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For three weeks, Ukraine has been courageously repelling the military aggression of a treacherous and more powerful enemy. Ukraine’s strength has two sources. The first is the bravery of her soldiers and volunteers, who are defending their families, their homes, their native land. The second is the solidarity and assistance of her Western neighbors and the international community: they are supplying Ukraine with necessary resources, welcoming refugees, and weakening Russia with sanctions.
But at the same time, we hear individual voices in the West saying that Ukrainians should be more accommodating, sit down at the negotiating table and renounce NATO membership. These arguments are naïve at best. First of all, no one has offered Ukraine membership in NATO, even in the distant future – but this did not stop Putin from attacking her. Second, those who know Putin all say that he will not sit down to negotiations because negotiations are a search for compromise, and for him, compromise is tantamount to personal defeat. And third, he will not be satisfied with even a part of Ukraine, nor with its neutral status. He wants the total annihilation of Ukraine as a nation-state and its transformation into a part of “Great Russia.”
And chiefly: who can believe Russian guarantees? After the violation of the Budapest memorandum, according to which Russia promised to respect the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine? After Putin’s repeated assurances that he would not attack Ukraine? After his declarations that Ukraine must be liberated from the rule of “Nazis,” while the president of Ukraine is a Russian-speaking Jew whose grandfather spent all of World War II in the Red Army?
One cannot resist the analogy of the Munich accords of 1938. One cannot trust Putin any more than Hitler. For this reason, in searching for a scenario to end this war, we must follow the example of Churchill, not Chamberlain. Thus speaks the Ukrainian president, thus think the Ukrainians, and thus we appeal to all to proceed.
Furthermore, we believe that the time has come to form a joint plan for victory.
The first point of such an action plan is to close the sky over Ukraine and to give her all possible means of defense. Each day, each hour, each minute of delay in making this decision means lost lives and unspeakable suffering.
The second point is to refuse imports of Russian gas and oil. Every person in the West who fills his tank with Russian gasoline or turns on a gas burner in his apartment should be aware that these goods have been bought with the lives of Ukrainian children.
These are tactical questions. Strategically, we should pursue the following aims:
First, accept Ukraine into the European Union and open a path to NATO membership. A path does not mean immediate accession, though in today’s war conditions this path should be as short as possible. But the Ukrainians have earned it more than anyone else. They are defending not only Ukraine, but all of Europe. Therefore, providing a path to membership in Euro-Atlantic structures would be only a formal acknowledgment of what already exists in reality.
Second, Ukraine needs a new Marshall Plan. Not only to rebuild her ruined infrastructure and renew her economy, but also to accelerate and strengthen the reforms that Ukraine undertook several years ago. The war will thrust Russia back several decades. We cannot permit this to happen to Ukraine. For Ukraine’s victory over Russia will be a victory not just for Ukraine. This will be a victory for Europe and all of the free world, where the chief values are the life, dignity, and welfare of each human being.
Prevailing in war thanks to her own fortitude and the aid of her allies, Ukraine will have every chance of becoming an East European economic tiger and a guarantor of geopolitical stability.
We understand that Ukraine’s road to this goal cannot be easy, and that it will be marked with blood, sweat, and tears. But we simply see no other way.
Let us help Ukraine – and she will help us make a peaceful, more stable, and better world.
Svetlana Alexievich, Belarus, Nobel Prize Winner in literature
Jose Casanova, the US, professor, Georgetown University
Catherine Ciepiela, Professor of Russian, Amherst College Mass
Boris Wolfson, Associate Professor of Russianб Amherst College Mass
Carlos Cunha, Portugal, CLC Portugal President
Małgorzata Fidelis, Associate Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago
Francis Fukuyama, USA, professor, Stanford University
Mischa Gabowitsch, Germany, senior researcher, Einstein Forum
Timothy Garton Ash, Great Britain, professor, Oxford University
Ilya Gerasimov, USA, PhD in History, Executive Editor, Ab Imperio quarterly
Sergei Glebov, USA, Associate Professor of History, Smith College and Amherst College
Andrea Graziosi, Italy, professor Università di Napoli Federico II, former President of the Italian Society for the Study of Contemporary History
Rebecca Harms, Germany, former Member of the European Parliament
Tomáš Halik, Czech Republic, msgre professor, president of Czech Christian Academy
Faith C. Hillis, USA, professor of Russian History and the College, University of Chicago
Agnieszka Holland, Poland, movie director
Zbigniew Hołdys, Poland, rock singer and musician
Dmytro Hryshko, Canada, Associate Professor, Economics, University of Alberta
Toomas Ilves, Estonia, former President
Tomasz Kalisz, Poland, editor-in-chief of Wydawnictwo CLC, deputy editor-in-chief of “Oecumenica Silesiana”, former city counselor of Katowice
Garry Kasparov, former World Chess Champion
Petia Kostadinova, Association Professor, Political Science Department, UIC
Dominika Kozłowska, Poland, Chair of the Board, Znak Publishing House
Jan Kubik, USA, professor, Rutgers University and University College London
Viktor Levandovskyy, Ukraine and Germany, Visiting Professor of University of Kassel
Uladzimir Mackievic, Belarus, philosopher, prisoner
Mikołaj Małecki, Poland, dr hab. Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Krakowski Instytut Prawa Karnego
Luigi Marinelli, Italy, professor Sapienza University of Rome,
Markus Meckel, Germany, Foreign Minister of GDR after free election negotiating German Unification and former Member of the German Bundestag
Adam Michnik, Poland, editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza
Jarosław Mikołajewski, Poland, poet and translator
Marina Mogilner, Edward and Marianna Thaden Chair in Russian and East European Intellectual History, Associate Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago
Herta Müller, Germany, Nobel Prize Winner in literature
Valentyna Nevmerzhytska, Ukraine and Mexico, Master of Pedagogy, Linguistic and Theology. Pastor and Spiritual Counselor
Katja Petrowskaja, Germany, writer and journalist
Yuriy Popko, USA – Texas and South Carolina, Realtor
Michael Renken, USA, Police Officer
Thomas Roberts, Assistant Professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, Smith College
Roman Sheremeta, Ukraine and USA, Professor of Case Western Reserve University and Founding Rector of American University Kyiv
Marci Shore, USA, professor, Yale University
Joel Sjöberg, Sweden, author, publisher, Sjöbergs Förlag
Paweł Smoleński, Poland, journalist of “Gazeta Wyborcza”
Karl Schlögel, Germany, professor, historian
Werner Schulz, Germany, former Member of the German Bundestag, former Member of the European Parliament
Timothy Snyder, USA, professor, Yale University
Keely Stauter-Halsted, Professor of History, Hejna Family Chair in Polish Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
Andres Tarand, Estonia, former Prime Minister, former Member of the European Parliament
Indrek Tarand, Estonia, former Member of the European Parliament
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Belarus, leader of the national resistance
Olga Tokarczuk, Poland, Nobel Prize Winner in literature
Andrzej Tymowski, the US, former Director of International Programs ACLS
Irena Vaišvilaite, Lithuania, diplomat and historian
Christian Wulff, Germany, former President
This appeal was originally posted in Wyborcza.