40 Ukrainian civil society leaders appeal to the world

As they seek refuge in makeshift shelters, search for safety, and flee to exile, the leaders of 40 Ukrainian civil society organisations have come together with six urgent appeals to the international community.

Coordinating via encrypted app’s, and face to face in underground shelters, signatories including Ukrainian Helsinki Group for Human Rights, Come Back Alive, Ukraine Crisis Media Centre and Women’s Perspectives who are calling on the world to act now to stand with Ukraine.

From establishing safe zones to provide sanctuary for civilians, to providing air defence systems and anti-tank weaponry, the Kyiv Declaration sets out six humanitarian and military needs of a country under attack.

Lyubov Maksymovych, Chair of Women’s Perspectives, said: “We are issuing this declaration on behalf of Ukrainian women and men who stand together to fight for their liberty and freedoms. At this moment, it’s not too late to draw a line in the sand, here in Ukraine rather than through the centre of Europe – which is what will happen if we fail. We hope that western powers have learnt from the long failures of appeasement, and the obvious duplicity and inhumanity of Vladimir Putin. This is the most important declaration I have ever signed. If it is not answered, it could also be my last.”

Olga Aivazovska, Chair of Elections Watchdog Opora, said: “Now is the moment the world must demonstrate its support not only for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but also for the values of democracy, human rights and freedom. With the Kyiv declaration, we ask for your help in defeating an autocratic dictator to defend not only Ukraine but the whole democratic world and the principles it is founded on”

Oleksandr Pavlichenko, the Executive Director of Ukrainian Helsinki Group for Human Rights, said: “Vladimir Putin and his henchmen believe they are above the law, that they can get away with this bloodshed because the world needs their gas and oil. We must prove them wrong. We must expose the truth. We must hold them to account in a court of law. Our declaration calls for the documentation and prosecution of their war crimes – the slain civilians, murdered children, the bombing of peaceful cities. Vladimir Putin must answer for his crimes against the Ukrainian people.”

Natalia Popovych, Co-Founder and the Chair of the Board at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center: “There is no free and just Europe without a free and just Ukraine. The Ukrainian nation is fighting not only for our homeland, but for a world safe for democracy. But we cannot win if we must stand alone. We urge you to support our declaration.


The Kyiv Declaration

Vladimir Putin has unleashed unimaginable violence against Ukraine. Our homes, schools and hospitals are being bombed. Our way of life, democracy and freedom are being blown apart. We are fighting with everything we have, but we cannot win with courage and conviction alone. We need support. And we need it now.

We – a coalition of 40 Ukrainian civil society groups – are asking the international community to stand with Ukraine by demanding the international community take the following actions.

Establish safe zones in Ukraine

To provide sanctuary for civilians from both air and ground attacks and to help prevent a tide of refugees fleeing to Europe.

Provide immediate defensive military aid – including lethal and non-lethal assistance

We urgently need air defence systems and anti-tank weaponry to defend our homes and cities from Russia’s use of advanced military technology, including cruise missiles.

Implement crippling sanctions to undermine Putin’s war machine

Immediately impose the strongest possible sanctions on Russia’s central bank – with no exclusions. A total ban on all Russian banks using SWIFT with immediate effect. Europe and the US must sanction Russia’s oil and gas sectors to cut off the revenues Putin uses to fund his war machine.

Provide immediate humanitarian aid

We need financial aid to fund local humanitarian organisations. We also require fuel, logistics support and emergency medical equipment, such as field hospitals, mobile clinics and trauma supplies.

Freeze the assets and revoke the visas of Putin’s cronies

Deny Putin and his cronies access to their cash and properties stashed in the west, revoke their visas and those of their families, and impose an immediate travel ban. Let them know that it will not be business as usual and that Putin cannot protect their interests.

Provide equipment to track war crimes immediately

Supply technology and support to groups recording Putin’s war crimes. Fund the human rights groups and lawyers who will ensure that Putin and his cronies are one day brought to justice.

