Vladimir Putin's decision to send troops to Donetsk and Luhansk has been condemned by peace activists in Russia, Ukraine and around the world.
There have been reports over the last few days of Russians being arrested for campaigning in the streets against war with Ukraine (pictured above). Others seem to have been able to demonstrate without arrest.
The Ukrainian Pacifist Movement has condemned Putin’s military aggression, while insisting that NATO is also an aggressive militarist organisation that offers no solution to the problem.
The Finnish Association of Conscientious Objectors took to social media to post an anti-Putin image with the caption, “Ei Imperialismille, Ei Sodalle” meaning, “No Imperialism, No War”.
The Peace Pledge Union, which has long upheld the right to self-determination, said that the future of Donetsk and Luhansk should be a decision for people living there, who should be free to determine their future without fear of either Russian or Ukrainian troops.
The PPU said that there was no military solution to the crisis and warned that NATO would be likely to use Putin’s move as an excuse to dispatch more troops to Russia’s borders and more weapons to Ukraine.
War Resisters’ International – of which the PPU is the British section – recently called for soldiers and civilians on all sides to refuse to co-operate with the drive to war. Pacifists have long criticised NATO and the Putin regime for using each other’s militarism as an excuse for their own.
In the event of Russian troops going further into Ukraine, pacifists have suggested that mass non-co-operation – as used to resist the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 – is likely to be more effective than attempting to resist the Russian army militarily.
Calling for urgent peace talks, the PPU criticised Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden and Boris Johnson for hyping up military tension instead of engaging in meaningful dialogue. They have all been accused of using Ukraine to distract from their declining popularity in their own countries.
For the last two months, the PPU has been calling for the withdrawal of Russian troops form Ukraine’s borders, the withdrawal of NATO troops from Russia’s other borders and an end to NATO’s eastward expansion.
The Russian Association of Conscientious Objectors and the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement both spoke at an online event last week attended by peace campaigners from at least fifteen countries, committed to resisting militarism on all sides.