Tag Archives: Europe

The Bourgogne Franche-Comté collective for the abolition of nuclear weapons


Press release n° 29 – June 16, 2022 received at CPNN de L’Institut de recherche sur la Résolution Non-violente des Conflits (translation by CPNN)

France must be an observer at the UN meeting in Vienna from June 21 to 23, 2022

Demonstration in Dijon and interview at the Regional Prefecture

On June 16, 2022 at 12:30 p.m., 13 whistleblowers from the ‘Collectif Bourgogne Franche-Comté pour l’abolition des weapons nucleaires’ unfurled banners in Place Darcy in Dijon asking France not to shun the Treaty on Nuclear Weapons. Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). A delegation met a representative of the Prefect on this subject at 2 p.m.

Nuclear weapons leave no one safe. They do not prevent conventional warfare, as the news claims, but they protect the aggressor. They are only an instrument of terror against populations and they divert astronomical sums of money that should be devoted, in particular, to the fight against climate change. They are ineffective, dangerous, illegal, undemocratic, demotivating, immoral and ruinous.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by a majority of States (122) at the UN on July 7, 2017. It is the only treaty that legally prohibits nuclear weapons. It entered into force on January 22, 2021, notably complementing other instruments, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The UN will host from 21 to 23 June 2022 in Vienna the first meeting of the States Parties to the TPNW with in particular European partners such as Germany, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Malta, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden. Some take part in this process as an observer.

The ICAN France Campaign, led by a large number of organizations, asks the President of the Republic not to isolate our country from a multilateral process led by the UN. France should participate as an observer in the first meeting of States Parties to the TPNW.

France, which never ceases, whatever its government, to say that it is a responsible State, does not have the right to isolate itself from the international and European scene. It does not have the right to refuse dialogue with a view to acting for our human and environmental security in the face of the nuclear arsenals which constantly threaten us; it must be present as an observer State at the first meeting of the TPNW. Can we imagine for a single moment that France leaves its seat empty at this UN meeting, thus siding with absentees such as authoritarian or dictatorial powers (Russia, China, North Korea)?

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(Click here for the French version of this article.)

Question related to this article:
Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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An action near Valduc

The same day at 5 p.m. in Moloy, near the site of the Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA) in Valduc, which maintains and modernizes 290 French nuclear weapons, whistleblowers deployed banners .

The banners call for:

– compliance by France with article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which it acceded in 1992 and of which it violates the spirit and the letter, while it asks other States to respect international law,

– France’s accession to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW),

– and the reconversion to peaceful activities of the CEA-DAM sites, including that of Valduc.

Actions in Paris, London, Berlin, Barcelona, ​​Turin and Faslane

Between June 16 and June 18, actions have been or will be carried out in Paris on the occasion of the next meeting in Vienna, but also in London, Berlin, Barcelona, ​​Turin and in front of the Faslane base (Scotland) which houses British nuclear submarines, so that the countries of Europe support the dynamics of the TPNW.

How can citizens support the TPNW?

– Read and distribute the op-ed by 56 French parliamentarians in Le Monde on June 18, asking that France be an observer in the meeting of States Parties to the TPNW in Vienna

– Write to your Mayor, so that your municipality signs the Cities’ Appeal of ICAN for nuclear disarmament, and ask your Deputy and Senator for France to join the TPNW.

– Ask your bank about its funding of the atomic bomb by participating in the action campaign on this topic.

– Learn about nuclear weapons, international security issues and defending democracy.

– Take part in the citizen vigils, especially in Bordeaux from August 6 to 9, 2022.

The vigils and non-violent actions carried out by the ‘Collectif Bourgogne Franche Comté for the abolition of nuclear weapons’ are part of ICAN, ‘International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’, Nobel Peace Prize 2017. They follow up previous UN victories: banning biological weapons (1972), chemical weapons (1993), anti-personnel mines (1997), and cluster munitions (2008).

Watch the video “The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons”. Discover the history with photos of the actions in Dijon and Valduc since 2014. Inform those around you about the seven vices of nuclear deterrence. Read the study on French military nuclear waste.

The Bourgogne Franche-Comté collective for the abolition of nuclear weapons http://abolitiondesarmesnucleaires.org – abolitiondesarmesnucleaires@orange.fr – 06 14 24 86 96 ■

Europe: Mayors and local leaders play a key role in advancing the nuclear prohibition


An article from Mayors for Peace – Europe

The webinar organised last 25 May by the Mayors for Peace European Chapter exposed the essential contributions made by local governments to the promotion of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Local leaders from across Europe showcased their advocacy and cooperation initiatives on this matter. Peace municipalism and civil society networks can help mobilise more countries in favour of the TPNW and the humanitarian-based approach spearheading the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

Faced with the ongoing escalation of nuclear threats, as well as the impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, local governments expressed their solidarity with Ukrainian cities  and called for a long-term vision of international security that overcomes nuclear deterrence.

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(Click here for the French version of this article.)

Question related to this article:
Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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Participants to the webinar agreed to ensure a meaningful contribution to the forthcoming Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW, to be held in Vienna next 21 to 23 June. This international conference will give a crucial follow-up to the nuclear disarmament agenda.

Read the summary of discussions of the event here

The webinar was organised by the Mayors for Peace European Chapter in partnership with the following organisations:
* Mayor for Peace
* International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – ICAN
* Nuclear Free Local Authorities – NFLA
* United Cities and Local Governments – UCLG

Representatives of six different local governments across Europe took the floor during the event, including: David Blackburn, Councillor of Leeds (United Kingdom); Thomas Hermann, Deputy Mayor of Hannover (Germany); Philippe Rio, Mayor of Grigny (France); Marianne Borgen, Mayor of Oslo (Norway); Roberto Cammarata, President of the Municipal Council of Brescia (Italy) and Álvaro Ferrer, Deputy Mayor of Granollers (Catalonia, Spain).

Other high-level speakers joined the webinar to represent key partners of the European Chapter, including: Takashi Koizumi, Secretary General of Mayors for Peace; David Kmentt, President-designate of the 1MSP Meeting and Austrian Diplomat; Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN; Emilia Sáiz, Secretary General of UCLG. 

