole of Europe.

It is time to start implementing such a grand strategy for sustainable peace on the European continent.

2023.11.27

Andrius Kubilius. On the Reality of War

We all know that this year Ukraine is finding it harder to liberate its occupied territories than last year. Increasingly, there are warnings (from the Ukrainian General V.Zaluzhnyi to the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis) that the war could become a war of entrenchment, which only benefits Russia. On this occasion, there are attempts in various corners of the West to persuade that the only way to avoid the stagnation of trench warfare is to negotiate peace with Russia on Putin’s terms.

Many in the World are worried by such facts that the US Congress is unable to approve a new package of financial support for Ukraine. In addition, the US presidential elections are approaching, where D.Trump may win. It is impossible to predict the impact of this on the further course of the war. And then there is Hungary, which also makes the EU’s decision-making on support for Ukraine unpredictable.

It is against this backdrop that it is worth looking for fundamental answers as to why the frontline in Ukraine is stagnating, even though the West proclaims that it has provided Ukraine with a lot of military support, which should be sufficient to achieve victory. Even the F-16s are about to arrive.

Increasingly, one can hear hints in the West that the West is “tired” or is “about to be tired” of supporting Ukraine because the frontline is stalled. North Korea is capable of finding a million artillery shells for Russia in a month, but the European Union cannot do it in a year. Meanwhile, General Zaluzhnyi is not asking the West for tanks or artillery (which the West has supplied for as long as it has them in its warehouses, because Western military industry is still unable to increase production), but for drones, electronic anti-drones or radars, which the Ukrainians could produce themselves if they were given the funding.

The fundamental question thus arises: why is it that the West, while supporting Ukraine, has not been able to achieve a fundamental breakthrough in Ukraine’s war of liberation against Russia? After all, the West is economically tens of times stronger than Russia, and as history tells us, wars are always won in the end by stronger economies. This has always been the case. Why are we still not seeing that this time?

To understand the essence of the problem, we need to look in some detail at the “war finance” situation of Russia, Ukraine and the West. Accounting is not only important for the state budget, but also for military affairs.

So here are some important figures.

First of all, on the economic potential of Russia and the West: in 2022, Russia’s GDP was USD 1,8 trillion. The European Union’s GDP was USD 18,35 trillion and the USA’s USD 26,23 trillion. So, the EU alone has 10 times the economic potential of Russia, and if you add up the EU and US figures, the gap between the major Western powers and Russia is up to 25 times.

The West is 25 times economically stronger than Russia! According to the simple historical and economic logic of the wars, Russia should have been crushed in Ukraine long ago. But, as we can see, this is not yet the case. Why?

Therefore, it is worth taking a closer look at the bookkeeping of “war finance”: how much money does Russia, Ukraine and the West contribute to the financing of the war?

When looking at the Russian data, it is noticeable that the figures published in various expert publications or in the World Bank statistics vary quite significantly, because since the beginning of the war the Russian authorities have classified the financial statistics. Thus, the World Bank announces that in 2022 Russia will have spent USD 86 billion on military expenditure, while experts at Sweden’s SIPRI Institute put the figure at USD 61 billion. The Wilson Center puts the figure at USD 81,7 billion. The figures for 2023 vary even more: between 80 billion USD (SIPRI) and 120 billion USD (Wilson Center) for 2023. The Wilson Center also states that Russia’s “war costs” do not include all the costs of the war, as they exclude the treatment of the wounded and many other costs (which, if included, would bring Russia’s costs in 2023 up to USD 160 billion). It is also worth noting that the Russian government announces that it will increase military spending by as much as 70% in 2024.

Although the figures published by experts on Russia’s military spending vary, in summary, it can be said that in 2022, such spending would amount to around USD 80 billion, and in 2023 it may reach around USD 100 billion. This could rise even further in 2024.

Calculating the ratio of Russia’s military spending to GDP, we find that it was around 4% in 2022, over 5% in 2023 and will exceed 6% in 2024.

Russia is able to finance such military spending because it earns around USD 7,4 billion a month from oil and gas exports alone. This means that Russia can earn around USD 90 billion a year from oil and gas.

Ukraine plans to spend almost unchanged amounts of money on war financing in both 2023 and 2024 – around UAH 1,7 trillion, or around USD 44 billion.

