NATO must stand against Russia’s aggression
On 25 November 2018, in an unprovoked and purposeful act of aggression, Russian warships attacked and opened fire on Ukrainian naval vessels in international waters, and seized them. 24 Ukrainian sailors were taken prisoner, six of whom were wounded.
This attack represents a significant escalation in Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Russia is now openly using its armed forces against Ukraine, and no longer hiding from the international community the war it has been waging against Ukraine for almost five years. This represents a serious threat to European security.
“Russia’s latest act of aggression against Ukraine is a direct challenge to NATO and the international community. If left unanswered, this escalation will inevitably lead to further intensification of violence by Russia,” stated Paul Grod, President of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC). “NATO, the bedrock upon which European security is built, must deliver a proportionate response for this unacceptable breach of international law with sanctions against Russia and enhanced military support for Ukraine.”
Paul Grod wrote to NATO heads of state outlining necessary steps that must be taken to counter Russia’s growing aggression.
He highlighted the following:
1. Diplomatic recommendations:
- Demand that Russia immediately release the 24 Ukrainian sailors held captive in violation of international law and return the three seized Ukrainian vessels;
- Demand that Russia adhere to the international conventions and treaties to which it is a signatory, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
2. Economic recommendations:
- Impose blocking sanctions against Russian state financial institutions, including Vnesheconombank, Promsvyazbank, Gazprombank, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund;
- Prohibit Russian ships from docking in US, EU and Canadian ports;
- Cancel the Nord Stream II pipeline;
- Remove Russia from the SWIFT international payments system.
3. Military recommendations:
- Provide Ukraine with additional armaments, including surface-to-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, patrol boats, radars and additional ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets;
- Reinforce NATO presence in the Black Sea, including increasing patrols;
- Organize a NATO-Ukraine exercise in Ukrainian territory;
- Increase drone and other surveillance monitoring in the Sea of Azov;
- Improve intelligence sharing between Ukraine and NATO related to this region.
For the letter sent by UWC President Paul Grod to NATO heads of state, please see here.