To the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin
We are astonished to have seen the devastating effects of the armed conflict between the neighbouring countries of Russia and Ukraine. Thousands of young citizens are perishing on the battlefield in their prime. The agony inflicted on innocent people, including children and the elderly, is unimaginable. How can it be, that after the dark years of the previous century, the downward spiral of violence continues? Has the path towards peace been blocked? Has it become impassable? We refuse to believe that, with all of the men and women who fought against fascism, mainly during the war in 1939-1945, and who gave their lives for our freedom and for a world without tyranny and oppression. Those included not only the soldiers of the western allied forces, but also the millions of Russian and Ukrainian men and women who sacrificed their lives for peace. We owe so much to their efforts and their courage!
Now that the armed conflict has escalated more and more, and is being fed by mistrust,
caricatural portrayals and animosity, we are calling on you, your excellency, to put a stop to these ideas of exclusion and to set a new course that leads to peace. At the conference in St Petersburg, you yourself recently expressed an appeal for respect towards one another, mentioning Ukraine in particular. An inclusive point of view is needed now more than ever, with the many dire problems and troubles we are facing. We need each other, to combat poverty and famine, and to manage the refugee crisis and the climate crisis. Therefore, we desperately urge you to abandon all forms of violence and to express willingness to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the head of state of your neighbouring country Ukraine and to discuss possible steps to be taken towards peace. A peace committee, comprising representatives from Russia and Ukraine, led and supervised by UN delegates, could work on a plan for peace.
We have asked the residents of Almelo and its surrounding areas to support this urgent
plea by placing their signatures on our “Stop the armed conflict – Peace now!” cards.
We believe that peace is an option. Do you?
Your Excellency, we wish you wisdom, faith and courage!
(A copy of this letter and the “Stop the armed conflict – Peace Now!” campaign cards were sent to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine.)
Almelo Council of Churches
Central Overijssel Humanist Association