Bruce Kent: ‘a true man of peace’


An article by Ellen Teague in the Independent Catholic News

I wonder how many people hearing Bruce Kent speak about peace activism in a Tablet webinar on 12 May and then seeing him attend the annual Conscientious Objectors service in Tavistock Square on 15 May marvelled at his continuing inspirational commitment to peacemaking in his 93rd year. Of course, he was partly able to manage it with his wife of 34 years – companion peace campaigner, Valerie Flessati – alongside him. But by the end of May Bruce was struck down by illness and died on 8 June. The strongest Catholic voice for peace and nonviolence in the UK was silenced. Or was it?

Bruce Kent with his hero Franz Jägerstätter

He was a great orator and his words at Pax Christi AGMs, Justice and Peace events, protests at places from Trafalgar Square to Faslane and literally thousands of events over the years will continue to inspire the millions who heard him speak live. Indeed, many talks and interviews can be accessed on the internet. He reached one million people at just one event – the Hyde Park march and rally in London against the Iraq War on 15 February 2003. “Wave your banners” he said, “what a beautiful sight you are” and engaged the crowd probably better than anyone else that day.

But speaking out was never linked to the size of an event. In early March he felt compelled to join a small CND delegation delivering a letter to the Russian Embassy in London, which said: “For the sake of Ukrainian children taking shelter from Russian missiles; for the sake of all those who will die if the situation escalates and for the sake of the millions of us who will perish if the heightened risk of nuclear war turns into a nuclear conflict, we urge your government to halt the attacks, withdraw the troops and withdraw the nuclear threats.”

He lent support to many campaigns. Earlier this year when Campaign against the Arms Trade highlighted the seventh anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition’s entry into the war in Yemen, where the Coalition’s bombing campaign caused around 9,000 civilian deaths with many more injured, he said, “I am so glad that you have drawn attention to the barbarism of the war in Yemen in which Britain, as an arms supplier, is very responsible.” His last blog for the National Justice and Peace Network called for Catholics to support the Peace agenda of Pope Francis – eight years younger than himself. And in it he deplored that at COP26, the recent UN meeting on Climate Change held in Glasgow, the massive contribution to CO2 output by the world’s military hardly got a mention despite all the efforts of peace activists outside the official meeting.

The most prominent Catholic peace activist in Britain for more than half a century, Bruce Kent has served in management of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the International Peace Bureau, the Movement for the Abolition of War, as well as Pax Christi, the Catholic Movement for Peace. He has been vice president of both CND and Pax Christi UK.

But where did his focus on peace come from? Much is told in his autobiography ‘Undiscovered Ends’ which was produced in 1992 with only two-thirds of his life lived!

His compassion for people facing hardship or trouble, and victims of conflict, goes back to his youth. During schooldays at the Jesuit’s Stonyhurst College “where I became an orthodox, right wing young Catholic” he remembers making a fuss about the situation of a cleaner who had a two mile walk to work and he thought transport should be provided. All his life he was quietly attentive to people on the margins. After a period of national service in the British Army, where he served in Northern Ireland, and reading law at Oxford University, he entered a seminary to train as a Catholic priest. The seminary encouraged outreach and he paid weekly visits to a TB sanatorium. He reflected that, “being a Catholic was more than reciting prayers and saying Mass.”

In 1969 he was in Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War and saw the victims of the embargo imposed there. He used to point out that one and a half million people starved to death and the blockade was made possible by British weapons. “Biafra taught me the importance of fighting injustice’s causes – not just its symptoms” he said, and he has felt the same about the many wars since that time. To ignore the causes of injustice and war “is to short-change the poor of this world”. He felt that war and militarism could not be treated as separate issues by any aid agency dealing seriously with poverty.

Bruce was first introduced to the Catholic peace movement in the 1960s. He had met and greatly admired US Archbishop Thomas Roberts SJ at that time, who played a significant role in promoting recognition of conscientious objection to war, using the example of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian Catholic who was beheaded in 1943 for his refusal to serve in Hitler’s army. People like Jägerstätter, Roberts argued, should know they have the clear support of Church teaching. He also took the view that nuclear weapons involve immoral actions: the destruction of innocent people and a willingness to perform such acts in given circumstances. Bruce had witnessed ‘Ban the Bomb’ demonstrations in London and developed an affinity with peace campaigners and conscientious objectors. It was a decade that saw him working for Cardinal John Heenan in Archbishop’s House, being made a ‘monsignor’, and clearly being earmarked as a rising star in the Church. He heard remarks about damaging his career if he remained active with CND, but peacemaking had become his primary vocation.

In the 1970s Bruce was juggling chaplaincy work, parish work and peace commitments, including working in the CND office. He was inspired by the great encyclical Peace on Earth in 1963 and in 1971 by the “remarkable” document on the Church and Justice produced by the Bishops’ Synod in Rome. Called Our World and You it focused on poverty, peace, education for justice and the Church’s duty to practice what it preaches. In 1980 he became the General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, at a time when Britain announced it would be hosting American cruise missiles and build new Trident nuclear submarines with American missiles and British warheads. Membership of CND mushroomed throughout the 1980s. Bruce spoke at huge rallies, wrote articles, did interviews, debates, and visited local groups. He often returned on a late-night train from meetings round the country and rose to say early Mass in his parish before heading to the office for another hectic day. There was also a growth in heated attacks on himself and on CND. On 6 August 1986, for example, as he completed a long walk from the nuclear submarine base at Faslane in Scotland to Burghfield, the nuclear bomb factory in Berkshire, the minutes’ silence for the dead of Hiroshima and all wars was drowned out by the loud music of opponents.

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

His greatest sadness was that the Catholic Church “kept the peace movement at arm’s length,” although a CND survey in the early 1980s found that 25 percent of members were also Christians active in their churches. However, there were exceptions – the late Bishop Victor Guazzelli, former President of Pax Christi, and Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood who broke ranks to call for Britain to take first steps to de-escalate nuclear build up. Bruce praised Cardinal Basil Hume “who gave me generous support” despite mounting personal criticism of Bruce’s role in CND by prominent Catholics. These were years when nuclear disarmament was a hot political issue, constantly in the news. For Bruce, things came to a head with the prospect of a 1987 general election promising another bitter contest over the nuclear issue, and further personal attacks on his leadership role in CND.

