Europe’s future will be decided in Ukraine

By Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko

Two years ago, in the early morning of 24 February 2022, Russian troops invaded Ukraine. Since then, everyone’s life has changed dramatically. Thousands of Ukrainians have been killed, injured, raped and children abducted to Russia.
There are bomb alarms day and night, and the country has been devastated in many places. But we stand firm. We are fighting. Not only for ourselves, for our people, for our identity, for our country, but also for a free and democratic Europe. We are also defending our western neighbours, who are as well on Putin’s list of incorporation dreams. Because if Ukraine falls, Putin will not stop his barbaric war of conquest.

He is openly conjuring up a full-scale social and economic mobilisation of Russia and threatening to attack Eastern European countries. For many years we have repeatedly warned of a massive attack by Putin on Ukraine, but nobody wanted to hear it. Instead, they continued to do business with the Russian dictator, funding his weapons and his army.

Ten years ago, in January and February 2014, hundreds of thousands of people marched with courage and conviction on the Maidan in support of the EU agreement and against the corrupt, pro-Russian policies of the then Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. In that bitterly cold winter, many EU politicians said to us: ‘These Ukrainians stand more for the values of the EU, they stand more for the European idea than many people in the EU do now. Shortly afterwards, Putin invaded Crimea. Since then, a bloody war has raged in Ukraine with the aim of completely wiping out Ukraine, its people and its identity.

If Ukraine had not signed the Budapest Memorandum 30 years ago, pledging to hand over all nuclear and other heavy weapons to Russia, we would not be in this desperate situation. But in 1994 Ukraine trusted the US, Britain and Russia to recognise and respect Ukraine’s independence, existing borders and territorial integrity. At the time, Ukraine had the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Now Putin is threatening not only Ukraine but the whole of Europe with these very nuclear weapons.

Many people in the West do not believe this. We keep hearing that the West should stop supplying Ukraine with weapons and then there will be peace. But this is a mistake.
This war is not only our war. It is a threat to every democratic country in Europe. A Putin victory in Ukraine would lead to a massive wave of refugees and the complete destabilisation of Europe.

That is why we need the continued support of our Western partners. We need the Taurus air-to-ground cruise missile, we need munitions. The future of Europe will be decided in Ukraine. If we do not stop Putin together, no European country will feel safe tomorrow.

Vitali Klitschko was awarded the M100 Media Award on 12 September 2014 as a representative of all democratic movements in Ukraine.
Vladimir Klitschko accepted the M100 Media Award on 15 September 2022 on behalf of the people of Ukraine.

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Olesia Tytarenko: Ukraine will never become part of Russia

Kai Diekmann: A genocide of the population is taking place in Ukraine

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