Message from the Aspen Institute Kyiv Chairperson Natalie Jaresko

Dear Aspen community members,

As Chairperson of Aspen Institute Kyiv, I urge you to #StandWithUkraine.

I ask you to stand shoulder to shoulder with our over 1000 members of the Aspen community in Ukraine.

I ask you to stand with the hundreds of peaceful citizens and defending soldiers who lost their lives over the past eight hours as missiles rained down over our lands

I ask you to understand that a peaceful and free Ukraine is the only guarantor of peace in Europe today. 

Last night’s unprovoked attack on major many cities throughout Ukraine is illegal, taken against the UN Charter, the Helsinki accords and the basic principle of morality.  These are war crimes!

Those of you who live in USA I ask you to call your Congressional representatives and White House and tell them you #StandWithUkraine and urge urgent and immediate punishing sanctions for the Kremlin’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you live in Europe or other countries, find a way to raise your voice in support of Ukraine and Ukrainians.

Aspen has been a monumental force for good in Ukraine. It has been a platform for discussion, debate, and creative solutions to the most complex problems in society.  Aspen Kyiv has brought together all political parties, all ages, all perspectives and points of view in an attempt to build an ever-better democracy, a stronger society.  Aspen has shone the light on the leaders in Ukraine from every segment of society in all areas of the country’s development, from press to science, from politics to business.   In the traditions of Aspen globally, Aspen Kyiv has promoted tolerance and understanding. 

Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and earlier this week it illegally recognized the independence of the occupied territories within Donbas.  The Kremlin has officially denied the existence of Ukraine, the Ukrainian people, traditions, and culture. The Kremlin is denying our over 1000 years of history in an effort to deny us peace and freedom, to deny us our right to sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Ukraine is not Russia.

Ukraine has a vibrant democracy with a plethora of political parties.  The Kremlin cannot accept a vibrant democracy at its border.

Ukraine is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic country with respect for all.  The Kremlin cannot accept a respectful society at its border.

Ukraine protects freedom of religion for all. The Kremlin cannot accept anything but its state church and cannot accept freedom of religion at its border.

Ukraine allows for freedom of speech and media. The Kremlin has outlawed opposition in any form and cannot accept freedom of speech and media at its border.

Ukraine is a tolerant society, tolerant of all.  The Kremlin cannot accept a tolerant, patient society at its border.

Know that Ukrainians are united and will defend their homeland, their rights, their freedoms, their sovereign choice to live by European values and not return to tyranny, subjugation and colonialism.  Join them by urging your respective leaderships to #StandWithUkraine.  Join them by reading about Ukraine and donating books on Ukrainian history to your local public library and school, e.g. Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands, Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine, etc. Join them by donating to trusted organizations, for example: https://savelife.in.ua/donate/. Join them by providing shelter and support to the numerous refugees now pouring into Europe.  

What is happening in Ukraine today matters not only to Ukraine and Ukrainians, not only to Europe, but all peoples of the world who seek peace and freedom.  We cannot allow raw power to define our world, creating chaos and conflict.  For this reason, and for our team in Ukraine, I beg of you to #StandWithUkraine.

 

With deepest respect and gratitude,

Natalie A. Jaresko

Chairperson

Aspen Institute Kyiv

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