Such war spending represents as much as 26,6% of Ukraine’s GDP, resulting in the deficit of the Ukrainian budget of USD 38 billion, or 27% of GDP. Therefore, Ukraine needs not only Western military support, but also support to cover the budget gap. Ukraine is also planning to spend USD 1,25 billion on the acquisition of drones in 2024.

The European Union has provided Ukraine with USD 29 billion in military aid since the start of the war. This is the support that the EU has provided for Ukraine’s military needs, both from its own budget (EUR 6 billion) and from all EU Member States combined, i.e. all the support provided to Ukraine by Germany, Lithuania, Poland and all other EU Member States.

However, this amount represents only 0,15% of the European Union’s gross domestic product!!! In 2 years, only 0,15%! In one year, it comes out to 2 times less – USD 14.5 billion or 0,075% of EU GDP.

The NATO standard for defence is 2% of GDP. The EU says that it will “stand together with Ukraine for as long as it takes” and that the Ukrainian war is also “our” war, but it spends only 0,075% on this “our” war.

Ukraine will spend 26% of its GDP on this war in 2023, Russia 6% and the EU only 0,075%. A staggering difference!!!

Of course, there are countries such as Lithuania (leading), Estonia, Latvia or Poland, which have already allocated 1% or even more of their GDP to military aid, but the overall level of EU military aid to Ukraine looks dismal – 0,075%.

Of course, the European Union is providing a lot of money for Ukraine’s macro-financial support, or in other words, for the financing of other expenses in the Ukrainian budget, but this does not change the fact that the only way to win a war is to finance a military victory. Wars are not won by political declarations of solidarity alone.

United States military aid to Ukraine has reached USD 42,10 billion in 2 years. Not much better than the EU support. In one year of war, US support amounts to only USD 21 billion or 0.10% of GDP.

Once the individual figures are broken down, the overall picture of the war’s “bookkeeping” can be seen, which reveals the main reason for the stalemate in this war on the Eastern Front.

As has already been shown, Russia’s military expenditure in 2023 is estimated at USD 100 billion. Maybe more.

Ukraine’s military spending is USD 44 billion. The European Union adds USD 14,5 billion to this, and the US another USD 21 billion. To this could be added the figures for British or Norwegian aid (not included in the EU statistics), but these do not change the substance.

So, the total amount of funds Ukraine, the EU and the US have allocated in 2023 to militarily counter Russian aggression is only USD 79,5 billion. This is less than the USD 100 billion allocated by Russia for the same purpose this year.

One can remember that the US and the EU are 25 times more economically powerful than Russia. But Russia is spending 6% of its GDP on this war, while the EU and the US are spending only 0,075% and 0,10% respectively. That is to say, Russia is devoting 60-80 times more of its economy to this war than the US or the EU.

I stress, 60-80 times more!

This is why the war is stalling in the trenches: because Russia is clearly winning against the West on the front of its economic mobilisation for war.

This overall picture of the financial “bookkeeping” of the war also makes clear what is needed to avoid a disastrous trench war on the Eastern military front: this requires victory on the political front in the West. And this is one of the most important geopolitical tasks for Lithuania. Lithuania must not only worry about its own bilateral support for Ukraine, but also about how to build a coalition of like-minded and like-supporting countries (the Baltic States, Poland, Scandinavia, the UK) and how to persuade the rest of the West to follow our example.

I can say again and again what I have said many times before: It is important for Lithuania today to take care and fight on the Western front to ensure that Russia is defeated at Kherson and Kharkiv, and not just to accept the current situation of “trench warfare” in Ukraine, and to think now only about how we will defend Vilnius when Putin comes to us after victory in Ukraine.

Russia will lose in Ukraine if we win in the West. That is the alpha and omega of our defence and security strategy. This requires that we stop just watching military developments in
Ukraine like the self-righteous actors or neutral experts, we need to start to “fight” in the European Council in Brussels and Washington and in other Western outposts for real and much larger investment into Ukraine’s defense, in order to guarantee that Ukrainian military efforts are financed 2 or 3 times more than Russia is able to finance it’s own. I have not heard anything so far about such fights for such purposes on the Western front and about building coalitions for our victories on that front.

