Vladimir Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine has brought a terrible toll of deaths and injuries across borders. These are horrible days for the people of Ukraine, for the civilians in Russia and Belarus, for all those caught in this conflict and for Europe, which faces its biggest crisis in many years.
We have all seen images of brave civilians in Ukraine facing the tanks with their bare hands, and peaceful protesters across Russia and Belarus who dare challenge Putin and his regime. They set an example for us.
To add to the horrific events of these days, there is a unique nuclear threat, both because Putin has put nuclear deterrence on high alert and because the war is being waged in a country with multiple nuclear reactors. The only way to substantially reduce the risks is to halt the war in Ukraine.
We offer our solidarity to the people of Ukraine and the peaceful protesters across Russia and Belarus. As an international network, we have partners in Ukraine, in Russia and in Belarus, and we support their call for a European ban on Russia and Belarus wood and timber, of which European Union countries are among the major importers and which in 2021 represented US$13.9 billion. Wood from these regions is used in construction, to produce paper and furniture and to fuel power plants.
European governments have an undeniable responsibility for this war. Europe must take more action to dent Putin’s economic power. We cannot continue to feed his wars – in Ukraine, in Georgia, in Libya and in Syria: we must end our dependence on Russia’s oil and gas, cut imports of other commodities like timber, and focus on the deployment of an energy mix for Europe built on low carbon renewables, like wind and solar.
If you want to support people in Ukraine, this group of climate activists (not affiliated with EPN) has created a list of ways to provide help: https://standwithukraine.live/how-to-help/