He felt he was in an impossible position. “Many of my fellow Catholics, and other Christians, told me that what I was doing as a priest gave them hope”, he says, “though I knew that most of my bishops did not think my work was priestly”. In February 1987 he took the decision to retire from active ministry, saying “I no longer find it possible to cope with the strain resulting from the tension between my pastoral role which means so much to me and what is thought to be an unacceptable political role”. In the 30 years since that time Bruce has continued his peace activism. Since 1988, his wife and peace activist Valerie Flessati has been by his side.

Bruce felt an affinity with all peacemakers and all would testify to his generosity and kindness in affirming others. At the 60th anniversary of Christian CND last year, Bruce and Valerie gave highlights of CCND campaigning. One participant said, “I will never forget Bruce turning up at Greenham Common – the site of cruise missiles – to bring chocolates and some warming Scottish ‘water of life’ during the biblical 40 days of rain after the caravans were evicted in September 1982, and many times after that!” He loved social gatherings and at his birthday parties he would have an array of party games ready for young nieces and nephews and others. My own family received cards from him regularly, whether praising articles or encouraging artistic endeavours. He gave time to sitting for son Luke and the resulting painting is today in the Bradford Peace Museum.

Bruce had endless positive energy, creativity and insight into important issues. The National Justice and Peace Network has called him a “modern prophet” and praised him for understanding “that all justice issues are connected, although his own focus was on ending war and building a culture of peace”. He was behind the DVD, Conflict and Climate Change, produced in 2009 which made links between militarism and human-induced global warming. In his speech at Coventry University last November, where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate, he urged the student audience: “Please think for yourselves. Don’t be swept along by whatever happens to be the propaganda of the day. Ask your own critical questions. For example, why are people risking their lives trying to cross the Channel in small boats?” It was interesting when Pax Christi friends had occasional outings to the cinema to view some worthy film, that Bruce would loudly lament the adverts for violent films which preceeded it and which he felt should not masquerade as entertainment. He had an allergy to violence of any kind.

Bruce was an outspoken opponent of the British Government planning to spend more than £200 million on building and maintaining another generation of nuclear weapons to replace Britain’s current Trident system. He felt it makes nonsense of any British commitment to rid ourselves and the world of nuclear weapons. “If you have these weapons, you intend to use them” he would say, “and that is immoral”. He urged support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Bruce educated young people about citizenship and the work of the United Nations. “I go into schools of all sorts” he said, “and ignorance of the good work of United Nations and of its sub agencies, of the International Court of Justice, or the International Criminal Court is massive”. It grieved him that, “the miracle which brought the UN to life in on 26 June 1945 remains so small a priority in the Church, and in public life generally”.

Bruce admired Pope Francis and supported his work on any action related to peace, justice, equality and the global trusteeship of our world. Bruce felt that peace on Earth is going to depend on joined up education and campaigning on overcoming poverty, militarism and climate chaos, and that Pope Francis understands these connections. “I believe in nonviolent solutions to problems” he said and was delighted that Pope Francis chose to focus on ‘nonviolence as a political choice’ for his World Peace Day message for 1 January 2017. He was full of admiration for people like Pat Gaffney, former general secretary of Pax Christi, who work quietly and constantly for the common good.

In fact, he was always anxious to recognise women. He applauded his own mother for the strong influence of her Catholic faith in his early years growing up in Hampstead, London, and also being “very generous and outgoing”, and Valerie for her peace publications and wisdom on strategising for peacework. Bruce and Valerie knew Franzisza, the widow of Franz Jägerstätter, personally and admired her support of her husband’s stance despite being left to raise their three children on her own, harassment from the local community and widowhood of seven decades. He commended Jo Siedlecka of Independent Catholic News for her interest in publishing peace events and stories, and women religious for their loyal support of Pax Christi.

Bruce engaged with groups outside church circles, wherever he found kindred spirits. In 1988 he walked 1000 miles from Warsaw to Brussels (NATO) calling for a united peaceful nuclear-free Europe. In 1999 he was British co-ordinator for the Hague Appeal for Peace, a 10,000-strong international conference in The Hague, which initiated some major campaigns (e.g. against small arms, the use of child soldiers, and to promote peace education). It was this, along with his friend, Professor Joseph Rotblat’s Nobel acceptance speech calling for an end to war itself, that inspired Bruce to establish in the UK the Movement for the Abolition of War. In 2019 the International Peace Bureau awarded Bruce the Sean MacBride Prize in recognition of his life’s work for peace and disarmament. Bruce also engaged with refugees, visited prisoners and campaigned for prison reform. He was a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Bruce said once: “I have always been a glass half full not half empty person and in terms of peace and social justice the Catholic glass is very much half full”. He felt it was amongst groups of visionary people such as Justice and Peace groups and Pax Christi, “that I find my own sources of life and inspiration”. He was, “a comfortable member of my own parish but it is with its Justice and Peace Group that I am really at home and of one mind.”

I was always surprised that Bruce was sometimes seen as a contentious figure by some Catholics. He spoke such good sense with eloquence and vast background knowledge, always ready to listen to others and to engage with differing opinions. In private, the hospitality of Bruce and Valerie was legendary, surrounded in their flat by books, posters and memorabilia testifying to their faithfulness to their vocation as Catholic peacemakers. They were strongly ecumenical too. Just over a year ago, Bruce and Valerie were jointly awarded the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism, “for exceptional, tireless and lifelong dedication to the Christian ecumenical search for peace, both individually and together.” He was widely admired. At the London service for conscientious objectors in Central London five years ago, there was great excitement that Sir Mark Rylance was speaking, but the award-winning actor himself said his highlight of the day was meeting his “hero”, Bruce Kent.