We will be talking about the new battles ahead on the Western Front and Ukraine’s future victories at a high-level conference in the European Parliament organised by the U4U (United for Ukraine) coalition this coming Tuesday, 28 November. We started the U4U coalition on the first day of the war in order to win the battles on the Western Front. Because only then will Ukraine finally win.

And we will achieve it!

2023.01.29

MEP Andrius Kubilius: “We need to do all we can to make sure that Ukraine wins. For our own good.”

Andrius Kubilius, a Lithuanian MEP of the Group of the European People’s Party, chair of Euronest and a member of the EP’s key Committee on Foreign Affairs, has always underscored the danger for all of Europe of an authoritarian Russia. Some would downplay the caveats as exaggeration, some would heed the warnings without taking any action. But, now, the former Lithuanian Prime Minister feels having been far-seeing. “It is in the core interests of the EU to accept Ukraine, Moldova and Sakartvelo (Georgia), and then a democratic Belarus, in the bloc – their success would push Russia to transforming  itself also,” the MEP told The Baltic Times Magazine.

Ukraine has been seeing un unprecedented wave of support. Yet what do you believe has been omitted, especially by the European Union, to prevent war in Ukraine?

Indeed, I have been telling my colleagues for years now that Russia has been dangerous as such and will remain a menace to all for the foreseeable future, unless it is helped to transform to democracy. Unfortunately, far from all heeded the warnings and that led to the war.

Since the beginning of the war most EU decisions regarding Ukraine were ad hoc, i.e. addressing the concrete situation. In terms of assistance to Ukraine, it is the United States, not the European Union that takes the leader’s position.

Although eight Russian sanction packages are in place, the next step for the European Union, I believe, should be systemic decisions, especially considering that war can take place longer than most expect. This means that the European nations need to plan their Ukraine-aimed ammunition production and logistics, long term financing, etc. If they do this, they will not need to search for them frenetically in their stockpiles when a conflagration like this breaks out.

Speaking of the sanctions, I believe they do effect Russia, especially the first ones, which effectively stopped Russian gas and oil exports. Let me remind you that, before the war, Russia’s gas export to the European Union amounted to 41% and, as of the time of the interview (it took place on October 12 – TBT) it is at a mere 7.5% and continues to edge down.

Russia’s high-tech imports have also been dealt a big blow – some of the technologies, like the Taiwanese chips which are necessary in the production of Russian weaponry, are just no longer available and are hardly replaceable with the local production. No wonder that, now, to believe the press, Russia uses the derelict Soviet-era kukuruzniks (the Russian word is derived from “kukuruza”, maize. During the Soviet era, it was used as a nickname for the utility aircraft used extensively in agriculture – TBT) in war.

The European Union will likely adopt new sanction packages against Russia, but, understandably, they will not be anywhere as harsh and inflicting damage to its core economic interests as the first ones. Simply because there is little left to sanction.

In the European Parliament, I have been insisting on setting up ad hoc an international Special Tribunal for Russian crimes of war aggression. It would be different than those existing courts already, like that in Hague, which are in charge of war crimes mostly.

You have always been known for your tough stance on Russia – even in much better times. Here in your MP bureau, I see the sheet of paper on the stand – likely to have been used by you for a small number of your visitors – with the inscription in capital letters “How to stop Putin?” written by hand. Is he stoppable? And as a member of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, can you be sure that with a change of regime, the new Russian leader will be more predictable and democratic?

Let me state the status quo we have now: with the help of the West, Ukraine has stopped Russia. That’s first. Secondly, it appears Russia’s military might is nowhere where Russia had claimed it to be. Thirdly, until the recent Russian bombardment of civil Ukrainian objects – a desperate move by the perpetrator, Ukraine was gaining momentum as its military capabilities are strengthening. What I now see as essential in securing Ukraine’s advancement is providing it with the weaponry it needs.

The implementation of the above-mentioned Tribunal would also help many Russians understand Putin’s guilt. And only after that Russians can take on the dream of a new life, marked with liberties, respect and responsibility.

There are no reasons to believe that the Russians, likewise the Ukrainians and the Belarusians, do not want to live a normal life – a European life, marked with democracy and with peace.

