04 Mar 2022

Message on Ukraine by Joaquin Almunia, Chairman of the Board of CEPS


Russia’s premeditated war against Ukraine is without any justification whatsoever. In defiance of international appeals for a peaceful solution, warnings about severe consequences and the adoption of a tidal wave of sanctions, Putin has not been deterred. His full-blown invasion of a sovereign European nation is nothing more than a flagrant act of aggression and a blatant violation of international law.

The decision to impose crippling sanctions, including a ban on transactions with the Russian Central Bank, the cutting off of several major Russian banks from the SWIFT system, the closure of EU airspace to Russian aircraft and new sanctions on individuals and various entities is the right response now but other options also remain on the table in case of further escalation. It is morally right for EU countries to provide any and all support they can muster to help Ukraine resist the invaders. The EU itself has crossed a Rubicon by providing direct military support to the Ukrainian army.

The prospect of a full Russian occupation of Ukraine and the installation of a puppet regime is a distinct possibility. It cannot be emphasised enough just how much Putin’s warped interpretation of history, great deception and criminal actions are a direct existential threat to a European security order that has prevailed for more than 30 years since the end of the Cold War.

Putin is the problem and should not be part of the solution in defining a future European security architecture. With his unprovoked war against Ukraine and unveiled threats against other European countries, he has entered his endgame. He sits atop a crumbling pyramid of power. That’s why the West needs to be prepared for the worst. Reinforcing NATO’s eastern flank is of vital importance to prevent any Russian attacks against other parts of Europe.

The invasion of Ukraine is the last call for the EU to end its gas dependency on Russia and make a success of its European Defence Union. Guided by a new Strategic Compass, the EU will have to contain the criminal regime in the Kremlin. In the face of such evil, it is essential that Member States remain united.

CEPS stands in full solidarity with Ukraine amidst these testing and tragic times, with our thoughts going out to all its citizens, and in particular to our Ukrainian friends, colleagues and project partners. CEPS is fully committed to peace and cooperation among nations and advocates a return to restraint, diplomacy, respect for international law and Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.