Statement of the IPPNW Executive Committee issued 17 December 2021
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) is deeply concerned about the current tensions between NATO, Ukraine and Russia. There is an acute danger of war which could easily escalate into a nuclear war.
Recognizing the security needs of Russia, Ukraine as well as those of the EU is vital. Military maneuvers close to the Russian and Ukrainian borders, and arms deliveries to Ukraine, must be stopped immediately. While Russian winter maneuvers at the Ukrainian border and in Crimea are perceived as a threat by the Western community, NATO military exercises near Russia’s borders and in the Black Sea are also unnecessary and dangerous actions. For example, between March and June of 2021, “Defender-Europe 2021”, the largest US Army led military exercise in decades, took place in Europe with the participation of 31,000 soldiers from 27 countries.
IPPNW welcomed the direct contact between Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and US president Joe Biden. We support any diplomatic initiative within the European Union and the government of Ukraine to reduce tensions. The urgent task is to advance concrete disarmament and de-escalation measures.
The Western community of states should recognize that NATO’s eastward expansion affects Russian security interests in a substantial way. IPPNW recalls the verbal commitment made to Soviet President Gorbachev not to expand the Atlantic alliance eastward beyond the borders of all of Germany. Russia must understand that its military activity in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine create security concerns among its neighbors.
The time is ripe to initiate a paradigm shift in security policy with Russia. NATO countries in the EU should lobby the alliance to revive concepts of common security.