I do believe Russia can take the path after Putin is gone. Obviously, at this point, no one can be sure how the war will evolve in the weeks and months to come, but we need to exert all effort to help Ukraine win it, as only its victory can foster a transformation in Russia – for good. Also, it may help Russians get rid of the ostensible imperial glory of Russia, an idea that Putin insistently foists on his country fellows, but which, in fact, leads to a tragedy for the country. Especially under Putin – the war is instigating various disintegrational processes within Russia itself. We see that happening already.

I do believe that if Ukraine succeeds – wins the war and rebuilds itself successfully and turns into a sustainable state, that would be the best impetus for Russians to seek change and follow the Ukrainian example. In case Putin lasts that long (to see Ukraine’s success – TBT), the Ukrainian success story would be very dangerous for him and his regime.

I believe the European Union has to try all the ways to reach out to Russia’s Democratic forces – the bulk of them live in the West – now. In doing so, we will ensure the whole country’s transition to democracy. Already now the ordinary Russians should know what their lives will look like once Russia and the European Union start cooperating on the basis of democracy. Due to the immensity of Russia, we cannot propose an EU membership for it perhaps, but in return to its abiding by law we can propose it free trade and a visa-free regime.

I understand this may sound like a fantasy to some, but there can be a new reality – sooner or later. Of course, perhaps no one can rule out that a more ruthless leader can emerge once Putin ends his rule, but not to try to help Russian transformation would be strategic mistake on our side.

As a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and as Lithuania’s former Prime Minister under whom the idea of construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal in Lithuania was born, are you concerned about possible energy shortages and record-high prices this winter?

The bulk of the possible problematic issues lies in Germany’s significant dependency on Russian gas until very recently. To be exact, until the war, over 50 percent of Germany’s gas supply was of Russian origin. I can only regret that the Germans did not follow in the footsteps of Lithuania, which built its liquefied natural gas terminal in 2010 – 2014. On the contrary, the Germans insisted that Gazprom is a reliable partner and the whole relation was purely economic.

Obviously, Germany is now compelled to scramble to reverse the policy and find new energy sources – as quickly as possible. The challenge it is facing will definitely impact the whole energy situation in Europe. However, I am convinced that, at the end of the day, it is the European Union, not Putin, that will come out victorious from the Putin-launched energy war. As we speak, roughly 90 percent of European gas storages are filled and the Russian gas imports are historically low, as I said, in single digits. Until recently, due to the energy war, Putin thought that he will make the Europeans subservient, but we clearly see that he failed. The energy crisis will also prompt the European Union to switch to renewables faster. I have no doubt that the Baltics and Lithuania will also feel the big impetus for green energy. Unfortunately, Lithuania failed to build a safe state-of-the art nuclear power plant. I still believe that scrapping the idea was a mistake. Yet Lithuania has made a big step forward in harnessing solar and wind energy – just in 10 years or so, it can be one the greenest EU nations.

You’re chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (PA). How is the war effecting EU cooperation with the Euronest’s six countries, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Sakartvelo (Georgia), all of which are on very different terms with the EU?

Indeed, on the one hand we have Ukraine, Moldova and Sakartvelo that eye EU memberships – the former has been granted the EU’s candidate status. Then, on the other hand, we have Armenia and Azerbaijan that are shedding blood in Nagorno Karabakh and, then, we see Belarus with an illegitimate president. I do believe that the war in Ukraine will be sort of an eye-opener for the European Union. Because of the reliance on Russian gas until recently, the EU did not have a clearly outlined policy towards Ukraine and the other Eastern Partnership countries. Now, we have a new reality – generally, we see less fear of Putin, although the war still rages and can drag out and spill over the borders. I think it is in the core interests of the EU to accept Ukraine, Moldova and Sakartvelo in the bloc – even until 2030, which, with their success, would remove them from the Russian orbit for good.

And when it comes to Belarus, Lithuania’s immediate neighbor, the victory of Ukraine over Russia will have a huge effect on it – to an extent, where change of the regime will be inevitable.

Sadly, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader, is in a way overshadowed by the war. But as we speak, she is to visit the European Parliament – we need to discuss with her what Belarus’ transition to a democratic Belarus will look like. Its long-range goal should also be an EU membership, which would create much more stability and security in the region and in all of Europe.