The media was buzzing with tributes as soon as his death was announced. From around the UK and internationally Bruce was described as “a true man of peace”, “one of the greatest peace campaigners the world has ever known” and “a great human being and a prophet”. I found particularly moving, “our society is weakened by his passing”.

Bruce’s favourite quote from Catholic Social Teaching was from Pope Paul VI’s 1967 encyclical Populorum Progressio: ‘Peace is the fruit of anxious daily care to see that each person lives in justice as God intends’. He gave faithful “anxious daily care” to his mission for peace for as long his health permitted and he will long continue to inspire.

France: “Desertons”: young engineers call for refusing “destructive jobs”


An article from Reporterre (translation by CPNN)

During a speech delivered at the AgroParisTech graduation ceremony on May 10, eight students said they refused to perform “destructive jobs” and called on their comrades to join the ecological struggles and to work with their hands.

The large bright screen announced the end-of-year speech of a young graduate. But at the podium, they arrived as eight instead of one. In turn, they described the role that their training and their profession play in the ecological and social disaster and called on their colleagues to “take another path”.

A frame from the from video of their speeches
(click on the image to watch the video)

The 2022 graduates are now meeting for the last time after three or four years at AgroParisTech. Many of us do not want to pretend to be proud and deserving of obtaining this diploma at the end of a training which globally pushes to participate in the social and ecological devastations in progress.

We do not see ourselves as “the talents of a sustainable planet”.

We do not see ecological and social devastation as “issues” or “challenges” to which we should find solutions as engineers.

We do not believe that we need “all agricultures”. Rather, we see that agribusiness is waging a war on the living and on the peasantry everywhere on Earth.

We do not see science and technology as neutral and apolitical.

We believe that technological innovation or start-ups will save nothing but capitalism.

We do not believe in “sustainable development”, nor in “green growth”, nor in “ecological transition”, an expression which implies that society can become sustainable without getting rid of the dominant social order. .

AgroParisTech trains hundreds of students every year to work for the industry in various ways: tampering with plants in the lab for multinationals that reinforce the enslavement of farmers; designing prepared meals and then chemotherapy to treat the diseases caused; inventing good conscience labels to allow managers to believe themselves heroic by eating better than others; developing “green energies” which make it possible to accelerate the digitization of society while polluting and exploiting on the other side of the world; producing CSR [corporate social responsibility] reports that are all the longer and more delirious because the crimes they hide are scandalous; or even counting frogs and butterflies so that concrete workers can make them disappear legally.

“We speak to those who doubt”

These jobs are destructive, and to choose them is to harm… by serving the interests of the few.

Yet these are the opportunities that were presented to us throughout our studies at AgroParisTech. On the other hand, we have never been told about graduates who consider that these professions are more part of the problems than of the solutions and who have chosen to desert.

We speak to those who doubt. Whether this doubt is daily — or fleeting.

To you, who accepted a job because “you need a first experience”.

To you, whose loved ones work to perpetuate the system, and who feel the weight of their gaze on your professional choices.

To you, who, seated behind a desk, look out the window dreaming of space and freedom.

To you who take the TGV every weekend in search of a well-being never found.

To you who feel uneasiness rising without being able to name it, who often find that this world is crazy, who want to do something but don’t really know what, or who hoped to “change things from the inside” and don’t believe it already.

We wanted to let you know that you’re not the only ones who think there’s something wrong. Because there really is something wrong.

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(Click here for the original article in French

Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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We too have doubted, and sometimes we still doubt.

And we refuse to serve this system, we have decided to look for other ways, to build our own paths.

How did it start?

We met people who were struggling, and we followed them on their battlefields. They made us see the other side of the projects that we could have carried out as engineers. I think of Christina and Emmanuel who see the concrete flowing on their land on the Saclay plateau. I think of this dry hole, a derisory compensation for a pond full of newts. Or to Nico who sees from his tower block the popular gardens of his childhood razed for the construction of an eco-district.

Here and there, we have met people who are experimenting with other ways of life, who are reclaiming knowledge and know-how so as to no longer depend on the monopolies of polluting industries.

People who understand their territory to live from it without exhausting it. Who actively fight harmful projects. Who practice a popular, decolonial and feminist ecology on a daily basis. Who find the time to live well and take care of each other. All these encounters have inspired us to imagine our own paths.

… I have been living for two years at the zad of Notre-Dame-des-Landes where I do collective and subsistence farming, among other things.

… I am in the process of setting up in beekeeping in the Dauphiné.

… I joined the Les Uprisings of the Earth movement to fight against the grabbing of agricultural land and its concrete everywhere in France.

… I live in the mountains, I have a seasonal job and I start drawing.

… We settle in a collective in the Tarn on a Terre de Liens farm with a peasant baker, brewers and arboriculturists.

… I am committed against nuclear power near Bure.

… I train today to settle tomorrow and work with my hands.

We consider these ways of living to be more than necessary and we know that they will make us stronger and happier.

Worried about stepping aside because it wouldn’t “do well” on your resume?

To distance yourself from your family and your network?

To deprive you of the recognition that a career as an agricultural engineer would bring you?

But what life do we want? A cynical boss? A salary that allows you to fly? A thirty-year loan for a pavilion? Not even five weeks a year to breathe in an “unusual lodge”? An electric SUV, a Fairphone and a Biocoop loyalty card?

And then a burnout at 40?

“Let’s not wait for the 12ᵉ IPCC report”

Let’s not waste our time. But above all, let’s not lose this energy that is boiling somewhere in us.

Let’s not give up when we are stuck with financial obligations.

Let’s not wait for our kids to ask us for money to go shopping in the Metaverse because we ran out of time to make them dream of something else.

Let’s not wait to be incapable of anything other than a pseudo-reconversion in the same job, but repainted in green.

Let’s not wait for the 12th IPCC report, which will demonstrate that states and multinationals have never done anything but make the problems worse, and which will place its last hopes in popular uprisings and revolts.

You can fork now.

Start training as a farmer-baker. Leave for a few months of woofing. Participate in a construction site on a zad or elsewhere. Engage with those in need. Get involved in a self-managed bike workshop or join a weekend of struggle with the Earth Uprisings.

It can start like this.

