Soyinka, other Nobel laureates call for end of Russia/Ukraine conflict

Wole Soyinka

Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and 164 others have called on Russia to withdraw its military forces in Ukraine.

The group said in an open letter published in The Economist magazine on Thursday that conflicts can be resolved in peaceful ways.

About one million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24. On the ninth day of the invasion, Russian shelling allegedly set the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant ablaze.

“We join in condemning these military actions and President Putin’s essential denial of the legitimacy of Ukraine’s existence,” the group said.

“The Russian invasion blatantly violates the United Nations Charter, which says ‘All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.’ It ignores the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, which obligated Russia and others to respect the sovereignty, independence, and existing borders of Ukraine,” the laureates added.

They noted that the death of soldiers and civilians, including children, is “so sad, so unnecessary.”

They said Putin’s ‘unprovoked military aggression’ against Ukraine recalls the infamous attack of Nazi Germany on Poland in 1939 (using similar tricks of feigned provocation) and on the Soviet Union in 1941, the government of the Russian Federation.

“We choose our words carefully here, for we do not believe the Russian people have a role in this aggression,” the authors said, noting that “the Russian invasion will stain the international reputation of the Russian state for decades to come.”

Under the leadership of the United States, Western nations have imposed multiple sanctions on Russia, Putin, his cabinet members and allies.