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Statement on the war in Ukraine from Matthew Zajac

We have arrived at a pivotal moment for the future of Europe and, indeed, the world.

Through the Europe for Scotland newsletter of 6th March 2022, Matthew Zajac has issued the following statement in response to the war in Ukraine. As the newsletter states:’ Matthew is a member of Europe for Scotland’s steering committee and, more importantly, the son of a Scottish mother and a father from Halyčyna (Galicia), the region at the border between Poland and Ukraine.’ He is also the author of The Tailor of Inverness, published by Sandstone Press in 2013 which deals directly with the consequences of forced removals as experienced by his own family.

We have arrived at a pivotal moment for the future of Europe and, indeed, the world. Already, there has been an enormous groundswell of sympathy and support across the globe for the struggle of Ukraine. Millions and millions of people now recognise that, as the Russian government of Vladimir Putin has finally revealed its true nature, we are presented with a frightening existential threat to democracy and peace, in Europe and in the world.

Putin’s chilling threat to unleash “consequences that you have never experienced in your history” cannot but force us to pause to consider our response. One must think hard in the face of a bully with a huge nuclear arsenal.

But in a matter of days, since Russia launched its invasion, the whole world has found collective leadership in the resistance of the Ukrainian people. The resolve and determination we are witnessing across Ukraine, in Kharkiv, in Sumy, in Mariupol, in Kherson, in Chernihiv and Dnipro, in Odesa, Lutsk and Lviv is a source of inspiration and an example of how to resist the authoritarian aggression by both military and peaceful means.

It is imperative that we, as democratic Europeans committed to the rule of law, to free speech, inclusivity and environmental protection, now stand together in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and against the unjustifiable military aggression ordered by the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

But this war, immoral, criminal and murderous though it is, can also be seen as an opportunity. We are already witnessing disoriented Russian soldiers who thought they were being sent on a training exercise, a whole armoured brigade laying down their weapons, mass anti-war demonstrations in over 50 Russian cities. Despite the relentless lies of Putin’s propaganda machine, the modern world has made it virtually impossible for his regime to hide the rest of the world from his people and so we can look to the Russian people themselves for hope.

For now, we ask you to support Ukraine, to see Ukraine, like Scotland, as a country working to establish a new, free, democratic order, joining the family of European nations. Now is its hour of need. We encourage you to send money to the range of humanitarian aid contacts at this link. Pass this information on to your own networks. Putin is on the wrong side of history and must not be allowed to win!

-Matthew Zajac