It’s up to you to find your ways to take another path.

Culture of Peace Foundation: We join the Global Days of Action to Reduce Military Expenditure and to demand a budget for peace


An article from Fundación Cultura de Paz

The Culture of Peace Foundation has joined the call of the Global Days of Action for the Reduction of Military Spending (GDAMS) that calls for a budget for peace policies. As noted in the appeal, that You can read here, “The $1.98 trillion spent on armies in 2020 did not provide us with true security, rather bloated budgets for weapons and war left us mired in a cycle of violence. It is time for us to come together and call on governments around the world to cut military spending and instead invest in common and human security. It is time to give peace a budget.”

We are seeing today, with the military invasion of Ukraine, that both political leaders and the media “continue to push solutions focused on military power projection and deterrence” and seem to advocate increasing already bloated military budgets. But it is clear that militarism has not brought us more security.

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(Click here for a Spanish version of this article.)

Question related to this article:

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

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As noted in the appeal, “The collective military spending of NATO members, which is 18 times that of Russia, did not prevent President Putin from invading Ukraine. Even so, its Member States have reaffirmed their commitment to spend 2% of their GDP on military spending in response to Russia’s war of aggression. By now it should be obvious that some countries trying to outspend others on weapons of all sizes is not an adequate defense and security strategy. It hasn’t worked in the past and it never will.”

On the other hand, the member organizations point out, “the global commitment to militarization also destroys trust and undermines cooperation efforts between countries.” Governments must invest in cooperation and multilateralism, “putting more options on the table than the threat of war and annihilation.” We suffer from many threats, such as the climate crisis or growing social inequality, in the face of which hardly any funds are allocated to face them compared to military spending, so that “the collective action necessary to face the global emergencies of our time remains in the background”.

Military spending does not guarantee our security “and prevents the global collaboration that is essential for human well-being.” For this reason, the adhering organizations call on “civil society and the media to press for large reductions in military spending, instead of the increases announced in many countries.”

“We demand that governments reduce their military spending and instead allocate funds to common and human security, investing in the true needs of people and the planet to build a just and sustainable peace.

If we want to give peace a chance, we have to give it a budget.”

War in Ukraine: Statement by the Board of the European Chapter of Mayors for Peace


A statement by European Chapter of Mayors for Peace

Representing European local and regional governments committed to defend peace in our cities and towns but also across the continent and the whole world, and following up on the call by the Mayor of Hiroshima and President of the Mayors for Peace network urging for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine, we issue the following statement:.

° We urge the Russian government and perpetrators of the current escalation and territorial agression in Ukraine to put an end to hostilities, respect international law and commit to reinvigorated diplomatic efforts: Dialogue, cooperation and diplomacy are the only valid mechanisms to ensure a peaceful resolution to conflict.

(article continued in right column)

(Click here for the French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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° We express our solidarity with all Mayors, local governments and residents who have been suffering and will now suffer more from this war. This show of solidarity is especially addressed to our city-members and friends in both Ukraine and Russia, with whom we share a common desire and goal: to live in a peaceful world. As places where people live, cities and towns are often the territories suffering the most by armed conflict. Wars cause endless suffering and often turn our citizens into refugees and children into orphans.

° We invite parties involved in diplomatic negotiations to go beyond confrontation and listen to these same communities and local leaders. They are not only the parties suffering the most from the war, but can also be instrumental in delivering a truly sustainable and effective peace.

° We recall the risk of a nuclear escalation inherent in the conflict, which would result in catastrophic humanitarian consequences not only for our shared continent but the whole world. We call for respecting the suffering of previous nuclear victims and also the rights of future generations. We emphasize our organization’s stand on this agenda and call for the implementation of the hitherto not fulfulled commitments on nuclear disarmament: nuclear weapons are prohibited, a vision which has already been embraced by a majority of countries in the world.

° We reaffirm our willingness to continue working together with international organisations in the peace movement, civil society and committed states in finding a solution to this conflict. As mayors and local representatives, we are committed to continue showcasing our people’s firm choice in favor of peace and opposition to war.

Inspired by our own local memories and our firm commitment to shout out loud “Never Again War”, let’s work together to prevent and resolve conflicts, to continue building peace and to create safe environments where all our residents can live safely and with full respect to human rights.

The Executive Board Mayors for Peace European Chapter.

The Second Level Geopolitical War in Ukraine Takes Over


A blog by Richard Falk reprinted by Transcend Media Service

. . . It has become increasingly clear to the world that there is not one, but two, actually three, distinct levels of conflict embedded in what the world’s media and political leadership deceptively insist on calling the ‘Ukraine War.’ The first level was initiated on February 24, 2022 when Russia launched an aggressive war against Ukraine imperiling the country’s most basic sovereign rights as well as its territorial integrity. The second level was difficult to discern in the first weeks of the war, but became soon evident as the NATO countries led by the United States placed an increasing emphasis on lending escalating support to Ukraine’s adopted goals of achieving an unexpected military victory. This support took various forms including the steady supply of heavy weaponry, robust financial assistance, punitive sanctions, and a drumbeat of ‘official’ demonization of Russia and its leadership. In the beginning it seemed appropriate to lend support to Ukraine as the target of aggression, and hail the resistance efforts led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, in defense of a relatively small country being overrun by a large neighbor.

Richard Falk

Even this widely endorsed narrative was deceptive and one-sided as it overlooked the provocative nature of NATO expansion, abetted in Ukraine’s case by American interference in the internal politics of the country to help turn the political tide against Russia. It is in this internal setting that on which the third level of the war persists as there is no doubt that anti-Russian elements in Western Ukraine were deeply abusive toward the majority Russian speaking population in Eastern Ukraine known as the Donbas region. The non-implementation of the Minsk Agreements negotiated in 2014-15 to protect the Ukrainians in the East and accept a high degree of autonomy led to oppressive policies by the Kyiv government giving added strength to separatist aspirations. It remains uncertain as whether the Russia/Ukraine level of combat can be resolved without serious addressing Russian and Donbas concerns at the core of this third level of conflict.

