The illegal military invasion of Ukraine by the Russian federation is catastrophic and alarming in many ways. As we are entering the second week of aggression on Ukraine and its people, Ukraine is facing mass displacement, mounting casualties and destruction. More globally, this is posing a threat to international security and peace, and putting Ukraine’s democratic foundations and anti-corruption progress at risk. Therefore, the attack on Ukraine is also an attack on universal values of freedom, rule of law and democracy itself. As a democracy support network, our community stands in support of Ukraine and its people, and condemns this violation of the territorial integrity of a sovereign state and internationally recognised borders.
Our members have been working in Ukraine to support its journey to democracy for many years. Today, many of our members have put their activities in an emergency mode to monitor all aspects of the war in Ukraine and offer assistance whenever and wherever possible. For example, the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA) is currently cooperating closely with two Ukraine-based local democracy agencies in the municipalities of Mariupol and Dnipro. Our member, People in Need, also created a fundraiser and has so far collected more than 43 million euros for humanitarian aid. Other members such as Article19, DemoFinland, DIPD, Democracy Reporting International, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, and Westminster Foundation for Democracy have put out statements of solidarity for the Ukrainian people, condemning the unprovoked senseless use of violence.
Democracy organisations, including EPD and some of its members, signed the Global Democracy Coalition’s joint statement to express solidarity with Ukraine and its people and with all those in Russia and Belarus who oppose the attacks on Ukraine. This statement supported the steps the international community took to hold Russia accountable and called for the protection of the people of Ukraine and the immediate ending of Russia’s aggression. Looking ahead, it will be important that the EU upholds its own democratic rights and principles. For instance, the invasion should not mean that the EU takes a softer approach on member states that are supporting Ukrainians while undermining democracy, as argued in this op-ed by the Executive Director of Democracy Reporting International, Michael Meyer-Resende.
We have been saddened and shaken by the Putin regime’s ongoing war crimes, its attack on Ukraine’s democratic institutions and repercussions. In times like these, standing up for your values and beliefs is essential. If you wonder what you can do to help Ukraine and its people, have a look at the following initiatives to support Ukraine:
- Publicly take a stand whether through a written statement or flags and banners demanding the end of the Russian regime aggression or use #StandWithUkraine on social media platforms;
- Approach national institutions taking rights-based actions to help those fleeing the war to neighbouring countries and provide material assistance to them;
- Donate to verified civil society organisations on the ground such as ALDA’s trusted associations and People In Need.