2022.11.16

EPP proposal for Resolution on Recognising the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism

The European Parliament is moving forward with the adoption of the resolution on recognising the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism. The adoption is planned in the plenary meeting next week in Strasbourg. Political groups have already presented their suggestions and expect to finalise the text this Thursday (November 17) or Friday (November 18) at the latest.

The draft resolution as proposed by the EPP Group in the European Parliament.

 

2022.07.07

R. Juknevičienė, J. Lenaers. War crimes in Ukraine: create a special tribunal for Putin and Lukashenko

Since the war began in Ukraine, more than 10,000 incidents of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been registered and 600 suspects identified. Amnesty International said on 25 February that the Russian attacks on the cities of Vuhledar, Kharkiv Uman, Mariupol and many more places were likely to constitute war crimes. We all saw the horrific pictures of Bucha where more than 400 civilian corpses were discovered. A court in Ukraine has sentenced a Russian Tank Commander to life imprisonment for killing a civilian at the first war crimes trial since the war of aggression began. Nevertheless, the Russian Government denies it has been targeting civilians.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has already sent investigators and forensics specialists to the country. In addition, the responsible authorities of Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania have set up a Joint Investigation Team, which is supported by Eurojust and the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC in the Hague, to collect evidence on alleged core international crimes committed in Ukraine with a view to prosecuting them.

Europe has failed on its promises of “never again”. Similar atrocities that we witnessed in Hitler and Stalin times are happening now on the European continent, in Ukraine. Serious offences such as murder, rape and the torture of children, men and women, forced deportations, and mass persecutions have been repeatedly reported. The list is long: rape, torture, taking hostages, bombing residential areas and civilian infrastructure, forcibly deporting civilians to the territory of the Russian Federation, including Siberia – the area to which millions were deported by the Soviet regime. The atrocities committed by Russian soldiers in Ukrainian cities are shocking. It seems that the Kremlin is deliberately seeking to exterminate people because they are Ukrainian. We cannot accept this in Europe today. What can we do to stop this suffering?

Of course, it is important to charge a soldier for committing a war crime but it is of the utmost importance to hold accountable the political leader who ordered this illegal and unprovoked war as well as the military Commanders and their allies. President Putin and his proxy Lukashenko must be held accountable and tried.

It is clear that the current legal instruments are not enough to punish those who started this unprovoked war of aggression. The democratic world must find a way to bring perpetrators to justice, as was done in Nuremberg after World War II.

Today, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Russia’s war against Ukraine are being investigated by the ICC. Unlike other core international crimes, the ICC is facing objective difficulties in gaining jurisdiction over the crime of aggression – and this is for a variety of reasons. Therefore, we need to fill the gap and establish a Special Tribunal which would have specific jurisdiction over the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

Negotiations are continuing on how to actually set up such a tribunal so that it has comprehensive legitimacy. This could be done either through an international body like the United Nations or under the auspices of a collection of individual states, as was the case with the Nuremberg tribunal, which was established after World War II by the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

The European Parliament voted to extend the mandate of Eurojust, the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, and gave it new powers. These new powers will allow the agency to preserve, store and analyse evidence related to war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Due to the ongoing hostilities, there is a risk that evidence relating to war crimes or crimes against humanity cannot be safely stored on the territory of Ukraine and therefore it is appropriate to establish central storage in a safe location.

Under the new rules, Eurojust could also process data related to these types of crimes and share the data with the ICC and other international organisations, as well as EU Member State authorities.

However, the extension of the Eurojust mandate covers only three of the four crimes recognised in the Rome Statute, the cornerstone of the ICC, therefore, we also need to adjust the Eurojust mandate to include the crime of aggression.

There cannot be any impunity for war crimes in Ukraine. The people that are responsible for this must face justice. The international community has to take all possible actions in order to punish the perpetrators and restore justice so that “never again” doesn’t remain an unfulfilled promise.

2022.06.21

Andrius Kubilius. Ukraine and a Europe tired of being itself

The war has been going on for more than 100 days. And it could go on for hundreds more. It is time to change from sprinting to marathoning. Victory requires not only physical strength but also the right emotional state, long-distance thinking, and even breathing.

