More than 70 female politicians and activists sent a letter to President Biden asking him for a no-fly zone over her country, as well as fighter jets and air defense systems to fight off Russia’s invasion. The piece is written by Hanna Hopko, ex-hear of the Rada Foreign Affairs Committee, and co-signed by her colleagues.
* * * * *
Dear President Biden,
I am writing to you as a mother expressing the cry of all Ukrainian children.
As you read this letter, Ukrainian children are dying under the deliberate Russian air strikes on civilian areas, hospitals, and schools; becoming orphans; suffering from horrific injuries and psychological trauma that will scar them for life; being deprived of their homes, their childhoods, and access to healthcare and education. Today, the mothers of these suffering innocent children represent the fighting spirit of my nation. These heartbroken mothers have the ironclad will to do what ever it takes to protect the future of their children in independent Ukraine.
Mr. President, my letter to you is also an appeal to the American nation.
I implore the American people to act! I call on each and every American to help us defend Ukraine’s future from an evil Russian attack. I appeal to your humanity, your love of freedom, and your will to lead the world in defending against a terrorist regime desecrating human life.
Now I am urgently asking you to demonstrate leadership in standing up to Putin’s expansionist campaign. Not since Adolf Hitler have we witnessed the actions of a regime that now poses an existential threat not only to Ukraine, but also Europe and the world.
Our fight is the fight of everyone across the globe who stands for the values of democracy and liberty.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, I have felt the support of people in different countries who understand the dangerous threat of the Kremlin’s criminal mafia regime to world peace.Mr. President, when we met for the first time in 2014, right after the EuroMaidan revolution in Kyiv, I had no doubt that you are one of those people. I remember our inspiring conversation during our walk at Saint Michael’s Cathedral which was full of promise that Ukraine will not be abandoned or sacrificed to Moscow’s imperialist and chauvinist geopolitical gambit.
Then we met several times as I chaired Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Committee and worked closely with our American partners to implement some truly unprecedented reforms that redefined the workings of the Ukrainian government.
With US support for our ambitious domestic transformation agenda, we have made Ukraine stronger and more resilient. In fact, Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s current large-scale military escalation is a clear testament to our joint success.
More importantly, we shared the same goal of bringing an end to Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s territory. In 2015, you sent me a letter that demonstrated your commitment to that goal. While building the “new Ukraine” with your help, my compatriots and I relied on the US government’s commitment to upholding the values of sovereignty and democracy.
However, today we must acknowledge that the Western strategy to respond to Russian aggression by relying on the Ukrainian domestic reforms, and international diplomacy, backed by limited sanctions, has always been ten steps behind Russia’s aggressive agenda.
Over the course of the last eight years, Russia has been charging forward while the West was concerned with preserving face-saving exits for Putin and about avoiding “provoking” Moscow. Russia faced no serious consequences for its criminal actions in Ukraine, or the barbaric devastation it brought on the Syrian people.
Worrying about the pernicious consequences of such Western policy, in 2020, together with hundreds of Ukrainians former and acting government officials, politicians, and prominent figures of civil society, we petitioned the US government to revise its Russian policy.
We called upon the US government to adopt measures which were adequate to Moscow’s transgressions of international law. We demanded Russia be designated an outlaw rogue state and state sponsor or terrorism responsible for the unlawful aggression against Ukraine. We asked the US government to implement severe sanctions proportional to Moscow’s violations of international law and steadily increase them until Russia changes course.
Regretfully, nothing happened.Instead, we saw new Western attempts to woo Putin into diplomacy talks and offer him rewards like Nord Stream 2.
Putin rightly interpreted the absence of Western resolve as weakness which emboldened him to continue escalating his aggression. By mid 2021, Moscow de facto annexed Russia occupied Donbas, and set the stage for a new territorial conquest.
Last year Putin openly and boldly professed his fascist ideology of “russism”, which dictates that Ukrainians as a nation must be destroyed. Kremlin propaganda has been simultaneously ramping up its dehumanization of Ukrainians to grow an appetite in Russian society for a “final answer to the Ukrainian question”.
Back in 2014 Ukraine was asking very little from the West, but our pleas were rejected. Since then the Western Russian policy has taken us down a path of present genuine existential threat to Ukraine. The lack of formidable deterrents for Moscow has brought us to the point when Russia is committing in plain sight the crimes against humanity and war crimes to achieve Putin’s atrocious goals in Ukraine.
Now, an uncompromising action is required to repair the consequences of the failed Russia policy.
Today, as Russian atrocities continue increasing the toll of innocent victims, such action is to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine’s airspace to protect civilians and critical civilian infrastructure from indiscriminate bombardment.
Russian terrorist tactics are endangering our civilian nuclear infrastructure and thus creating a real threat of nuclear catastrophe for the region. The time to act is now.
Mr. Biden, every minute your government and other Western governments are withholding a resolute action to halt Putin’s aggression, the “new Ukraine” that we were building together with your help is being eviscerated through inhumane destruction of my country by Putin’s terrorist forces.
Western self-paralysis with respect to engaging the Russian military is based on the defeatist logic that mad man always wins, and Putin fully exploits it. He threatens retaliation for any military support to Ukraine to make my nation an easy prey. And Putin can see his intimidation is working.
But what if Putin threatens nuclear war unless America withdraws from the Eastern European NATO members? Or, if he issues an ultimatum that NATO has to be disbanded to guarantee “Russian security”?
I say that all Putin unlawful claims should be treated the same way as threats of a deranged terrorist.
One thing is clear, if Ukrainians followed the Western logic we should have surrendered nine years ago. But we didn’t and today we keep “provoking” Putin by shooting down his planes and missiles. Because they are in our sky, while they have no right to.
We ask the US and other willing nations to take the same action to protect Ukrainian airspace. We do not ask to bombard Russian cities. The United Nations General Assembly, by an overwhelming majority vote, recognized Russia’s aggression as unlawful. Every action to protect Ukrainian airspace from unlawful Russian invasion is legitimate and not a “provocation”.
Let me tell you what you should already know, if Russia needs a pretext to justify aggression against the NATO countries, the Kremlin propaganda machine can manufacture it on the fly. If you do not employ deterrence now, what is going to stop Russia then?
Is it really in the interest of the NATO nations to have a manic dictator in Europe with nuclear weapons on the loose? Or shall he be stopped in Ukraine once and for the benefit of all. Mr. Biden, let me ask you directly will it take Putin to start bombing Ukraine with tactical nuclear weapons for your government to impose a no-fly zone or help Ukraine obtain fighter jets? Or, are you going to say that it is too late to save Ukraine then?
Does morality end at the NATO border?
Is the American war against terror selective about terrorists? Putin is certainly the number one murderer in the world today.
As a Ukrainian mother, I want to tell you to have no fear. For the sake of American people, and for the sake of the free world.
The free world must demonstrate resolve to restrain the rogue regime in Moscow and send a signal of strength to other malicious world actors. We should not invite more evil into our world.
Today Ukraine is at the forefront of fighting against the tyranny and we understand that we have no choice but to prevail to save our nation from destruction and to honour lives of millions of Ukrainians who died at the hands of Moscow sacrificing their lives for the freedom of our and future generations.
The Stingers we received are very helpful, but we were saddened by the delay in their delivery after months of begging for more efficient weaponry.
Today, we desperately need aerial cover, we need an air defense system, we need anti-ship missiles. Momentum is on our side. Send us the weapons that can secure victory.
Dear President Biden, today is also the day when I still believe you can honour your nation by demonstrating true leadership in safeguarding humanity, the lives of Ukrainian children, and the future of the free world.
Pleading with you,
Hanna Hopko, Chairwoman of Democracy in Action Initiative, Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Verkhovna Rada (2014-2019), mother of 10 years old daughter Sophia
The letter is supported by active women which are now fighting on different fronts for Ukrainian victory:
Daria Kaleniuk, AntiCorruption Action Center, mother of two kids
Yulia Klymenko, Member of Parliament Deputy Chair of Golos faction ,Mother of 5 sons and 1 daughter, Wife of Kyiv territorial defense soldier
Olena Halushka, AntiCorruption Action Center, mother of son
Oksana Yurynets, Head of the delegation of Verkhovna Rada to NATO PA in 8 convocation
Olena Kravchenko, head of Environment.People.Law
Olga Aivazovska, Head of OPORA Network
Victoria Ptashnyk, member of Parliament of the 8th convocation, mother of Ivanka (3 years) and Zhenya (11 years)
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Chair of the committee on Ukraine’s Integration into the EU, mother of 2 daughters
Iryna Friz, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of 2 sons
Mariya Ionova, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of daughter and son.
Iryna Gerashchenko Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Co-Chair of European Solidarity faction, mother of 2 daughters and 1 son.
Oleksandra Matviychuk, Chairwoman of Center for Civil Liberties
Lesia Vasylenko, Member of Parliament, Chair of Climate Change Sub-Committee of Committee of Environmental Policy, Mother of baby Sofia, Daughter Kylyna, Son Hryhorii
Olena Kondratiuk, Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine, mother of daughter Ustyna
Oksana Prodan, Member of Ukrainian Parliament 2012-2019, Adviser to the Chairman of the Association of Ukrainian Cities, mother of 2 daughters
Veselova Natalia, Member of the Verkhovna Rada (2014-2019), internally displaced person from Donetsk, mother of 11 years old daughter Arina
Olesia Tsybulko, Director Directorate of the Ministry of digital transformation of Ukraine, mother of 13 years old son
Olesya Pynzenyk, Member of Kyiv City Council, mother of Sofia, 13 and Maria, 8
Oleksandra Matviichuk, head of the board of Center for Civil Liberties
Olha Vasylevska-Smahliuk, member of Ukrainian Parliament, chair of AML subcommittee, mother of two daughters
Anastasia Radina, Member of the Parliament of Ukraine, Сhair of Anticorruption Committee of the Parliament, mother of 2 year old son
Svitlana Zalishchuk, Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister, Member of Parliament (2014-2019)
Nataliya Mykolska, strategic transformation expert, member of the Board of Ukrhydroenergo, mother of 2 sons Marko & Luka
Anna Romanova, member of Ukrainian Parliament of the 8th convocation, Consultant of USAID programs in Ukraine, mother of Emma (5 months) and Victoria (11 years)
Galyna Mykhailiuk, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Deputy head of Law Enforcement Committee
Olga Bielkova, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, 2012-2020, mother of 2 sons
Kira Rudik, leader of the Holos party and Member of Parliament
Alyona Babak, Member of Ukrainian Parliament of the 8th convocation; Minister of Communities and Territories Development (2019-2020); mother of two children
Viktoriya Podgorna Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Committee of digital transformation
Sofiya Fedyna, Member of Parliament of Ukraine
Tetiana Ostrikova, attorney-at-law, Member of the Supervisory Board JSC AltBank, Member of the Parliament (2014-2019)
Nataliya Pipa, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of two sons
Irina Borzova , Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of 3 children
Liudmyla Marchenko, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of the son
Alina Zahoruiko, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of the son
Yuliia Ovchynnykova, Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Olga Savchenko, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of daughter
Yevheniia Kravchuk, Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Humanitarian and Informational Politics, mother of daughter
Halyna Valylchenko, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of a daughter and son
Galyna Mykhailiuk, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Deputy Chair of Law Enforcement Committee
Yana Zinkevych, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of daughter
Victoriia Siumar, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of the sun
Nina Yuzhanina, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, grandmother of two grandchildren
Maryna Bardina, Member of the Parliament of Ukraine, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation
Olga Stefanyshyna, member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of two daughters
Yuliya Didenko, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of two daughters
Solomiia Bobrovska, Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Secretary of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation
Oksana Grynchuk Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of daughter and son
Mariia Mezentseva, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Deputy Chair of Committee on Ukraine’s Integration into the European Union, Chairwoman of Permanent Ukrainian delegation to the PACE
Lesia Zaburanna, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of daughter
Tetiana Skrypka, Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Galyna Tretiakova, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Chair of the Committee on Social Policy and Veterans Rights, mother of four children and grandmother of five grandchildren
Yelyzaveta Yasko, Member of Ukrainian Parliament
Olga Sovgirya, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Legal Policy, mother of two children
Inna Sovsun, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of the son
Olena Vintonyak, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of the son
Olga Rudenko, Member of Ukrainian Parliament Member, mother of a daughter
Yuliia Hryshyna, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of 2 daughters
Yuliia Shmygalova, executive director of Ukraine crisis media center, mother of daughter
Tania Kolosova, project manager UCMC, mother of daughter
Tetiana Oharkova, chief of UCMC international outreach department, mother of three daughters
Iryna Malyk, UCMC project manager, mother of daughter and son
Svitlana Matviienko, Agency for Legislative Initiatives, Ukrainian School of Political Studies
Oleksandra Ustinova, Member of Ukrainian Parliament , Chair of Holos Faction, mother of a baby girl, upcoming
Olena Shulіак, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Chair of faction “Sluga Narody “Party, Deputy Chair of the Committee on the Organization of State Power, Local Self-Government, Regional Development and Urban Planning
Anastasiia Liashenko, Member of Ukrainian Parliament, godmother of two goddaughters
Lubov Noha, assistant to the Member of Ukrainian Parliament, mother of 2 sons
Anastasiia Yankovets, assistant to the Member of Ukrainian Parliament, grandmother of two granddaughters and one grandson
Solomiia Shevchuk, assistant to the Member of Ukrainian Parliament, grandmother of 2 grandson and 1 granddaughter
Lyubov Shpak, people’s deputy of Ukraine, mother of one daughter
All women politicians, women in Parliament, public activists in one voice ask the world to close the sky. In 12 days 38 kids have been killed, 72 — were wounded. More than 2,000 civilians were killed. The occupiers do not give humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians. These are the war crimes against humanity. If you don’t close the sky — 3 more children will die every day! During 11 days of the war, Russian occupiers damaged or destroyed 34 hospitals, 202 schools, more than 1,500 residential buildings in Ukraine, including apartment buildings.