Signatories 40 Ukrainian civil society organisations in Kyiv and other cities under siege including:

  1. Ukraine Crisis Media Centre, Nataliya Popovych
  2. Civic Network Opora, Olga Aivazovska
  3. Ukrainian Helsinki Group for Human Rights, Oleksandr Pavlichenko
  4. Plast, Natalia Kolesnyk
  5. Public Interest Journalism Lab, Natalia Gumeniuk
  6. ZMINA Centre for Human Rights, Tetyana Pechonchyk
  7. Ukrainian Institute London, Olesya Khomeychuk
  8. Vostok SOS, Kostiantyn Reutskyi
  9. ISAR Yednannia, Volodymyr Sheyhus
  10. StopFake, Yevhen Fedchenko
  11. Ukrainian Centre for Independent Policy Research, Yuliya Tyshchenko
  12. Ukrainian Catholic University, Fr. Dr. Bohdan Prach
  13. Centre for Civil Liberties, Oleksandra Matviichuk
  14. Global Ukraine, Violeta Moskalu
  15. DixyGroup, Olena Pavlenko
  16. Vox Ukraine, Svitlana Slipchenko
  17. Izolyatsia Platform for Cultural Initiatives, Mykhailo Glubokyi
  18. Hromadske TV, Yuliia Fediv
  19. Detector Media, Galyna Petrenko
  20. European Experts Association, Maria Avdeeva
  21. Come BackAlive, Taras Chmut
  22. Women’s Perspectives, Lyubov Maksymovych
  23. PEN Ukraine, Tetyana Teren
  24. Agency for Legislative Initiatives, Svitlana Matviienko
  25. Ukraine Analytica, Hanna Shelest
  26. Smoloskyp Publishers, Rostyslav Shemkiv
  27. Kyiv Security Forum, Danylo Lubkivsky
  28. ProMova, Yevhen Hlibovytsky
  29. Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels
  30. Democracy Development Initiative, Ksenia Kosheleva
  31. Euromaidan SOS, Veronika Puhach
  32. Institute of Mass Information, Oksana Romaniuk
  33. Election Council UA, Yevhen Bystrytsky
  34. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, National Academy of Science of Ukraine,prof. Ihor Kozlovskyi
  35. Ostroh Academy, prof. Andrii Smyrnov
  36. Centre for Perspective Initiatives and Studies, Mykhailo Rudenko
  37. Iskra Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, Irena Remestwenski
  38. Regional Rada of Ukrainians in Crimea, Andriy Ivanets
  39. Kyiv Mohyla Academy, prof. Konstantin Sigov
  40. Institute of Information Security, Artem Bidenko

Join us by sharing these 6 demands #KyivDeclaration

Notes to editors:

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Spokespeople are available on request – all remain in Ukraine, taking shelter but also

taking action. They include:

Olga Aivazovska – Chairwoman of the Civil Network OPORA in Ukraine, where she is a leading expert on elections, electoral processes, and electoral law reforms. She leads the largest election monitoring campaigns in Ukraine, while OPORA findings are monitored by reputable international organisations. Between 2014-2017, Olga was listed among the top 100 most influential women in Ukraine in various large nationwide media outlets. Aivazovska is an alumna of the Draper Hills Summer Fellowship on Democracy and Development Program at Stanford University and Ukrainian School of Political Studies.

Oleksandr Pavlichenko is the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group for Human Rights since 2017. Prior to that, he was an expert in a rights-based group in Kharkiv. Between 2012-2013, Oleksandr served as a commissioner in charge of public information and data privacy at the Secretariat of the Ukraine Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights.

Natalia Popovych is the Co-Founder and Vice Chair of the Board at the Media Crisis Centre. She is a comms expert and civic activist with over 20 years of professional experience in consulting companies on reputational risk strategy, branding, managerial coaching, crisis management and strategic comms in Ukraine, the US and Russia. Natalia is a founder of One Philosophy Group of Companies and one of the founders of the Ukrainian Leadership Academy.

Nataliya Gumenyuk is the Head of Hromadske.ua, a journalist-led initiative to create public broadcasting in Ukraine and Hromadske International. She specialises in media reporting on foreign affairs and conflict. As a reporter, Nataliya has been to nearly 50 countries. She is a book author of ‘Maidan Tahrir. In Search of A Lost Revolution’ (2015), which tells the story of the post-Arab Spring world. Nataliya holds a Master’s degree in Global Journalism from the Örebr University in Sweden.



Photo credits: Geology.com