What has been apparent to critics for some time is that Western diplomacy has increasingly become primarily committed to the second level Geopolitical War even at the cost of greatly prolonging and aggravating the Ukrainian war on the ground and producing growing risks of a wider war. Only in the past few days has this priority been more or less acknowledged by high officials in the U.S. Government, most dramatically in the visit of Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, and Austin, Secretary of Defense to Ukraine and later in their meeting with NATO counterparts in Europe. What was revealed was that the number one policy goal of the U.S. was ‘the weakening of Russia’ made to military planners a credible undertaking by the unexpected resistance capabilities of Ukrainian armed forces bolstered by a show unified nationalist resolve. In keeping with this line of thinking, arms shipments to Ukraine were steadily increased in quantity and quality. More tellingly, so-called heavy armaments with offensive capabilities began to be supplied to Ukraine, with militarists in NATO countries even proposing attacking targets in Russia. As this dynamic unfolded, Germany joined in by dramatically reversed its proclaimed policy of not providing heavy weaponry. The whole tenor of assistance from NATO countries shifted from helping Ukraine resist to addressing the geopolitical agenda with its two goals: inflicting a humiliating defeat on Russia and signaling China not to indulge any doubts about Western resolve to defend Taiwan.

Despite this shift in emphasis, earlier concerns with escalating the Geopolitical War with Russia have not been entirely abandoned. Efforts continue to be made to ensure that U.S. and Russia to not engage in direct combat with opposing weapons system and to not produce situations that push Russian toward a reliance on nuclear weapons to avoid battlefield defeat. White House perceptions of what will cause such recourse to nuclear weaponry at this point seems dangerous divergent. It is widely reported that the Biden presidency continues to resist pressures to establish No Fly Zone in Ukraine because it would greatly heighten prospects for direct combat encounters between the NATO and Russia, and with it risks of this new species of cold war turning uncontrollably hot. But what of Biden’s demonization of Russia as guilty of genocide and Putin as a war criminal who should be driven from power? And what of the continuous increases of political, financial, and military assistance to Ukraine coupled with the absence of any hint that a diplomatic alternative exists that would stop the killing. This has been missing all along. There have been no indications by Washington of receptivity to a diplomacy emphasizing the primary humanitarian imperative of an immediate ceasefire and a political process of compromise and mutual security between Russia and Ukraine the overt international antagonists. It is missing because the U.S. on prosecuting the Geopolitical War as long as necessary, and this  takes precedence over the wellbeing of the Ukrainian people, or even the rationally conceived self-interest of the NATO powers.

Zelensky early in the war indicated receptivity to a ceasefire and political compromise, including an acceptance of permanent neutrality for Ukraine, signaled his willingness to meet with Putin to agree upon a process. As time passes, however, Zelensky has pulled back from this dual stance of armed resistance and peace diplomacy, and come to adopt a position that appears seamless with that of the U.S. as if his priority had also shifted to the level 2 Geopolitical War.

My conjecture is that Zelensky, although displaying great talents as a wartime resistance leader has very little sophistication about international relations in general, and seems susceptible to this more militarist line bolstered by promises of decisive support from Washington and possible pressures from his own supposedly hawkish general staff. After all, Zelensky’s background is in theater, until recently he was a performing comedian without any signs of awareness of the wider risks to Ukraine if it subordinates its national interests to the logic of going on with the Geopolitical War wherever it might lead.

As expected, Moscow has already reacted to this escalation of this second level war by warning that it will not back down, but will take all necessary steps to protect its national security interests, intimating if it comes to that, a readiness to have recourse to nuclear weapons. Such inflamed atmospherics can easily produce accidental or preemptive acts that accelerate escalation, which is especially serious in the current context that lacks crisis management links of the sort established between Moscow and Washington in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It took that close encounter back in 1962 with its apocalyptic war scenario that led these superpower antagonists to understand that they had averted a monumental mutual catastrophe by sheer luck, and must take steps to avoid future drifts toward nuclear war however great the crisis in their relationship.

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Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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While most attention is focused on the inter-governmental play of forces it is helpful to take account of other perspectives: civil society peace initiatives, the views of the Global South, and the initiatives of the UN Secretary General. These perspectives call attention to the startling fact that alternatives to aggressive war and geopolitical ambition exist. The Western media blithely hides the awkward fact that Russia is more globally supported in the Geopolitical War than is the United States, preferring the balances of multipolarity to the hegemonies of unipolarity. The Global North controls the discourse prevailing on the most influential media platforms, creating the misleading impression that the whole world, except the outliers, are content with U.S. leadership.

Civil Society Initiatives

Almost from the day the Russian attack began, peace activists and NGOs concerned in some way with peace, security, and humanitarianism urged an end to the killing by way of a ceasefire and some political process that dealt with the level 1 and 3 grievances. This is not to say there were not sharp tensions within civil society, especially surrounding how to interpret the pre-war NATO maneuvers  or the Russian manipulation of the strife in Donbas. By and large the liberal and left liberal mainstream supported outright condemnation of Russian aggression, but favored an immediate ceasefire and diplomacy to ending the war and mitigating the humanitarian emergency of death, devastation, and displacement. Those who can be crudely identified as the anti-imperial left tended to excuse or at least place major responsibility for the outbreak of war on the context largely fashioned by Western provocations (especially NATO expansion) and interference in Ukraine’s internal politics since 2014 as did some on the extreme right who identified with Putin’s authoritarianism as future wave of world politics.

What contrasted the civil society perspectives in spite of their diversity, with NATO/mainstream media postures, was their shared stress on stopping the killing, the relevance of diplomacy, and their implicit or explicit refusal to condone recourse to the Level 2 Geopolitical War. Typical examples of civil society proposals can be found in the Pugwash Peace Proposal and the Just World Education booklet distributed under the title “Ukraine: Stop the Carnage, Build the Peace”(available from Amazon or from www.justworldeducational.org, containing eight policy recommendations).

