[WSMDiscuss] De-escalate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine

Tord Björk tord.bjork at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 19:24:20 CET 2018

Demands for de-escalation of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine

Since the beginning of this year, tensions have been rising in the Azov Sea
region between Russia and Ukraine, culminating in the Kerch Strait incident
on Nov. 25, 2018. This incident has been used by the Ukrainian government
as a pretext for declaring martial law in regions spanning along the Black
Sea coast and borders with Russia and Transnistria and also asking for
Nato-intervention in the Azov Sea. At the same time, actions of Russian
authorities creating difficulties for marine traffic to and from the
Ukrainian ports on the Azov Sea contribute to deterioration of the economic
and the general situation in Ukraine. These developments take place in the
context of continuing Ukrainian economic pressure on Crimea, ranging from
water blockade (leading to serious environmental problems) via cutting
electricity supply to travel restrictions and capturing boats after they
left Crimean ports. There is also an ongoing war in Donbass and hardening
securitarian and repressive policies in Russia and Ukraine.

Escalation of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine can be
exceptionally dangerous. So can the militaristic-authoritarian efforts of
the Ukrainian government within Ukraine, especially in its southern and
eastern regions where there is significant opposition to the
confrontational policies of the current ruling establishment.

We demand that:

   1. Both sides (Russia and Ukraine) should without delay hold dialogues
   and take concrete steps in order to de-escalate and reduce tensions
   following the incident in the Kerch strait. A peaceful solution is of
   priority for everyone. In a situation towards war, all minor points of
   contention should be dropped by both sides.
   2. Both sides should immediately release all confiscated or detained
   vessels and their crew; those captured on Nov. 25 as well as before that.
   All threats of detention in Ukrainian ports and actual confiscation in
   relation to the Azov Sea, the Kerch Strait, Crimea and their close areas
   should stop. No charges should be put forward in relation to these areas.
   Ukraine should, for instance, drop the charges against the captain of the
   Russian flagged fishing vessel ”Nord”, Vladimir Gorbenko. Russia should,
   for instance, cancel the criminal case that is being opened against the
   sailors captured on Nov. 25.
   3. Existing sanctions against Russia should not be extended and new
   sanctions should not be introduced by neither Ukraine nor the international
   4. Kerch strait should be open for traffic following existing agreements
   and rules for international shipping. Protracted inspections of ships
   should be ended. Uncalled-for inspections should be avoided and passage
   through the Kerch Strait should be done without unnecessary delays, not to
   harm economic activities in and around the Azov Sea.
   5. The extra travel restrictions imposed by the Ukrainian authorities on
   Russian and other non-Ukrainian citizens should be abolished. This applies
   to both in and out of Ukraine, over the contact line in the east and to and
   from Crimea.
   6. Steps for de-escalation in the wider area involved in the conflict
   should be made, including the repeal of the martial law in Ukraine, the
   resumption of the Minsk agreements’ implementation process in Donbass, and
   the release of political prisoners and prisoners of war by all sides of the

*Prague Spring 2 – Network against right-wing extremism and populismin
co-operation Activists for peace.*

*In Swedish and English*
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