Submitted by Bob Brody.
Dear MoveOn members;
Our hearts continue to break for the devastations faced by Ukrainians, even while we’re inspired by the confidence and courage they are showing the world each day in refusing to give in to occupation by a dictator with imperial ambitions.
Vladimir Putin’s destructive choice to launch an unprovoked invasion is backfiring as the global community unites around Ukraine. And every action that we take to live into that solidarity is important. Wherever we are, we can help keep the light of peace and hope alive for the people of Ukraine by showing our solidarity with them in our homes and our communities—and by reaching into our pockets to put food into their hands.
Putin might have thought that violently forcing himself upon the people of Ukraine would splinter them along ethnic, linguistic, and religious lines, expand his legacy at home, and result in Ukraine allying with Putin. The exact opposite is happening: He has united Ukrainians against him, inspired a wave of protests in Russia, and unified the global embrace of an independent, democratic, and free Ukraine.1 Rather than conceding to Putin’s demands, the European Parliament has voted to advance Ukraine’s application to join the European Union.2
We’re part of that global outcry. Over 150,000 of us have signed the MoveOn statement in support for the people of Ukraine, just as a crowd of 100,000 reportedly marched in Berlin on Sunday against Putin’s war.3
Solidarity takes many shapes. Our governments have a critical role to play, as the Biden administration has joined with countries from Switzerland to Japan in taking strong economic action against Putin’s government—freezing offshore assets of government cronies, blocking financial transfers, and holding Putin and Russia’s foreign minister accountable. Those steps are crucial, but they aren’t the only avenue for action. Cultural acts of solidarity have come from all sorts of places: From sports leagues, who have moved their games out of Russia in protest of the invasion of Ukraine, to New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the Munich Philharmonic, who cut ties with a conductor and close ally of Putin’s who refused to denounce the invasion, there are many important ways to act against war.4
MoveOn members have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars directly to Ukrainian relief efforts, while also using our collective voice to advocate for a diplomacy-first, peaceful end to this conflict. One more simple way is to display your support for Ukraine’s democracy to your friends and family, or by donating to food relief efforts.
Experts estimated that 7 million people in Ukraine could be displaced by Putin’s war.5 Already, hundreds of thousands of people have flooded across borders to neighboring Poland, Hungary, Romania, and beyond in the dead of winter. World Central Kitchen is responding to the acute need, using their experience in bringing food relief to areas hit by disasters and war to help give people food and hope. We might not be able to go join them, but we can help their work by making a generous donation, small or large, right now.
Though tanks might have crossed into Ukraine last week, we know that this invasion is not an isolated act of violence. The cluster bombs seen in Ukraine’s second-largest city, widely banned because they are designed to kill civilians indiscriminately, were used on the Syrian people by Russian and Russian-backed forces propping up dictator Bashar al-Assad.6,7 Meanwhile, thousands of conscripted Russian soldiers, many of them young and poor, have lost their lives due to Putin’s senseless aggression.8
Unless we stop Putin from seeing war as a positive choice, we’ll continue to see more death and destruction. So let’s come together now and show solidarity with Ukraine.
Thanks for all you do.
–David, Mana, Amy, Isbah, and the rest of the team
1. “Attack on Ukraine brings rare sight in Russia: Protests in cities against Putin and invasion,” The Washington Post, February 24, 2022
2. “European Parliament Backs Ukraine’s EU Application, But Long Road Ahead,” Newsweek, March 1, 2022
3. “As over 100,000 rally for Ukraine, Germany announces vast defense spending increase that may upend European security policy,” The Washington Post, February 27, 2022
4. “Munich Philharmonic drops star conductor Valery Gergiev over Putin ties,” DW Akademie, March 1, 2022
5. “EU says expects millions of displaced Ukrainians,” Reuters, February 27, 2022
6. “Ukraine’s Kharkiv struck by cluster bombs, experts say,” Reuters, March 1, 2022
7. “What are cluster and vacuum weapons, and how has Russia used them in the past?,” The Washington Post, March 2, 2022
8. “Russian Troop Deaths Expose a Potential Weakness of Putin’s Strategy,” The New York Times, March 2, 2022