Help us win this war, help us make Europe stronger

Ukraine is grateful for the support it has received, but it is not enough. You must help us win this war, because we are fighting not just for Ukraine, but for Europe. If we lose, you will be next.

Ukraine has always been close to the European Union. As long ago as the Middle Ages, our own state of Kyiv Rus was connected to what is today the EU by trade and by close family relations, as the daughters of our noble families married into European royalty.

But then came Russia, and so began our 400-year fight to regain our political and economic independence, something which was finally achieved, after several attempts, only when the Soviet Union fell apart.

We have not always managed this independence well. The problems of the post-Soviet system were many, but year by year we freed ourselves from their damaging influence to become what we have always been – a strong independent country of European values and aspirations.

Ukraine now offers Europe the opportunity not only to help a neighbour in need. It is a chance for Europe to become even stronger. Ukraine is a huge territory with vast fertile lands, an abundance of minerals, clever, educated people, a strong military, a well-developed tech scene, a shared European mentality and governed by European values.

What is happening now in Ukraine is not just a war between two countries, but a conflict between two different sets of values. One represents the very values upon which Western civilisation is built. Freedom of speech and thought, individual development, respect of property rights, respect for the boundaries of people and countries, democracy, an understanding of common good and the power of communities, humanity; the list can go on.

Russia must lose

Losing Ukraine will undermine these values: not only in the EU, but throughout the world. We can’t allow this to happen. What’s more, winning this war and defeating Russia could make Moscow reconsider the effectiveness of its own system. We are its neighbours and we would be the first to welcome such a turn of events. A Russia with a European mentality will make the EU even stronger in the long-term. But in order to make this happen Russia, with its current strategy, needs to lose.

As things stand now, Russia clearly wants us back. It needs Ukraine to restore the power of its empire. And as the empire grows, what will follow are attacks on other countries. Don’t deceive yourselves: if we lose, you will be next.

We are already receiving unprecedented levels of support from the West. Missiles, defence-systems, financial support, sanctions, and a warm welcome for our citizens who have fled. We are very grateful. The collective West seems to understand that we are fighting for something very important, that this is not just about our country. We fight for Europe and global systems based on the European approach.

This war is not being fought somewhere far. It is close, and can come much closer if we do not act in unison. Ukraine is currently fighting to show that Russia’s actions are unacceptable. A country that guaranteed our safety in the Budapest Memorandum, when we gave up our nuclear weapons, and then attacked us.

We are fighting against authoritarianism and propaganda, and fighting for the Russian people, so that they may change their system and eventually become free.

For all this to happen, we need to win. The West is helping, putting pressure on the Russian economy, but it will take months and years to see the effects of this economic pressure. And we are counting in days here.

The defence systems we receive help to slow the enemy down, but they don’t allow us to effectively strike back and regain territory. The absence of full control over our skies lead to rocket strikes and bombings that bring a huge number of deaths to our civilians, grief and sorrow to families, more refugees in neighbouring countries, ruined infrastructure. We need more support in order to win and to save more lives. And, no-less important, to save the European ideal of global development.

It is in our common interest for the EU to support us in our fight rather than to risk its own cities, civilians, economy and its whole future in a fight with Russia – which is what the EU will get if Russia wins in Ukraine. We just can’t allow this to happen.

Disaster can be prevented

We know that the population of the EU and the world supports us in our fight. We are very grateful. But the political level comes into play here. Politicians are much more cautious and despite the claims of help for Ukraine they do not do enough. We need more active support in the military sphere. People of the EU need to know the truth and put extra pressure on their politicians to help us proactively.

The future of the EU will be decided these days on the battlefields of Ukraine. If Ukraine wins, the EU will be reinforced and strengthened in the global arena. If it loses, it will undermine the very values on which EU civilisation is being built.

This disaster can be prevented. We need more support, more inclusion on the political level, more economic pressure on Russia, more decisiveness and more speed of action.

If we took up the challenge to fight for Europe, to give our lives in order for its citizens to feel safe – give us your support and let us win this fight together. The fight for the free world, the fight for our common global perspective, the fight for a strong EU, the fight for democracy, the fight for truth and critical thinking, the fight for community.

It will pay in the long-term. We are writing a new page of our common European history, but we need all countries, including France and Germany as two of the leading nations of the EU, to be fully-supportive and proactive.

Over the past month we have shown the world the level of our braveness and heroism, the strength of our spirit and our wish to live in a free society. We stopped the enemy and even started to regain our territories. But to build on this success and win the war, we need your support – planes, tanks, air-defence systems, and other equipment in the first place, stricter and uncompromising sanctions in the second, and a political statement that Ukraine is welcome in the EU in the third.

Show us your true support. In democracies free citizens can influence their politicians and change the agenda. Show us that democracy still works in your countries, and that values and strategic long-term thinking prevail over bureaucracy, cautiousness, and commercial interests.

Act now, because now is really the time.

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About the author

Nataly Veremeeva

Nataly Veremeeva

Nataly Veremeeva is the director of TechUkraine, a platform that supports the development and increases the visibility of the Ukrainian tech ecosystem.

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