February 24 marked one year of the Russian war in Ukraine. Volt Ireland reiterates its absolute condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and restates its support and solidarity for the people of Ukraine in their brave struggle and suffering.

We call on the Russian government to immediately cease its military operations and terror campaign against Ukraine and to withdraw its troops from the territories it occupies. We stand together with the Russian citizens who voice genuine opposition to the war and resist to the best of their ability.

We welcome the proposals for a 10-point peace plan made by President Zelensky at the G20 meeting in Bali for a complete termination of hostilities by Russia and for binding security guarantees for Ukraine.

The primary responsibility for this war falls on the shoulders of the current regime in Russia, which has taken on an increasingly authoritarian nature and aggressive foreign policy.

Despite not having responded strongly enough to Russian aggressions in 2008 and 2014, Western countries must demonstrate unity and determination. We have to keep coordinating our actions, to provide Ukraine with all the military and economic support it needs to defend itself and retake its occupied territories.

European countries need to adopt tangible deterrence policies and prepare European citizens if and when increased escalation, or threat thereof, from Russia would demand greater support to Ukraine, including economic, humanitarian and military support.

We must increase our preparedness for the possibility of a nuclear incident or accident, redouble our efforts to build a common European defence force, and achieve energy independence from Russia.

Meanwhile, the EU and its allies should reinforce the economic sanctions and expand them to cover all materials critical for the Russian military effort. They should also pressure third countries to stop providing military materiel and critical technologies to Russia, including re-exports.

Targeted sanctions on individual Russian leaders should intensify. The EU should consider a de facto ban on all tourist visas from Russia, while allowing legitimate refugees to escape Putin’s regime. We applaud efforts to combat Russian disinformation campaigns while respecting the fundamental right to freedom of speech. Ukraine must be provided with all the humanitarian help needed to survive the harsh winter. The EU should also extend the status of temporary protection for Ukrainian nationals fleeing the conflict.

A quick end to the war will be the best way to avoid the high cost in lives and the economic impact. But an end to this war cannot come at the cost of justice and future peace. We support a full investigation into war crimes committed as well as the demand for damages paid to Ukraine for the destruction Russia caused.

Besides this, the EU should take up the task of postwar reconstruction as agreed at the Ukraine Recovery Conference (the ‘Lugano principles’). All Ukrainian refugees must be allowed to return to their homes. Finally, Ukraine should remain free to choose its own future, including becoming a candidate for EU membership.

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