The Voice of the Global South

Given little notice in the Global North was the refusal of the greater part of the Global South to support the mobilization of coercive and punitive sanctions diplomacy directed at Russia and its leader. This split from the West first became evident in the two votes on Ukraine in the UN General Assembly. The entire world including the most of the main countries in the Global South supported the condemnation of the Level 1 Russian aggression, but either abstained or opposed support for the Level 2 Geopolitical War Initiated by the U.S. against Russia in the early stages of the attack on Ukraine. As Trita Parti of the Washington-based think tank, Quincy Institute, pointed out much of the Global South actually supported Russia in the Geopolitical War context, which was interpreted as the U.S. commitment to extending the mandate contained in a unipolar world order of the sort it had acted upon since the Soviet collapse and the end of the Cold War. The Global South greatly preferred the dynamics of a multipolar world, and regarded Russia as seeking in Ukraine to reassert its traditional geopolitical suzerainty over its ‘near abroad,’ a stand against the U.S. as the unopposed guardian of security throughout the planet. It should be appreciated that the U.S. has 97% of overseas military bases and accounts for 40% of the world’s military expenditures, greater than that of the next 11 countries.

The U.S. position is no way renounces traditional geopolitics but seeks to monopolize its implementation. In that spirit it views the attempted reassertion by China and Russia of traditional spheres of influence as an intrusion on international law, while the U.S. at the same time defends its practice of managing the first global sphere of influence in world history. Blinken has said as much, declaring spheres of influence as contrary to international law ever since World War II while simultaneously upholding the sole prerogative of the U.S. when it comes to managing security throughout such a rule-governed world (not to be confused with international law, and its efforts at rule- governance). The UN or international law are marginalized with respect to peace and security in the face of this assumption of geopolitical dominance resting on a mixture of political ambition and military capabilities.

The UN Secretary General

Throughout the Ukraine crisis Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, has articulated a point of view toward the Ukraine Crisis that contrasts in fundamental ways from the positions taken by the political actors on the three levels of conflict. His words and proposals are much closer in spirit to the calls emanating from civil society and the Global South. He expressed the spirit of his endeavors concisely shortly after Russia attacked: “End the hostilities now. Silence the guns now. Open the door to dialogue and diplomacy.” “The ticking clock is a time bomb.”

Traveling in Moscow to meet with Putin and the Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, the SG’s message was more in keeping with diplomatic style, yet similar in content: Focus on ways to end war, and desist from carrying the fight against Russia a day longer. He told Lavrov that “We are extremely interested in finding ways to create the conditions for effective dialogue, create conditions for a ceasefire as soon as possible, create conditions for a peaceful solution.” Putin in the one-on-one meeting with Guterres given the aggressiveness of his counterpart in Washington seemed guardedly receptive to allowing the UN and Red Cross to play a humanitarian role in Ukraine and seemed cautiously receptive to seeking a negotiated end to the conflict on the ground. Of course, it would be premature to have much confidence in any assessment until deeds follow words. At the same time we seem entitled to lament the failure to hear a comparable level of peace-mindedness in Biden’s public statements, which so far seem calculated to stir anti-Russian fury and war-mindedness rather than to set the stage for ending this frightening multi-level conflict.

The stark difference between the UN SG’s approach and that of the geopolitical leadership of the world, should make many persons dedicated to a better future initiate a campaign to set the UN free from its Charter framework that accords primacy explicit primacy to its geopolitical actors.

Concluding Observation

Unraveling the intertwined nature of these three levels of conflict bound up in the ambiguities of the Ukraine War is crucial for an understanding of its complexity and to analyze whether responses and proposals are of service to the general betterment of humanity. It also facilitates the identification of unresponsive policies and proposals that hearken back to the days when matters of war and peace could be left to the discretion of politicians guided by neither ethics nor prudence, but rather have risen to power because they serve the material interests of elites in the private sector. On this basis, I believe that two overriding assessments emerge from an examination of the current interplay of forces in these Ukraine wars: stop the killing by all means available and unconditionally repudiate the Geopolitical War.

A Nordic Initiative for Peace in Ukraine and Lasting World Peace


A proposal by Fredrik S. Heffermehl in Transcend Media Service

To: The Honorable Prime Ministers of the five Nordic countries: Magdalena Anderson, Mette Frederiksen, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Sanna Marin, and Jonas Gahr Støre

Oslo, 27 April, 2022 – The war in Ukraine once again shows that the world is like a city with brutal gangs constantly roaming the streets, looting and fighting with loads of heavy weapons. No one will ever feel safe in such a city. The same applies at the international level. No amount of weaponry can make us safe. No country will be safe until also neighboring countries can feel safe. The present international system is broken; to avoid future wars we need deep reforms.

Fredrik S. Heffermehl

Once again, now in Ukraine, we have seen that arms cannot prevent war. We should not, in the present state of shock, expand or prolong the militarist traditions that guarantee eternal war and, in the nuclear age, a constant risk of annihilation. Our recommendation is that the five Nordic countries together take an initiative to activate the UN goals of global democracy and collective security. In a renewed UN, the member nations should act in loyal co-operation and take their charter obligations seriously. A most promising step here was yesterday´s resolution in the General Assembly curbing the Security Council veto.

A way out of stalled negotiations can be a major shift of perspective or arena. Mindful that Mikhail Gorbachev called for a disarmament race, and Vladimir Putin has repeatedly proposed a law-based international order, it seems to us that an end to the Ukraine war might be reached by making it part of ending the wider, geopolitical war between the US and Russia.

Fear of US expansion does, of course, not justify Russia´s attack on Ukraine. And yet, it is troubling that the US, with a 40% share of the world’s military budgets and 97% of the military bases abroad, seems to be seeking more influence. The Nordic countries should carefully consider whether four US bases (Norway), NATO membership (Finland, Sweden), further arms purchases (all), will improve their security. Only a year ago the outgoing US president released an attack on Congress. The US power of coercive diplomacy is waning. It is imperative to take the time necessary to thoroughly evaluate the developing world situation and the legitimacy and dangers of taking irreversible steps to increase US power.

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Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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Facing a stream of global crises, humanity can no longer afford wars. We need to cooperate, build solidarity and trust with effective, common enforcement of international law. Instead of complicity in future war crimes, how much more tempting must it not be to instead engineer a Nordic initiative to realize the collective security provisions of the UN Charter?

