Currently there are too many mixed messages from the President and those in his administration.
This causes unnecessary tension in civil society . International partners and stakeholders are also calling for answers.
The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations,( the peak body for Ukrainians in Australia ) joins with the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) in asking for clarity and transparency from the government of Ukraine regarding any agreement to hold elections in areas of Ukraine currently occupied by Russia.
To that end, Ukraine must maintain a clear and unequivocal position that:
No elections can take place in the Russian-occupied regions of the Donets’k and Luhans’k oblasts until all Russian troops, mercenaries, weapons and materiel are withdrawn from Ukrainian territory,
Ukraine regains complete control of the Ukrainian side of the Ukraine-Russia border and the displaced residents of Donbas are able to peacefully return to their homes; any elections held in Ukraine, must stand in accord with the constitution and laws of Ukraine;
Ukraine’s strategic course for Euro-Atlantic and NATO integration, as set out in Ukraine’s Constitution, is non-negotiable and immutable;
International sanctions on Russia must be strengthened and expanded until Russia de-occupies sovereign Ukrainian territory, including Crimea and regions of the Donets’k and Luhans’k oblasts (regions).
Following the complete withdrawal of covert and overt Russian forces and equipment from Ukraine, the international community which had tolerated Russia’s occupation of Ukraine must provide remedial support to individuals and communities traumatized by five years of exposure to Soviet-style propaganda and hate speech while living under Russian occupation; such efforts would include funding community bridge-building, psychosocial counseling and peace building resources to strengthen local capacities for reconciliation.
“The red lines on many issues including this have been drawn. The AFUO calls on President Zelensky and his administration to hold firm on these. In doing so he knows that he will have support of all Ukraine loving people in Ukraine and in the diaspora” co chair of the AFUO Stefan Romaniw said.
“Together we have withstood Russian bullying and pressure in ensuring Russia does spread its wings into Europe.
The international community has acknowledged that Ukraine is the buffer, taking the brunt of the war.” Mr Romaniw said
“Giving into Russia will be deserting the values and principles of 14,000 solders and civilians who have died in the war, and 1.4 million people displaced. “ Mr Romaniw said.