February 26, 2024

The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and its six National Platforms in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine strongly condemn the continuation of the Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine and its people.

24 February 2024 marks the second year of a full-scale invasion, the darkest times on the European continent since World War II, that has caused immense suffering, substantial casualties among Ukrainians, and unprecedented destruction of energy facilities, infrastructure, and environmental damage. According to Ukrainian authorities, as of 15 February 2024, Russia has injured at least 19,300 civilians, killed 10,200, and committed 125,389 war crimes in Ukraine.[1]

We stand united in supporting the Ukrainian people in their heroic resistance and fight for freedom and a democratic European future, and in honoring the victims of the Russian invasion.

The Russian Federation must be held accountable for its actions. We call on the International Criminal Court, the European Union and the Member States, the Eastern Partnership countries, where applicable, to investigate and prosecute, and assist in investigations of the Russian war crimes, international crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine against its people.

We strongly urge the European Union and its Member States to:

Continuing to provide necessary assistance to Ukraine in its defense operations by supplying military aid, encompassing arms, ammunition, equipment, intelligence, and cybersecurity support. Additionally, extend support in the form of humanitarian aid and financial assistance. This includes the steady and increased provision of humanitarian and financial aid to the Ukrainian people, but also active efforts to ensure accountability for the crimes committed by Russian authorities and military forces in Ukraine.
Strengthen support for independent media and civil society in Ukraine. Make their voices heard across the EU and at the highest levels of debate. Implement substantive measures that ensure the safety of leaders and activists of civil society organizations in Ukraine who are courageously tending to the needs of affected civilians.
Elaborate a legal framework and adopt necessary decisions that will allow the use of the frozen Russian assets for the current humanitarian needs of Ukraine, and the green reconstruction of Ukraine.
Considerably enhance the sanctions regime against Russia and put in place credible measures to prevent its efforts to evade these sanctions and to ensure that sanctions can yield their full potential, and we call to expand restrictive measures and adopt the 13th package of sanctions from the European Commission and the European External Action Service.
Strengthen political, technical, and financial support to assess widespread and severe damage to the environment and associated immediate and longer-term consequences on human health and ecosystems and prepare a sound legal framework for the compensation.
Provide gender-sensitive support for the over 4 million Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and civil society representatives fleeing from the Russian war, as well as provide necessary support for the Ukrainians who would like to return home.
While we welcome the decision to grant the EU candidate status to Ukraine, we urge the European Commission to start the screening process for Ukraine, to identify the negotiating framework and move to the practical implementation of membership negotiations.

We welcome the adoption of the Ukraine Facility, and we call on for its steady implementation for a safer Europe, including the Eastern Partnership Region.

“Two years have passed since Russia’s full-scale invasion of our country, which in reality started ten years ago, with the occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea. Russia must be stopped by all possible means. We, the Ukrainian nation, are currently paying the highest price possible for our future as an independent, democratic, and European state, trying to stop the Russian beast that wants to destroy order (peace) in the whole of Europe. We call on the European institutions, EU member states and the international community to step up and be bold in their support to Ukrainian society, including civil society organizations, in the context of the fight against Russian aggression, and provide all necessary support on the way to the EU membership.” Ruslan Havryliuk, EaP CSF National Facilitator, Ukraine.

Members of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Members of the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform

Members of the EaP CSF Azerbaijani National Platform

Members of the EaP CSF Belarusian National Platform

Members of the EaP CSF Georgian National Platform

Members of the EaP CSF Moldovan National Platform

Members of the EaP CSF Ukrainian National Platform

[1] https://war.ukraine.ua/, accessed on 15/02/2024

Actual numbers might be considerably higher, as information from many locations with intense hostilities is not yet available or confirmed.