And above all, Europe needs this. Not Ukraine, not the United States, not Britain, but the European Union (Europe) needs to get its long-term thinking right and its eyes on victory. In a long marathon. Because Europe is the weak link that Putin is targeting: maybe Europe will falter, maybe it will continue to be more concerned with saving Putin’s face than Europe’s own.

Europe is heterogeneous. There is the Old Europe, which has created a zone of comfort through its work after that war and which sees today’s war not as a security challenge but as an irritant, as an assault on its familiar comfort. For such a Europe, Ukraine is somewhere far away and outside that comfort zone. And there is the New Europe: still unaccustomed to success and comfort, seeing Ukraine as “one of us” and seeing the war as an assault on the existential foundations of its new life built over the last 30 years.

In the near future, Old Europe will inevitably have to wake up from its comfort zone. And together with New Europe, seek answers to the familiar questions posed by this war: who is to blame and what to do? And to agree on answers.

The most important question for Europe in the next decade will be the question of Ukraine. Because therein lies the answer to the other two important questions: What will be the Europe of the future (in what environment will it exist?), and what will Russia be like, even after Putin?

Without an answer to these questions, Europe will return to business as usual, not only in its relations with Putin but in all the other geopolitical failures of the EU in these decades, which led to war. Such business as usual will only mean that the threats to European comfort will only accumulate and grow.

Therefore, Europe must first of all correct its mistake, which has been ongoing for decades: Europe must finally have its own “Ukraine Strategy”. For only in this way can both important questions be properly answered.

We know that Putin has his own “Ukraine Strategy”, which is simply to destroy Ukraine to prevent it from becoming a successful state. The example of Ukraine’s success could inspire ordinary Russians, which would be deadly for the Kremlin regime.

We know that thanks to Putin’s aggressiveness, the Ukrainians have acquired and have their own clear “Ukraine Strategy”: to defend themselves against Russian aggression and, as quickly and as far as possible, to escape geopolitically to the West.

Meanwhile, what is the “Ukrainian Strategy” of the West and, in particular, of Old Europe? This is still not clear either to Old Europe or to Ukraine. When there is no strategy, there are no solutions.

However, it is hoped that a prolonged war will force Europe to finally get its strategy into its own thinking and implement it ambitiously.

This will require Europe to realise its mistakes to date and to set about correcting them strategically. New Europe will have the difficult task of helping Old Europe understand its mistakes and propose how they should be corrected. But, more importantly, it will have to do all this in such a way as to reach an agreement with Old Europe.

What should be a European “Ukraine strategy”?

The answer could be very short: Ukraine must be a full member of the European Union in 2030. And fully rebuilt after the war.

Some may start explaining, like the Dutch prime minister, that the process of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union will take much longer, perhaps even several decades. But this will only show that anyone who talks like this has still not grasped the mistakes Europe has made so far and still has no “Ukraine strategy”.

Why is Ukraine’s membership of the European Union and the rapid reconstruction of Ukraine important for Europe itself?

Because this is the only way in which Europe can influence the transformation of the European continent into a peaceful and secure continent, which today is most threatened by the authoritarian, fascist regime of the Kremlin. Because Ukraine’s membership in the European Union will radically expand the space for success and democracy on the European continent, this will ultimately lead to the transformation of Russia and Belarus.

For these reasons, Ukraine’s membership in the European Union is necessary first and foremost for the European Union itself, not just for Ukraine.

And this is the first fundamental mistake of the European Union, which it must correct immediately. Democratic Europe must regain its hunger for expansion, for the expansion of the democratic space, because this is the only possibility of preserving and expanding the space of European prosperity.

Otherwise, on its fringes, a space of oriental decadence, chaos and authoritarianism, which is degenerating into fascism, will only expand, and this will be an ever-greater threat to Europe itself.

It is, therefore, high time for the European Union to change its philosophical approach to the neighbourhood and to enlargement because this is the main cause of Europe’s geopolitical mistakes to date: until now, in Old Europe, it has been assumed that countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, or the Western Balkans are some kind of foreign beggars asking to be admitted to the club of the rich, but that the club itself is unwilling to admit such beggars, and it has invented a hundred criteria and excuses to justify itself publicly in order to justify this. That is why Old Europe is arguing about whether such countries deserve to be called candidates. And if they do, they then look for any reason to indefinitely delay the so-called accession negotiations. This is the philosophy of “geopolitical laziness”, which has been cultivated by Old Europe over the last decades that, and ultimately led to war.

