Speech of Yurii Sheliazhenko prepared for May 15, 2024

(May 2024) Dear friends, greetings from Kyiv and my best wishes of success in your peace initiatives. 

Ukraine suffers from brutal criminal invasion of Putin’s army, and global solidarity for nonviolent resistance to Russian aggression is needed to end the war by peaceful means. 
Peace summit in Switzerland will gather in June to discuss Ukrainian peace formula of President Zelensky and prepare negotiation position of international community for further communication with Russia. 
This process gives a hope to end lethal and destructive events of last time, that already caused fears of big war involving nuclear weapons and led to decline of democracy and well-being in Europe and beyond. 
I have no good news from Ukraine for you. 
Number of Ukrainian kids killed by Kremlin’s war exceeded half a thousand.
All civilian men in Ukraine who didn’t managed to escape abroad are proclaimed draft evaders and hunted by army to conscript them forcibly or punish with increasing severity.
More conscientious objectors are imprisoned, and on 2nd May the Supreme Court refused to acquit an internationally known objector Mykhailo Yavorsky. 
When I prepare this message, air raid alert is screaming on the street, and I have a letter of the Ministry of Justice on my table which says that they are going to prohibit and dissolve my organization, Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, because of our Peace Agenda for Ukraine and the World in which we condemned Russian aggression and called to end it by peaceful means.
Calls to silence guns and negotiate are understandable, but we must admit that such calls have hostile reception among people trusting in miraculous power of guns, they blame peace movements in appeasing of the enemy and justification of the war.
We could call for disarmament, while it is not prohibited by war censorship, but North Korea is not going to stop weapons supply to Moscow and United States are not going to stop arming Kyiv because of these calls.
We are facing well-funded and disturbingly popular strategies of endless war, and we need to work hard to find a systemic long-term response supported by the people and necessary resources.
While we are seeking for solution for reframing the war discourse and start peaceful transformations, it could be better to resort to civic diplomacy, humanitarian and human rights action, peace journalism and peace education instead of direct calls to lay down weapons in order not to provoke warmongers and militarists to inflict more pain on the culture of peace and stubbornly civilian civilians which they hate so much.
We need practical knowledge, caution and wisdom, apart of our usual courage and hope, to deal with emerging long-term politics and economy of war. But in the end fair and lasting peace is inevitable, because in every corner of this common planet of the humankind people need it, people need peace, and we in omnipresent peace movements will work together, work tirelessly to satisfy this basic human need.