Karis: Teaching Ukraine's history will ensure non-recognition continues
Estonia will never recognize Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea or any other Ukrainian territory. If everyone were to know the history of Ukraine, even of the past 100 years, it would be easier to ensure that non-recognition policies remain in place for as long as needed, President Alar Karis said in a speech at the Crimea Platform summit held Tuesday.
Dear Ukrainian friends,
I would like to start by expressing my endless admiration for your courage. Your spirit is strong, and your will to defend freedom and independence and to fight against this unimaginable aggression is extraordinary. To everyone who still believes in the United Nations Charter, it is our moral duty and obligation to help you win this brutal war.
Estonia condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. We do not and will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea or any other Ukrainian region.
First, our most immediate task today is to continue to raise the cost of war for Russia. Our response thus far has neither changed Russia's calculus nor stopped its aggression. To reach lasting peace in Ukraine, we need a twofold solution: we must do more and speed up the military aid needed by Ukraine to liberate its territory, as well as step up sanctions pressure on Russia.
We propose toughening travel restrictions [on Russian citizens]. Because people's mindsets will only start changing once they feel the impact on their own lives and opportunities.
Every single person has a moral obligation to step up against the outrage and injustice against Ukraine, against the evil the Putin regime represents. Every single Russian citizen has the duty to affect the course of its country.
List of Putin regime's crimes in Ukraine 'endless'
Second, to reach lasting peace in Europe, we need to work on all efforts to ensure justice and accountability. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and his administration must be held accountable for the crimes of aggression committed in Ukraine. We are seeing gross violations of human rights, attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, filtration operations and forced deportations, preparations for so-called referendums, the looting of Ukrainian grain. The list of crimes committed by the aggressor is endless.
It is our common duty to bring the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide to justice. As the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, serious consideration should be given to the establishment of an independent special court. Respect for international law must be restored, and international peace and security for future generations warranted.
Future depends on current youths' education
Third, I would like to highlight the importance of teaching history. Our future depends on the youth sitting in classrooms today and on their education. We are made by history, and we cannot let a lack of knowledge define our future.
To avoid such brutalities repeating and to see peace prevail in the future, we have to start teaching the history of our nations — to evade misunderstandings caused by active brainwashing via the war of spreading false propaganda.
I'd argue that if everyone were to know the history of Ukraine, even of the past 100 years, it would be easier to ensure that non-recognition policies remain in place for as long as needed. Because those who know history are destined not to repeat mistakes and [instead] build a better future. Today we are seeing how ignorance makes it easy for any aggressor to put forward its false narratives and build an evil empire of lies upon them.
I call on everyone to join the #learnhistory initiative. We should invite our historians to record history lessons in all languages and create a space for these lectures in order to help teachers all over the world find credible materials on our past.
Estonia will support Ukraine as long as it takes to help you win this war and restore Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Last but not least — dear Volodymyr, I want to fully join your confidence. This war began in Crimea and it shall end in Crimea.
Led by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and held virtually this year, the Second Crimea Platform Summit brought together heads of state and government from Europe and beyond, as well as representatives of NATO, the EU, the OSCE and other international organizations.
The Crimea Platform is a new international consultation and coordination format established to develop an initiative introduced by Zelenskyy, according to the platform's website. It is aimed at improving the effectiveness of the international response to the ongoing occupation of Crimea, responding to growing security threats, increasing international pressure on the Kremlin, preventing further rights violations and protecting victims of the occupation regime, as well as achieving the primary goal — the deoccupation of Crimea and its return to Ukraine.
Since 2004, August 23 has been celebrated in Ukraine as the Day of the National Flag.
August 24 is Ukrainian Independence Day, marking the reestablishment of Ukraine with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on August 24, 1991.
Click here to read more about the format.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla