Why Is Ukraine Prosecuting a Pacifist for “Justifying Russian Aggression”?

We communicate with Ukrainian peace activist Yurii Sheliazhenko, whom Ukrainian authorities have charged with justifying Russian aggression, days after his Kyiv condominium was raided and searched. Sheliazhenko is government secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Motion and has vocally opposed any escalation of the battle, calling for a ceasefire and peace talks to finish the battle. “It’s whole nonsense {that a} pacifist is accused in justification of battle,” Sheliazhenko instructed Democracy Now! in an interview simply after he returned from being interrogated. He notes the safety companies are underneath the authority of President Volodymyr Zelensky, and says “direct involvement” from the chief in suppressing peace activism “is inappropriate in [a] democratic society.”

This can be a rush transcript. Copy might not be in its last type.

AMY GOODMAN: That is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Warfare and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

The Ukrainian pacifist Yurii Sheliazhenko has been charged by the Ukrainian authorities with justifying Russian aggression, days after his condominium was raided and searched. Yurii is government secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Motion, member of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection and World BEYOND Warfare. He’s appeared on Democracy Now! plenty of occasions and has vocally opposed any escalation of the battle by combating or sanctions. Yurii Sheliazhenko has vowed to stay in Ukraine and proceed his peace work from behind bars if he’s imprisoned.

Nicely, he joined us Tuesday from his dwelling, and I started by asking him about his interrogation, that he had simply come from an hour earlier than.

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YURII SHELIAZHENKO: Throughout this interrogation, the investigator supplied me a duplicate of request to the court docket. He requested the court docket to use to me dwelling arrest. He launched some supplies disclosed, and I have to say that from this pile of papers, I see that, certainly, surveillance was began a yr in the past, and it was began after I printed, as human rights defender, a authorized assist doc known as human proper to conscientious objection to navy service. And so they thought of it as a risk to nationwide safety. They thought of it as a risk to mobilization for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And so they began to surveil me.

Then, there was “Peace Agenda for Ukraine and the World.” I ready this assertion primarily based on scientific evaluation of battle escalation between Russia and Ukraine, from pleasant divorce after dissolution of Soviet Union to Russian aggression and full-scale invasion. And this assertion certainly requires ceasefire, peace talks. It requires essential excited about any photos of enemy. It requires prevention of human rights violations by armed forces. Additionally, this assertion calls to guard the best of everybody to refuse to kill. And this assertion was adopted by assembly of Ukrainian Pacifist Motion on the Worldwide Day of Peace, twenty first of September, final yr.

I despatched it to a number of officers, together with president of Ukraine and the parliamentary commissioner for human rights. And each Workplace of the President and the Workplace of Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, as an alternative of contemplating the assertion on the deserves, as any democratic establishments, democratic leaders ought to do, give a reply, they only despatched it to Safety Service. And I have to deliver your consideration to the truth that Safety Service of Ukraine is straight subordinated to president of Ukraine, in accordance with regulation on Safety Service. So, when Workplace of President, as an alternative of contemplating attraction, petition of the folks to debate chance of peace, to hunt diplomatic options, to be guarantor of human rights, as president of Ukraine ought to be, in accordance with structure — as an alternative of contemplating it, when Workplace of President is sending it to Safety Service, it seems like direct involvement of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky into group of political repressions towards those that are talking for peace. It’s horrible, and it’s inappropriate in democratic society.

AMY GOODMAN: Yurii, I wished to ask you: How do you reply to the state saying that you’re justifying Russian aggression?

YURII SHELIAZHENKO: It’s whole nonsense {that a} pacifist is accused in justification of battle for antiwar assertion. This peace agenda for Ukraine and the world, it denounces Russian aggression. It quotes a United Nations Common Meeting decision which denounces Russian aggression. We should perceive that any violations of worldwide regulation aren’t applicable in a recent worldwide order, the place we must always strengthen democratic and authorized foundations of worldwide order.

And, you understand, I used to be searched, and now I’m dropped at this repressive system for my alleged justification of Russian aggression, in time when our authorities organized the summit in Saudi Arabia to advertise so-called peace method of Zelensky. And this peace method, actually, is a method of everlasting battle. A key level of so-called method of peace of President Zelensky is a Kyiv Safety Compact, which was developed by working group of Rasmussen, Yermak. Rasmussen is former NATO chief. And this Kyiv Safety Compact features a Western navy provide for Ukraine throughout a long time. And this Kyiv Safety Compact additionally features a whole mobilization of Ukrainian inhabitants to battle.

AMY GOODMAN: How do you see the battle with Russia ending?

YURII SHELIAZHENKO: I do know many situations proposed, from very pessimistic to very optimistic. After all, my dream is that individuals in Ukraine, in Russia, in every single place on the planet will assume significantly about necessity to remodel their societies towards nonviolent governance, and in every single place present structural violence will likely be repressed with extra progressive, nonviolent, democratic governance. It may put finish not solely this battle, however all wars on the planet.

And, you understand, since this battle is deliberate for many years now, and financing for this battle is lobbied and, in some methods, deliberate for many years, it is extremely critical. This long-term perspective to hope might be very ample to long-term narrative considering of warmongers.

As for extra, like, extra conventional approaches, in fact, it will be nice if Russia simply depart Ukraine. We have now fantastic slogan: “Russia out of Ukraine, NATO out of existence.” If solely they occur, it will be the very best state of affairs. But it surely may occur solely within the case if critical modifications will likely be began in society.

Now much more conservative variants. For instance, ceasefire and peace talks, some type of frozen battle, it will be, in fact, very painful choice, but when as an alternative of taking rational option to cease the battle, simply to cease it not due to alternative however due to exhaustion. And this exhaustion may occur, as a result of now we have tens of 1000’s cripples. We have now a rising quantity of people that don’t wish to battle. And Russia have it, and perhaps extra, too. I’m not saying about killed folks. There are a variety of killed troopers and civilians. Ukraine have destroyed cities. This battle ought to be ended at the least — at the least by humanitarian causes. It’s humanitarian necessity to hunt ceasefire and peace talks. It is vitally conservative formulation, ceasefire and peace talks. It’s not wanted massive modifications on the planet I search to make sure nonviolent governance, to make sure peace literacy of all people, to make sure that all folks know one thing about nonviolent battle decision. Ceasefire and peace talks, it is extremely conservative. Have at the least that. However, in fact, we have to work for extra.

AMY GOODMAN: Ukrainian pacifist Yurii Sheliazhenko has been charged by the Ukrainian authorities with justifying Russian aggression, days after his condominium was raided and searched.

Subsequent up, we communicate with one of many 10 peace activists simply arrested on the runway at an air base within the Netherlands, the place 15 U.S. nuclear bombs are stockpiled. Stick with us.