Press statement | Europe must unite against the Kremlin’s aggression

Brussels , 22 February 2022

Key points:

  • Russia’s hostility against Ukraine is one of the biggest security threats in post-Cold War Europe.
  • In the short term, a coherent European response is needed to this crisis, including comprehensive sanctions against the Kremlin and continuous economic aid for Ukraine.
  • In the longer term, a peaceful unification of Europe into a democratic federation is the solution to the current and other security crises on our continent.

We are witnessing a critical moment that calls for a strong reaction to prevent our continent’s history from repeating itself. Russian aggression has already violated the core principles of our international order. Ukraine’s territorial integrity is non-negotiable. The repercussions of military action against Ukraine personally touch every European, within and beyond Ukrainian borders. Ukraine is Europe, and the EU’s response to events in the country must reflect its true soul as a union of values.

The Kremlin has recognised the ‘independence’ of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, immediately ordering its troops into these parts of Ukraine it has indirectly occupied since 2014. More than 150,000 Russian troops are surrounding Ukraine from almost all sides, destabilising the country and choking its ailing economy. 

After the dissolution of the USSR, the Kremlin has been violently striving to maintain its sphere of influence in the former Soviet republics, occupying Transnistria in Moldova since 1992, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia following the 2008 invasion, as well as Crimea and Donbas in Ukraine after the 2014 proxy attacks. Our response to all these crises has been weak or non-existent, allowing Putin to continue implementing his revisionist strategy. Now, the Russian militaristic regime threatens the whole of Ukraine. A coherent European action is needed to counter this aggressive stance and maintain peace and security on our continent.

So far however, individual EU and non-EU leaders have been talking to Putin separately without Ukraine present, each of them representing a different approach, ranging from Biden’s confrontation, through Macron’s and Scholz’s appeasement, to Orbán’s outright support.

The Kremlin has learnt to use this cacophony of voices to its benefit. EU members should oppose it by finally developing a genuine and veto-free foreign, security and energy policy” says Knut André Sande, Executive Board member of JEF Europe. 

European leaders should see that their interests when dealing with Putin are not contradictory but aligned with each other. Peace and human security on the continent is in everyone’s interest, including Russian citizens, because the price of every war is paid by people on all sides.

The approved €1.2 billion EU support package for Ukraine is a positive step. It must be complemented with comprehensive sanctions commensurate with the degree of Russia’s pressure on Ukraine, including the current creeping invasion and any future hybrid attacks, coup attempts or all-out warfare. Further, especially in this tense geopolitical context, European countries should work to reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas, rather than further exposing themselves to possible energy blackmail in the future.

Nonetheless, in order to go beyond symptomatic treatment and ineffective sanctions, a democratic federation encompassing the whole European continent and beyond is needed to make armed conflict between countries impossible, legally and de facto. We need a European federation to make war obsolete once and for all.

About JEF Europe

The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) is a political youth NGO advocating for the creation of a democratic European federation as a guarantee for peace, the rule of law and human rights. JEF Europe promotes true European citizenship, works for the widening and deepening of the European Union and strives for a more just and integrated society on the European continent. Established in 1972, the organisation has more than 10,000 activists organised in over 250 national, regional and local sections in 31 countries. The ideals and aims of JEF Europe are defined in the Manifesto of Ventotene, the Political Platform and resolutions adopted by its statutory bodies.


Previous positions on European security

Contact information

Knut André Sande
Executive Board Member
Young European Federalists
JEF Europe