The Nordic countries enjoy trust and credibility in the world. They are particularly well positioned for an initiative to empower the Security Council and enable it to fulfill its responsibility for maintaining peace. This will require nations to transfer a part of their sovereignty, which Norway and Denmark already have prepared for.* Instead of more NATO, the world urgently needs to unite across all borders, ethnic and religious divisions, political and economic systems, to rebuild, empower and recommit to the United Nations, build peace, and reallocate the expenditures for war to serve the needs of people and nature.

With reverent greetings,

Fredrik S. Heffermehl, Oslo


We agree in the essence and would welcome a Nordic peace initiative:

Richard Falk, Santa Barbara

Bruce Kent, London

Tomas Magnusson, Gothenburg

Mairead Maguire, Belfast

David Swanson, Virginia

Alfred de Zayas, Geneva

Jan Öberg, Lund

Hans Christof von Sponeck,

Klaus Schlichtmann, Tokyo

* Two of the Nordic countries already have provisions enabling such transfers of power in their constitutions, Denmark (§ 20), and Norway (§ 115). Similar provisions have also been adopted by Austria (§ 9), Belgium (§ 25), Germany (§ 24), Greece (§ 28), Italy (§ 11), Portugal (§ 7), Spain (§ 93). In Asia: India (§ 51), and Japan (§ 9).

Ukraine on Fire (2016 Documentary)


A documentary film by Oliver Stone as described in transcend media service

Here is the trailer from the documentary film by Oliver Stone, Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer, about the history of Ukraine, what happened in Kiev in 2014, and the role of western media and USA in what happened on Maidan. The film was made in 2016 but only made public this year on March 5.

Frame from the video

Description from IMDB: Ukraine. Across its eastern border is Russia and to its west-Europe. For centuries, it has been at the center of a tug-of-war between powers seeking to control its rich lands and access to the Black Sea. 2014’s Maidan Massacre triggered a bloody uprising that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and painted Russia as the perpetrator by Western media. But was it? “Ukraine on Fire” by Igor Lopatonok provides a historical perspective for the deep divisions in the region which lead to the 2004 Orange Revolution, 2014 uprisings, and the violent overthrow of democratically elected Yanukovych.

Frame from the video

Covered by Western media as a people’s revolution, it was in fact a coup d’état scripted and staged by nationalist groups and the U.S. State Department. Investigative journalist Robert Parry reveals how U.S.-funded political NGOs and media companies have emerged since the 80s replacing the CIA in promoting America’s geopolitical agenda abroad.

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Question related to this article:
Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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Frame from the video

The film documents a leaked discussion between Victoria Nuland, US State Dept Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine in which they discuss how to create a government friendly to the US. (The full conversation is available here on a different Youtube video.

Frame from the video

Of particular relevance to today’s war in the Ukraine is the following dialogue in the film between Oliver Stone and Vladimir Putin:

OS. NATO has now expanded into 13 more countries.

VP. Why do we react so vehemently to NATO’s expansion? When a country becomes a member of NATO, it can’t resist pressure from the U.S.A. Soon, anything can appear in the country, missile defense systems, new bases, new missile strike systems. What should we do?

Russian Nobel Laureate Muratov Doused With Red Paint By Unknown Attacker


An article from Radio Free Europe (Copyright (c)2020 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.)

Dmitry Muratov, the editor in chief of one of Russia’s leading independent newspapers, Novaya gazeta, said he was attacked by an assailant who threw a mixture of red paint and acetone on him.

(Editor’s note: So far Muratov has avoided assassination, but when he received the Nobel Peace Prize last year, he said the prize was for his colleagues at Novaya Gazeta who had been assassinated: “for Yuri Shchekochikhin, it’s for Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya, it’s for Nastya Baburova, it’s for Natalia Estemirova, for Stas Markelov,” he told Russian media. “It is that of those who died defending the right of people to freedom of speech.”)

A photo of Muratov posted by the newspaper on Telegram showed his head, shirt, hands, and arms covered in red paint.

Muratov, co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize with Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, was on a train bound from Moscow to Samara on April 7  when the attack occurred.

A photo of Muratov posted by the newspaper on Telegram showed his head, shirt, hands, and arms covered in red paint.

Muratov said the attacker shouted, “Muratov, here’s to you for our boys.”

He told the new European edition of Novaya gazeta about the attack, saying that his eyes were burning badly

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Question(s) related to this article:

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

The courage of Mordecai Vanunu and other whistle-blowers, How can we emulate it in our lives?

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Novaya gazeta, a leading independent Russian newspaper, suspended operations  last month after it said it received warnings from Russian authorities.

The newspaper said it had been warned twice by Roskomnadzor, meaning the state communications regulator was open to pursue closing the independent outlet down through legal action.

Earlier on April 7, journalists from Novaya gazeta who fled Russia amid the ongoing crackdown on independent reporting said they have launched  a new media outlet that aims to cover news and developments in Russia and around the world in Russian and several other languages.

Kirill Martynov, the former editor of Novaya gazeta’s unit on political issues, will be the editor in chief of Novaya gazeta Europe, the publication said in a statement on its website.

“We know that we have readers around the world who are waiting for verified information,” the statement said.

“That is why we, Novaya gazeta journalists who were forced to leave their country because of a de facto occupational ban being in put into effect, are pleased to announce that we have launched Novaya gazeta Europe — an outlet that shares our values and standards.”

The statement did not say where the newspaper would be based.

Russia has placed strict limits on how media can describe the war Moscow launched in Ukraine. According to the regulator, media must follow official government communications only for what Moscow calls a “special military operation.” Usage of the words “war” or “invasion” with regard to the fighting in Ukraine is banned.

In early March, President Vladimir Putin signed into a law legislation that punishes those who distribute what is deemed “false information about the Russian Army” in their reports about Ukraine, with a prison sentence of as much as 15 years.

Several other Russian media outlets have already opted for suspending operations rather than face heavy restrictions on what they can report, and the Kremlin has also blocked multiple foreign news outlets, including RFE/RL.