Topic Page Ukraine

Statement, Blog Contributions and Media Activities at PRIF

In­tensive inter­national efforts at de-esca­lation in February 2022 were un­success­ful. Russia star­ted a war. The attack on Ukraine and the recog­nition of the self-pro­claimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Re­publics are an open breach of inter­national law and a power-political aggression a­gainst the existing world order. The immediate victims are the people of Ukraine. At the same time, the esca­lation of mili­tary violence raises ques­tions that go beyond the immediate con­flict. Peace and con­flict re­search, and the re­searchers at PRIF in par­ticular, are addressing the war in Ukraine from diffe­rent per­spectives.

Our topic page pro­vides an over­view of PRIF's statement, blog posts, and media activities. Follow us also on Twitter @HSFK_PRIF.

Press Contact: Dr. Ursula Grünenwald Tel.: 069 959104-13, gruenenwald @hsfk .de


PRIF Statement on the Ukraine Crisis

The end of peace should not be the end of peace policy

Frankfurt, February 24th 2022: Last night, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an attack on an inde­pendent and sovereign state. This attack was not pre­ceded by any aggression against Russia. All attempts by the Russian govern­­ment to justify this action on humani­tarian grounds or as a peace­­keeping mission are a trans­parent instrumenta­li­zation of inter­­national norms. The initiation of this war is a blatant breach of inter­­national law that cannot and must not remain without conse­quen­ces. The on­going and impending human suffering of Ukrainians and Russians caused by Vladimir Putin’s decision and by the actions of his enablers and the Russian govern­ment marks a devastating tragedy.

Harsh sanctions must now be enacted against the Russian govern­­ment and eco­nomy. The time for scaled sanctions is over. Never­the­less, sanctions alone will not solve the crisis, and are un­likely to persuade Russia to change its policy in the short term. This makes it all the more im­portant to embed sanctions measures in a multi­­laterally co­ordinated diplomacy. Sanctions are success­ful when they are threatened or imposed in a co­ordinated and uni­fied manner by as large a group of states as possible. Opportunities for de-­escalation must always be offered by keeping forums and channels for negotiations open, or by opening new ones.

Not least, the danger of the current crisis lies in the general re­jection of diplo­macy, co­operation, and trust. To claim that blind German (and European) confidence and trust­ful­ness got the West into this situation and that it would have been better to consistently treat Russia as an adversary is to forget history. Without the policy of common security, Germany would not be united today, many states in Eastern Europe would not be demo­cracies today, and the nuclear arms spiral would never have been halted. Common security is possible, and co­operative peace and security policy is not a mistake only because Vladimir Putin is in the process of destroy­ing the architecture of European security.

There is no question that there will be no quick way back to common security, to the peace and security order as we knew it. The shock and the loss of con­fidence are too deep-­seated. In terms of European and global policy, we are back on square one, only under different con­ditions, due to the rise of China as a major power.

The great challenge for the future of inter­­national re­lations is to build new co­operation structures – in Europe and the world. Such structures will initially be quite basic in character and based on mere de­terrence. In a further step, one can move to peace­ful co­existence, as in the Cold War, which would mean re­cognizing the domination claims of the other side and re­nouncing mutual de­­stabilization.

A further step would be the transition to a co­operative order of common security and shared values. That de­velop­ment along this path is possible may seem hard to imagine to some in the current crisis. But the history of the Cold War shows that such a de­velopment is possible. And the task of peace and conflict re­search is to point to this possibility and to help shape it. The end of peace should and must not be the end of peace policy. On the con­trary, it must be the be­ginning of a new reflection on the future of a European and global peace order.

A more detailed analysis of the current situation is available on the PRIF Blog.

PRIF Blog Series on Ukraine

In the series on the PRIF blog on Ukraine PRIF researchers analyze the escalation of military violence in Ukraine and describe the consequences for the international security and peace architecture. 


Current media contributions from PRIF’s researchers