“War is a crime against humanity, and therefore we should be determined not to support any kind of war and we must fight for the elimination of all causes of war” [1]. Stark words, explicit as far as possible from the little freedom “granted” in Ukraine, those of Yurii Sheliazhenko, Ukrainian pacifist and nonviolent.

They are the ones written, black on white, on his facebook profile yesterday, on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yurii Sheliazhenko vibrantly protests ” the intention of some people to continue the bloodshed forever.” ” It is a catastrophe, it is wrong, ” he states.

Yurii Sheliazhenko: arms supplies are perpetuating the war

“The dynamics of the escalation of the conflict since 2014 shows that the supply of U.S. weapons in the long-term perspective is helping not to end the war, but to perpetuate and escalate it, particularly because of Ukraine’s discouragement to seek and abide by negotiated agreements such as the Minsk Accords.”[2]

If war is not the answer, what is the answer to the Russian invasion? “People could make the occupation ineffective and burdensome by popular non-cooperation with the occupation forces,” [2] Yurii Sheliazhenko explains.

A little as we wrote yesterday, “the real peace solution is the unconditional surrender of Ukraine.”

That the young pacifist challenges President Zelensky’s actions is clear. Just as it is clear how he accuses both these and the Russians of crimes against humanity.

Yurii Sheliazhenko: protecting the human right not to kill others.

Even more so when he writes how ” the peace movement in Ukraine will non-violently resist war and militarism.”

In particular, Yurii Sheliazhenko calls for ” the human right to refuse to kill, that is, the right to conscientious objection to military service, ” to be respected in Ukraine – and beyond.

” Many people seek and find more or less legal ways to avoid becoming cannon fodder. Ukrainian border guards have captured more than 8,000 men attempting to leave Ukraine and sent them to recruitment centers, some perhaps ending up on the front lines. They capture fleeing men in cooperation with border guards from neighboring European countries.”[2]

The “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” adopted by the UN on December 16, 1966, Yurii explains, enshrines this right in Article 18 (“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, OF CONSCIOUSNESS and religion.”).

The pacifist has repeatedly denounced how Ukrainians are being forced to enlist against their will, preventing them from leaving the country and arresting and sentencing “conscientious objectors” to prison, as in the case of young Vitaliy Alekseienko.

The message concludes with a call to build, among other things, ” a journalism of peace.”

Only a month ago, in this regard, he had denounced in an interview how Ukraine was ” politically poisoned by the warmongering mainstream ” [2]

Sources and Notes:

[1] Facebook, Yurii Sheliazhenko profile, February 24, 2023.

[2] AntiWar, January 16, 2023, “Ukrainian Pacifist Movement: An interview With Its Leader Yurii Sheliazhenko.”