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The European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (ECR2P) condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s decision to invade the territory of Ukraine and President Putin’s recourse to military action to pursue foreign policy goals. This invasion is a blatant violation of international law and has caused widespread human suffering. By abusing claims related to genocide, peacekeeping and protection of Russian citizens in separatist provinces in Ukraine, Russia is engaged in hostilities that risk generating mass atrocities and threaten peace and security both in the region and globally.

ECR2P calls on all parties to protect civilians, refrain from acts which could amount to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, prevent the future commitment of such crimes, and to ensure unhindered humanitarian access.

As conflict escalates across Ukraine, so does the likelihood of widespread human rights violations, including the commission of mass atrocity crimes. With reports from news agencies of war crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine, and conflict escalating across Ukraine, every diplomatic effort should be pursued to deescalate the current, dangerous situation.

The ECR2P rejects Russia’s escalatory actions and language referring to nuclear weapons as unacceptable. All measures must be taken for diplomatic and peaceful protection of populations affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The ECR2P calls on the international community to prioritise the need to decrease the risks of armed conflict and mass atrocity crimes, and to ensure accountability for those responsible for the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The ECR2P emphasises the collective responsibility to assist with the protection of populations from atrocity crimes, based on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) framework which was unanimously adopted at the United Nations in 2005 by all member states, including the Russian Federation.

A return to an earlier era of muscular militarism and aggression should be avoided at all costs, and instead the focus needs to be on finding a peaceful solution to immediately stop the war in Ukraine, through diplomatic and not armed measures.

The collective responsibility to protect civilians caught up in conflict at home and those displaced by war includes the responsibility to provide refuge to those fleeing conflict. Indeed, countries neighbouring Ukraine, such as Romania, Poland and Slovakia have already taken in large numbers of refugees, thus discharging their responsibility to protect. We call on more countries to welcome refugees, and to provide the necessary supplies and humanitarian aid.

The ECR2P also calls on the UK government to clarify how we are welcoming refugees from Ukraine, and to monitor the gross violations of human rights taking place in Ukraine in line with the UK's commitments to atrocity prevention.

Our ECR2P team stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and urges the international community to discharge the responsibility to protect innocent populations affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.