This European philosophy of “geopolitical laziness” must be replaced by a philosophy of “geopolitical courage and development”. The European Union has no choice but to repeat the history of the 19th-century expansion of the United States into the Wild West. This is how the current greatness and prosperity of the United States were created, as European Anglo-Saxon culture spread boldly across the North American continent. Only unlike the history of the United States, Europe today does not need to fight and conquer Indian lands in the Wild West. Because Europe’s neighbours to the East do not want to resist the expansion of the European Union; on the contrary, they want to become members of it. They themselves are fighting for this right and opportunity. Therefore, the very philosophy of enlargement of the European Union should be renamed from the “process of accession to the European Union” to the “process of reunification with the European Union”, in which both sides want to be united because they see in this a huge mutual strategic purpose and benefit.

When Europe and Ukraine start to look at how to simply “reunify” and not just integrate, apply for candidacy, etc., then all the processes of Ukraine becoming a member of the European Union will make the right geopolitical sense. Then the real European “Ukraine strategy” will be born – a strategy for realising such reunification.

But for such a European “Ukraine strategy” to become a reality, we need to talk not only about the need to change the development philosophy. In the last few decades, Europe, committed to the philosophy of “geopolitical laziness”, has developed a whole series of pseudo-arguments to justify its laziness and the supposed loss of its “appetite for development”. Some of these arguments are made in public, some are not, but still influence the political decisions of old Europe. Even after the war. These arguments deserve to be named and also to be refuted in an argumentative way because only this will allow Europe to return from “laziness” to a philosophy of “geopolitical courage and development”.

In what follows, I will try to list some of the arguments that have become part of the Old European lexicon and have become clichés as to why Ukraine cannot become a member of the European Union within the next decade. Such clichés have to be destroyed by their own arguments by showing that they are completely unfounded

– The enlargement of the European Union will provoke Putin’s aggression. It should be noted that the “non-expansion” of the European Union, the fear of offering Ukraine a much more ambitious prospect of membership in the European Union, has provoked the Kremlin’s military aggression. The Kremlin believed that Ukraine, left in a “grey area”, was easy prey.

– Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, and its reconstruction, will cost European taxpayers dearly. On the other hand, the enlargement of the European Union has brought many economic benefits to Old Europe. The reconstruction of Ukraine will create many new jobs, not only in Ukraine but also in Europe itself. Ukraine is a resource-rich country, and becoming part of the common European economy will enrich Europe rather than impoverish it.

– Ukraine is not in line with the European value system: corruption is rampant, and the rule of law is broken. No one disputes that Ukraine has major problems to overcome. However, transparency in governance and a functioning legal system are not the only European values on which Europe rests. In these difficult days, we can clearly see that Ukraine, with its European values of solidarity, leadership, honesty, and decency, is closer to the classical European virtues than many other European countries or their leaders. It is possible that in Europe, in addition to the “Copenhagen Criteria” of values, which are applied to those countries that wish to become members of the European Union, we will have to introduce a new “Kyiv Criteria”, which would define the European virtues of political leadership, honesty, decency, solidarity, and by which the citizens of Old Europe could judge the performance of their political leaders.

– The institutions of the European Union are not ready for enlargement. It is clear that Europe is still facing major governance problems. Consensus-based decision-making was not a problem when it came to an agreement among ten or a dozen EU members. When the number of members reaches several dozen and may approach 40 with the new wave of enlargement, such a decision-making mechanism will become completely inadequate. The further we go, the more Hungaries and blackmailers will appear in Europe. Therefore, there can only be one answer to this argument of the opponents of enlargement: let us change institutions and decision-making, but let us not stop enlargement. Peace on the European continent, which can only be guaranteed by further enlargement, is more important than the inability or unwillingness to change any rules.

