The UN is a precursor to Russian war crimes


A fragment of a Tochka-U missile lies on the ground after an attack on the train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, April 8.


Andriy Andriyenko/Associated Press

Kyiv, Ukraine

The world was appalled by the mass killing of innocent civilians in Bucha. Russian soldiers violated all established rules and laws of war, raped children and tortured women and men, shooting them in execution style. Similar crimes were committed in Kharkiv, Mariupol, Chernihiv and in Kramatorsk, where Russian forces fired a Tochka-U ballistic missile at a train station filled with 4,000 civilians, mostly women and children.

Among the casualties of Russia’s war against Ukraine is the post-war system of global order and security. Russia has done everything for which the international security institutions were created. How can the United Nations Security Council, on which Moscow has a permanent seat, live up to its mission of keeping the peace? What kind of security and cooperation is possible on the continent when one participating State of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe has attacked another and killed thousands of civilians? These organizations have failed. Like the League of Nations before it, they must be replaced by a new and more effective set of international institutions capable of serving the interests of all countries, not just those of the great powers.

The architecture of this new system should be based on the experience of Ukraine. In 1994 we abandoned the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal in hopes that world leaders’ signatures on a document would mean something. But in April 2008, Germany and France blocked Ukraine’s entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Kremlin got the message. In August 2008, Russia invaded Georgia and the world turned a blind eye. In 2014, Russia attacked Ukraine and the world decided not to intervene. Now Russian bombs are wiping our cities from the face of the earth and the world has been unable to stop it.

All of this could have been prevented. If the West had imposed pre-emptive sanctions on Russia and provided Kyiv with a sufficient number of defensive weapons – primarily anti-aircraft and missile defense systems – tens of thousands of Ukrainians would still be alive today.

Western response to the invasion was too slow. As President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, the global response to a crisis of this nature should be immediate, within 24 hours, not weeks or months. Any attacker faces irreversible punishment through a mechanism of pre-emptive measures – so-called deferred sanctions, which can be authorized in peacetime and take effect automatically.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has created almost four million refugees. We are on the brink of a global food crisis that could destabilize Africa and the Middle East. Until Russia is stopped, the crisis will only grow, attracting neighbors and contributing to the collapse of economies.

We always hear the echoes of the past in the present. I’ve never liked traitors or cockroaches. Even as a child, both filled me with disgust. Eventually I came to terms with cockroaches and no longer resent their existence, but my feelings for traitors haven’t changed. This is the core of who I am and of many people around me these days. You can’t break your word. You can’t run when your country needs you. You can’t betray your friends.

I make dozens of calls every day and communicate with friends and colleagues from different countries. I really want to believe that everyone I speak to has values ​​that under no circumstances will they betray. If you consider friendship to be one of these values ​​and consider yourself a friend of Ukraine, then please remember that time is running out. We need your help and we need it now.

First and foremost, we need heavy weapons to defend and liberate the territories occupied by Russia. I know that these weapons can be obtained quickly from different countries. It just takes the will to do it. By giving us these weapons, you will show the world that you are not afraid to face evil. We also need a total global embargo on Russian oil and gas. We need real sanctions against Russia’s banking system and trade.

If you give us all this, in a few months the Russian invaders will be gone from Ukraine. If you don’t do this, the war will drag on, and the terrorist state of the Russian Federation will destroy the reputation of global leaders and encourage other villains to test their strength. The flames of war could spread to other countries at any moment because Vladimir Putin will not stop in Ukraine.

A Ukrainian victory is the only result that will force Russia to reconsider its strategy of aggression. We can do it. We have already proven our courage. We just need the tools. Once the work is done, we can begin the important task of building a new world security architecture, free from the structural flaws of the past.

Mr. Reznikov is Minister of Defense of Ukraine.

Review and Outlook: As Biden officials claim a “strategic defeat” to Vladimir Putin, horrific scenes from the Kyiv region rock the world. Images: AP/AFP/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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