Guest Article on the War in Europe

Bild: Vasyl Muravytskyi
Vasyl Muravytskyi


Russian Speaking Ukrainian Journalist in the Ukraine: 2014-2024


A. My Bаsiс Questions and my Answers about the War!

In connection with the still raging war in the Ukraine, I have three fundamental questions, which I would like to answer as follows:

  1. Can I support the Russian military operation in Ukraine? - No! I don't support any war!
  2. Does this mean that we should wish the Ukrainian leadership victory?Perhaps!
  3. But what should I do when I realize that the Ukrainian leadership sometimes behaves just
    as badly as the Russian one - e.g. when they want to ban the Russian language, culture and history, which shaped large parts of Ukraine for centuries - and when I know that Ukraine is about as far away from the idea of a liberal, free European constitutional state as Russia is?What does all this mean for Russia, Ukraine and Europe?

Europe has played so far a very understandable but increasingly dangerous role in this war, given the Russian attack on Ukraine, which the West has unanimously condemned! With ever tougher sanctions against Russia and the delivery of ever heavier weapons to Ukraine, Europe is becoming more and more a war party on the side of Ukraine! - As a result, based on my knowledge of Russian culture and power structures and their peculiarities, Russia will try to wage and to win (together with China?) an endless war of attrition, inflicting unacceptable, huge losses on Ukraine, in order to weaken Europe and its values severely and permanently!


Europe must therefore become a peace broker and follow Switzerland's example! – Which, in my opinion, until recently, did everything responsibly, convincingly and correctly, but must now concentrate even more consistently than so far, on providing humanitarian and reconstruction help – to remain neutral and credible (in the sense of the ICRC and the OSCE) and to be approved by both sides! - Switzerland, together with Europe, must resolutely strive for a lasting, rapid peace by means of mutually accepted negotiations and compromises!

B. My Experience Validated by Amnesty International (AI)!

Because of my journalistic reporting on the humanitarian blockade and aid to the Russian-occupied areas in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) accused me of terrorist activities as early as 2014, even though I had never been to Donetsk or Lugansk before, never contacted separatists and never held a weapon in my hand!

On August 2, 2017, I was then accused by the SBU of high treasonof threatening the territorial integrity of Ukraine, participating in a terrorist organization, inciting hatred - and taken into custody (subsequently extended several times) in the maternity hospital (!) of Zhytomyr (120 km west of Kiev), shortly after the birth of my son - I spent totally one year in prison and two years under house arrest, before I managed to escape to Finland in the summer of 2021.

The world-renowned human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) played a crucial role by taking on my case - unique for them as well - by verifying all my statements. On December 20, 2017, AI testified the authenticity of my experience in its internationally published appeal and called on the Ukrainian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release me from custody and drop all charges against me! - AI confirmed that:

  1. I was persecuted for expressing my opinions publicly and freely, using the Russian press agency RIA Novosti as source of information. Both freedom of opinion and the free choice of sources of information are important prerequisites to exercise the profession of every journalist.

    As a member of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
    and of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), Ukraine has promised to guarantee freedom of opinion and speech, including especially also for journalists!
  2. The documents absolutely necessary for a fair trial had not been made available to
    me and to my lawyers, 
    in particular the details and reasons for the charges brought against me and a list of my allegedly illegal publications!
  3. The SBU repeatedly put massive pressure on me, my wife and acquaintances, including house searches, using them thereafter for testifying against me! - On October 24, November 2 and December 20, 2017, the deliberations of the regional parliament in Zhytomyr were interrupted by members of a paramilitary Ukrainian volunteer organization in riot gear, crying  "death" for «separatists» (like me), and massively disturbed by a group of women shouting «traitors» (probably addressed at me) –  all this without having ever been officially investigated thereafter! - Under these circumstances, fair procedures are impossible!

I am now completely disillusioned with the Ukrainian justice system. I have received documents proving that the judge who ordered my arrest was in close contact with my accusers. In addition, security officers violently attacked me and my lawyer, and also threatened other judges working on my case. I feel left alone, fighting a system of government that didn't obey any laws, while I ONLY wanted to obey the law! - Today the SBU has a totally free hand, even for extrajudicial executions! - If I returned to my homeland now, I would immediately be imprisoned or sentenced to death!



C. Result: Wars do not Solve any Problems! - They only Create new ones!


The war Ukraine makes things a hundredfold worse for all! It does not solve the problems of Ukraine, nor of Russia or of Europe! It would rather be leading to more and more chaos and cause more and more victims, suffering and deaths on both sides every day, and it is sowing more and more hatred between the former brother peoples!


Therefore, there is only one way out of this vicious circle of ever more revenge and violence, of ever deadlier weapons and bloodier wars: Common sense, understanding and the willingness to forgive – i.e., concretely, an immediate armistice, serious negotiations and a fair compromise, allowing all involved sides to save their face!  - Now!