Trade unions and peace campaigners call for Ukraine cease fire on day of liberation

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The 200-million strong ITUC and the biggest global peace network, the IPB, have written personally to Presidents Putin and Zelensky urging them to mark Europe’s “day of liberation” – 8-9 May – by declaring a cease fire as a precursor to negotiations.

The two organisations draw attention to:

  • the innocent civilians and soldiers on both sides who are dying daily;
  • the devastation and destruction blighting the lives, livelihoods and lives of millions of people;
  • and the buildings and neighbourhoods reduced to rubble by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

They also express concern about the impact of the war on living standards around the world.

The ITUC and IPB urge Presidents Putin and Zelensky to meet immediately for peace negotiations in a neutral venue, such as Vienna or Geneva, with the involvement of the UN and its Secretary General to serve as the foundation for a new peace architecture in Europe in which Russia’s and Ukraine’s security interests are safeguarded and secured.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “In these dark and dismal times, we are asking the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine to show responsibility and leadership and take the first steps towards peace in Europe.

“Millions in Ukraine and Russia will thank them, as will the people of the world, for announcing a cease fire and negotiating peace. People are suffering terribly – in Ukraine’s bombed cities, in family homes across Russia, in refugee hostels across the region and in communities hit by the cost of living crisis everywhere.”

Reiner Braun, IPB Executive Director, said: “The only way out of the crisis and to avoid a nuclear catastrophe is negotiations and to start a dialogue – even when it is very difficult.

“A ceasefire is the first step on the long road to a policy of common security. A ceasefire starts to build bridges that lead to talks on a lasting peace.”

The joint appeal to the Presidents of Ukraine and the Russian Federation is available here. The Day of Liberation marks the end of World War II in Europe, and the liberation of Europe from fascism. The end of the war was on 8 May in western Europe, but 9 May in the then Soviet Union because of time zones.