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First Anniversary of Ukraine Invasion

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 2 March 2023

Tags: Condolence

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Greens with a very heavy heart to support this motion. I recognise and pay my respects to the members of Tasmanian Ukrainian community who are here in the Chamber with us today and all people from Ukraine who are living in Tasmania now. On behalf of the Greens, I give my strength and love to the Ukrainian/Tasmanian community. We grieve with you.

I acknowledge the great suffering and the unimaginable loss of the Ukrainian people. I also recognise their great courage and determination and the extraordinary leadership of their democratically elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy who has taken strength in leadership to another level.

There are never any winners in war but a nation, a democratic, sovereign, independent, proud nation that has been illegally invaded, must be allowed to defend itself.

We have all seen the horrifying images coming out of Ukraine. We have seen the devastation, the murder of people in towns like Bucha and Mariupol. It is beyond our heart's capacity to really understand that suffering. Millions of people have been displaced, more than 100 000 Ukrainian people have been killed or wounded, mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and children stolen from their families and spirited away into Russia to be illegally adopted.

We sometimes hear commentators saying that there needs to be a negotiated peace with Vladimir Putin. You cannot negotiate with psychopaths. Vladimir Putin is a despot with dreams of empire. Indeed, he is prepared to sacrifice his nation's own sons and daughters in this unjust war. Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes.

When we had this debate last year, perhaps people around the world might have thought with the might of Russia invading Ukraine that this would be a quick defeat but it has been the extraordinary fighting spirit of the Ukrainian people that has allowed them to defend themselves to this point against one of the world's superpowers. It is that courage and that determination and we should all recognise that the people of Ukraine are holding the line for democracy.

This is a battle that matters to the world and all sovereign democratic peoples need to stand with the people of Ukraine in their struggle. The Ukrainian people should not be asked to concede one inch of their sovereign territory in this illegal and unjust war.

I recognise that there are arguments to be had about arming the people of Ukraine, but the Tasmanian Greens have always recognised the need to give the Ukrainian people the arms that they need to defend their country against this illegal invasion. We stand with the Greens of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine who last year implored democratic nations around the world to provide Ukraine with the arms that it needs to defend itself. In this letter that went to many leaders around the world, the Chairman of the Greens Party of Ukraine, the Chairman of the Greens Party of Georgia, the Chairman of the Greens Party of Moldova said:


Thirty years of presence of Russian troops on the territory of Moldova, the invasion of Georgia in 2008, eight years of a hybrid war with Ukraine and a new large-scale invasion on 24 February 24, characterize the foreign policy of the Russian Federation much more convincingly than the 'peace-loving' demagoguery of its leaders.

With persistence worthy of a better cause, the Russian Government is imposing a senseless confrontation on Europe and the Unites States, trampling on all the achievements of the world community in the field of international security. At the same time, even in the conditions of extreme aggravation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, some states of the European Union take an ambivalent position, trying to treat Russia's claims 'with understanding'. It is sad that among them there are also countries participating in the Normandy Format negotiations, the meaning of which is not to appease the aggressor, but to restore the status quo.

We, the Greens of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are convinced that the solution of the problems created by Russia in relations with our countries and generating threats to common European interests is possible only in the conditions of unity and a tough position of the European Union with strict adherence to the norms and principles of international law, without immoral and destructive compromises in the name of business as usual. With regard to Russia, all possible measures of influence must be applied. The amorphous and palliative measures in the matter of protecting European values have no justification, as well as the manifestations of the 'Stockholm Syndrome' in relation to a terrorist state that today has taken the entire civilized world hostage.

Remaining committed to the principles of non violence, we are forced to admit that the only way to stop the current bloody marching of the aggressor across Ukraine is by using military force. Russia itself tightly closed the 'window of opportunity' in the sphere of diplomacy. We call on all European countries to recognize this cruel reality and ensure the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine, where the battle between Good and Evil is taking place today, the outcome of which will determine the future of the continent and the whole world.

We call on the European Greens to show courage and solidarity in supporting our stance for a better common future.

We, together with the Ukrainian people yearn for, long for, that day when peace comes and the sunflowers of Ukraine are allowed to flower under those beautiful blue skies in the fertile soils of Ukraine in peace. Mr Speaker, Slava Ukraini.