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23 Apr, 2022 12:17

Germany should stop sending weapons to Ukraine – public figures

Military aid to Kiev prolongs the suffering and makes Western nations parties to the conflict, the co-authors of an open letter warn
Germany should stop sending weapons to Ukraine – public figures

Further military aid to Ukraine would only lead to an uncontrollable escalation of hostilities and prolong the suffering of the people caught up in the fighting, a group of German politicians and public figures have warned Chancellor Olaf Scholz in an open letter. By providing arms to Kiev, Germany and other NATO nations “have de facto made themselves a war party,” the letter published by the Berliner Zeitung on Friday, has said.

The co-authors of the letter, which include the ex-vice president of the Bundestag, Antje Vollmer, and a former UN assistant secretary general, Hans-Christof Graf von Sponeck, have said that Ukraine has “become the battlefield for the conflict between NATO and Russia over the security order in Europe,” which is now waged “at the expense of the Ukrainian people.”

If the conflict is not stopped quickly, it will end up in “another big war” similar to Word War I, the letter warns, adding that this time nuclear weapons might be used, bringing “widespread devastation and the end of human civilization.” Avoiding further destruction and escalation should be an “absolute priority,” it adds.

The co-authors, who also include a former German MP, Norman Paech, as well as an ex-director of the Center for Conflict Research in Marburg, Johannes Becker, maintain that NATO’s military support only delays a diplomatic solution, fueling the resistance of the Ukrainian army that “has little chance of winning.” Instead, steps to end the bloodshed must be taken, they argue.

The first such step should a stop to all arms deliveries, the co-authors suggest, adding that Berlin should instead convince Kiev to “end its military resistance” and opt for a political solution instead. A neutral status for Ukraine, as well as recognition of Crimea as part of Russian territory and Kiev’s consent to referendums in the Donbass republics, could be a “real chance” for reaching an agreement, they say.

Talks about the withdrawal of Russian troops and the “restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity” should be accompanied by NATO proposals on new security arrangements in the region that would take into account the “legitimate security interests of Russia and its neighboring countries,” the letter says.

The co-authors, comprising 18 politicians and public figures in total, also suggest declaring several Ukrainian cities, including Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa, to be “open cities” – meaning locations that agree to abandon all defensive efforts in exchange for assurances that no fighting will take place in their premises. That would help them avoid destruction and civilian casualties, those behind the open letter argue.

The prevailing logic of war must be replaced by a courageous logic of peace and a new European and global peace architecture must be created that includes Russia and China. Our country must not stand on the sidelines here, but must play an active role.

Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.