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We strongly protest against Russian military attack against Ukraine and demand immediate withdrawal

Statement by Kurosawa Koichi
Secretary General
the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
February 25, 2022

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered its military forces to invade its neighbor Ukraine, attacking military bases and other targets in the country. The Russian military incursion into the Ukrainian territory has been confirmed by reports. This is a flagrant military aggression against a sovereign nation. Zenroren resolutely condemns the flagrant act by Russia.

Unilaterally recognizing two eastern Ukrainian regions as independent nations, Russia decided to invade the regions ostensibly at their request. To begin with, there are no grounds for justifying the act as “collective self-defense” with regions or groups which it unilaterally recognized as independent nations. Russia’s refusal to recognize Ukraine as a sovereign nation is totally unacceptable under international law. The Russian act is in sheer violation of the United Nations Charter, which clearly provides that the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of UN member nations shall be respected, and that the threat of force is prohibited. The act also goes against the Minsk agreement, which was signed in 2014 and 2015 between countries concerned, including Russia, to find peaceful resolutions to the eastern Ukraine questions.

Russia is a nuclear power. In a speech delivered in the run-up to the military attack, President Putin emphasized that Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states, thus increasing threats. In the February 19 military drills, Russian forces fired nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic and hypersonic missiles. This is a dangerous act that could escalate the conflict into nuclear exchanges. It also poses nuclear threats, which the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) prohibits. As a labor federation in Japan, the only atomic-bombed country, we can never condone such acts. We also note that in Ukraine there still exist many nuclear reactors, including the site of the Chernobyl accident. This means that risks of another nuclear disaster linger.

The working class and their families are always the first to fall victim in war. The world is currently suffering from the coronavirus pandemic. Global efforts are needed to save humans and the earth from the pandemic. Zenroren is joining hands with the workers in the rest of the world to achieve peace. We urge Russia to immediately end the military aggression and get back to the diplomatic negotiating table.

In order to end the present crisis, peace diplomacy that implements Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is more important than ever. The war-renouncing Constitution should be invoked to prevent states like Russia from carrying out aggression in other countries. We are resolutely opposed to the attempt of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic and Komeito parties to gut Article 9 in considering allowing the country to strike enemy bases. We reiterate our demand that the Japanese government lodge a resolute protest to Russia’s act of aggression and increase diplomatic efforts to let Article 9 guide dialogue and cooperation.

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