– European voters are “tired of enlargement” – to the contrary, recent polls show that, in the wake of the war, a majority of European voters support Ukraine’s membership of the European Union. Only the political leaders of individual countries are unwilling/fearful. The leaders do not dare to openly state their arguments as to why they are afraid of it, so one has to guess that there are no serious arguments. There is only a psychological fear that Ukraine’s membership in the EU will create serious competition for the leadership of Old Europe in the EU. And to the political comfort and geopolitical laziness of Old Europe.

These are the arguments of a Europe that are tired of being itself and why it no longer wants to expand. Moreover, they are easily refutable arguments. Between the 1990s and the 2000s, Europe was not afraid to expand. And it was not tired of being itself: of expanding the space of democracy and prosperity to the point where it became the continent of Europe because only this can guarantee lasting peace on the European continent.

After the 2000s, Europe became tired of being itself. It got lazy. Or it got scared of Putin’s Russia and shrank away.

That is what led to today’s war.

Europe’s lazy days are over. The time for lazy comfort is over. Europe will not be able to get out of the geopolitical crisis by Ukraine’s efforts alone. It will have to change its own philosophy. Enlargement is the right response to the challenges of this crisis. Only in this way can Europe become itself again.

2022.06.07

R. Juknevičienė. The future of Europe’s security will depend on the democratic world overcoming the brutal Kremlin regime

The EU’s Foreign, Security and Defence Policy after the Russian invasion of Ukraine (plenary debate)

Mr President, I would like to thank my colleagues for this report and their efforts.

The future of Europe’s security will depend on the democratic world overcoming the brutal Kremlin regime and Russia becoming a normal, non-aggressive state. This requires, first of all, acknowledging the fundamental mistakes that have been made so that we do not repeat them again. The Western world has not taken seriously Putin’s plan to destroy democracies. The biggest mistake was engagement with Putin’s regime. Lessons must be learnt.

Secondly, those who say that Russia under Putin must not be humiliated as Germany was humiliated after Versailles are misleading. Today we face Hitler’s analogy, who grew out of Stalin’s unacknowledged crimes and evaluated crimes. The situation now is similar to that of Hitler’s and Stalin’s war in Europe. So we must now defeat Putin as Hitler was defeated.

Eliminating the main threat to the security of the entire European continent is our most important task. This requires helping Ukraine to defend its territory and not being afraid to believe that Russia can be different. The war criminal Putin must be isolated. To have a different Russia, the current regime must be defeated. I have a feeling that some countries of Europe are frightened of Ukraine’s victory and intend to repeat the same mistakes. If they continue to save the face of the brutal Kremlin regime our efforts to build up our own security capabilities will never be enough.

 

2022.05.20

R. Juknevičienė. Putin and Lukashenko must be held accountable and tried by a special international tribunal

The fight against impunity for war crimes in Ukraine (plenary debate)

Mr President, dear colleagues, today is Ukrainian Vyshyvanka Day, so that’s why I am happy to wear a vyshyvanka today.

In 1945 Nazi Germany was defeated and their atrocities were revealed and condemned during the Nuremberg trials. The Soviet Union, from the war it started as an aggressor, ended it regarded as an ally, rewarded with new territories.

An invisible link between Soviet KGB and current Russian leadership is evident also in this community of crime. The legacy of genocide is transferred from generation to generation. The West wrongly decided to please its conscience with silence over Soviet crimes. They were allowed to call themselves the liberators of Europe, despite having committed the same horrendous crimes in the territories they occupied. The exact same narrative is repeated today in Ukraine; the same unimaginable atrocities follow.

But for these outrageous crimes, not only should soldiers be punished, but also their political leaders and military commanders of the Russian Federation, as well as their allies. Also, President Putin and his proxy Lukashenko must be held accountable and tried by a special international tribunal. We therefore call on the EU institutions, in particular the European Commission, to support the creation without any delay of such tribunal and to provide as soon as possible all necessary resources and support for the establishment of this tribunal. Don’t repeat the mistakes of yesterday.

2022.04.25

Letter of MEPs to Chancellor Olaf Scholz

On April 23, more than 50 Members of the European Parliament signed a letter to the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Olaf Scholz, requesting to take a stronger position in supporting Ukraine and calling for further sanctions on the Russian Federation.

LETTER_to Chancellor O.Scholz.

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