Last Thursday 3rd, we spoke with the Spanish MP for En Comù Podem about the invasion of Ukraine, how we have reached this situation and what we can do to give peace a chance. We share the video of the full interview, and a synthesis of his main statements.

We must call for a ceasefire

“People are very shocked by the invasion, very few expected it”, but “although Putin appears to be to blame, this is the product of the aggression and continued arrogance of the Western bloc, of the United States, of NATO and finally of the European Union itself with respect to the security needs that Russia has long posed”.

“None of this justifies Putin’s decision, which violates international law and is putting the entire population of Ukraine on edge, creating an international situation condemned practically unanimously by many countries at the United Nations.

“It is a very delicate situation in which we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, nor what information we can trust from Russia and many Western media”.

Pissarello agrees with the UN Secretary General that it is essential to insist on a ceasefire, “that diplomatic channels be reactivated and that a humanitarian solution be found, with material and health assistance for the thousands of people who are fleeing from these war scenarios, seeking refuge in other countries”.

“Peace must continue to be the only solution, because war is obviously not the way forward”.


Reflecting on the background to the conflict, the MP highlights the role played by Gorbachev who “defended a very courageous and misunderstood policy at the time”; the failure of the United States to fulfil the commitments made at the time and its continued militaristic expansion towards Russia’s borders; Putin’s support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while waiting for a counterpart that he never obtained; the West’s economic support for the 2014 mobilisations in Ukraine, etc.

Having acknowledged the different responsibilities, Pissarello wonders about the possible ways out and says that “Ukraine cannot be a kind of spoils among the great powers”. Instead, he supports the possibility of “some sort of status of neutrality such as that enjoyed by Austria or Finland”.

He also highlights the contradiction between calls for peace and increased military spending. “At a time when I think we should be talking, for example, about why the great powers do not sign the treaty for the elimination of nuclear weapons at once, what is being discussed in all parliaments is the increase in defence spending”. He cites the examples of Germany and Spain announcing increases of 2 and 5.8 per cent respectively in their military spending, and concludes: “I am surprised that at least the debate on nuclear disarmament is not a top priority”.

Europe’s role and energy resources

“After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe could have ensured a common security policy that was not against Russia but with Russia included. That is to say that there was no attempt to use the EU as a battering ram against Russia – which is what the various US governments unfortunately tried to do. Now there is an opportunity for that.

“One of the great tragedies of this action by Putin is that he is giving air to a militaristic strategy that was very much in question before this invasion took place. Instead what we are hearing now is the far right calling for a redoubling of military spending, criminalising as unpatriotic anyone who questions the war.”

“On the other hand, behind the war is the issue of control of energy resources. The climate emergency is a fact, yet it seems to me that there has not been enough of a forward-looking look or enough courage to turn the rhetoric of energy transition into a reality”.

I am not naïve but I am hopeful

“The logical thing to do would be to move very quickly towards decarbonisation of the economy, to tax not only the big companies that pollute but also to put a limit on the big arms lobby. But we are going in the opposite direction.

“It seems to me that the only way this will not happen is if the street and organised citizens speak out,” he says. “It gives me hope when I see those demonstrations in Russia facing government bans and demonstrating against the war; when I see hundreds of people peacefully blocking roads in Ukraine; when in Barcelona yesterday we had a first strong demonstration against all wars remembering that today it is Ukraine but it is also Yemen, it is Palestine, and that it is not only Putin’s responsibility but also that of NATO and the Western bloc in many of these wars that are taking place.”

“I am not naïve, I know that this is not enough, but it seems to me that the reconfiguration of a security model must have these elements and above all not incur in double standards”.

Unthinkable debates and mobilisation

“The conflict with Russia is raising some debates that seemed unthinkable until recently. For example: if we are going to stop importing Russian gas and we are going to have problems with gas prices, perhaps it is time to establish price controls or to have public companies that can intervene in certain sectors of the economy”.

“The situation we are in calls into question the neoliberal paradigm of austerity that has existed in recent times, but the danger is that this will be used so that countries increase their defence spending and basic resources that were destined for health, housing, guaranteeing supplies, will be used to strengthen the military apparatus and the big lobbyists behind it.

“I think it is essential that civil society mobilises to condition their governments and to let them know that not just any old way is acceptable”.

“I think incredibly Putin is getting some of that pressure. In Russia 80% of the people don’t want this war, they don’t understand this invasion against people who are their first cousins. Putin has a problem with this, but so will NATO and the Western bloc if they now want us to believe that the response is to arm us all to the teeth, that there will be a military escalation that we all sense can only bring disaster.

Negotiations and organised peoples

“For the moment, China is acting as a measured power that is very intelligently measuring what it would mean to unleash a military escalation and is being very prudent”.

“There has to be someone from the US, from Russia, from China talking to each other and recognising that a military escalation is the worst thing for the planet but also for them and their own interests. Unfortunately, I don’t see great leaders for that at the moment.”

“Without being naïve, I always put everything on what the organised peoples themselves can say. If in Europe there were a constituent social movement for an alternative Europe – which is what we have been asking for so long – a movement from below, not a movement thought up by intellectuals, by 4 or 5 politicians, but a popular, trade union, student, environmentalist, feminist movement, with civil society involved, we would have a different situation”.

NO to all wars

“What has been the clearest act of European identity afterwards the beginning of the integration process? For me, there was nothing like the anti-war mobilisations of 2003 that generated a kind of shared European public opinion. In every city in Europe there were mobilisations against the Iraq war. There were millions of them. It was the closest thing to a European people organised around a common cause in the streets”.

“When one looks at all the wars and pulls on this thread, the big issues emerge: conflicts over resources that produce war; the concentration of capital, the concentration of business that leads to war; the lobbies that drive war… In the criticism of war, the counterpart necessarily appears to be economic democratisation, energy democratisation, demilitarisation for another project of coexistence in peace…”.

“I hope that from this movement against wars (plural) something like this can emerge. We shall see. It’s not easy, nor is it something that has been done, but I think it makes the most sense at the moment, it’s the only real cause that makes sense to support, to set up a movement against wars throughout Europe – and if possible, throughout the world – in defence of peace and in defence of an international order that can only be sustainable to the extent that it is not imperial. Not an international order marked by the existence of great empires and above all of unbridled empires such as Russia and the United States, two unbridled empires that are very dangerous precisely for this reason.

“A peaceful, sustainable, co-operative international order can only be considered in these terms as a non-imperialist order, against imperialism of all kinds.