On 11 and 12 July, the NATO summit will take place in Vilnius. The summit will discuss, among other things, the war in Ukraine and nuclear deterrence and defence. The North Atlantic Treaty that is the basis of NATO begins with the words, “The parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments.”
This opinion piece advocates seeking a peaceful solution to end the war in Ukraine. According to Reuters news agency, leaked documents from the United States show that 354,000 Ukrainian and Russian soldiers have already been killed or wounded in the war in Ukraine. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that from Russia’s invasion to 18 June, there have been 24,862 civilian casualties: 9,083 killed and 15,779 wounded. 6.3 million people have fled Ukraine and 17 million are in humanitarian need, according to the UNHCR.
If NATO really wants to live in peace with all peoples and all governments, it would be wise to support mediation efforts by states that want to mediate to end the war in Ukraine. For instance, China has offered to mediate, a delegation of African leaders was in Ukraine and Moscow, and recently Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi visited the Ukrainian president and Moscow as the Pope’s envoy. NATO countries can ask both the Ukrainian president and the mediating countries what they can do to contribute so that mediation efforts succeed. The longer the war goes on, the more difficult it becomes to find a peaceful solution. Another important point is that NATO and Russia’s nuclear deterrent risks are in danger of becoming unmanageable. The mutiny of the Wagner forces in Russia has raised fears of an internal civil war in Russia. Apart from the number of casualties this would cause, there was also the question of what would then happen to the nuclear weapons. The storming of the Capitol in the United States in 2021 by supporters of Trump was also a major concern.
In addition to the risk of what happens to nuclear weapons in the case of internal mutiny, there are also major concerns when it comes to what happens if a nuclear war breaks out between the United States and Russia. The Future of Life Institute recently launched a video on this issue, stating that about five billion people would perish from starvation due to the nuclear winter that sets in after a nuclear war. Apart from the horrors themselves during nuclear war. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons should be signed by the Netherlands and all other countries in the world. There are already 92 signatories. Furthermore, I call for the Zaporizja nuclear power plant to be left untouched and for the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency to be followed.
In short, it is high time to stop the suffering of people in Ukraine and help Ukraine and Russia find a peaceful solution. Additionally, all countries should sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Let us cherish life. Hopefully, there will soon be a Ukraine – and a world – where all children can play.
May-May Meijer, founder Peace SOS
This article was published in Dutch on the website of Joop, BNN Vara. See this link.
This article was initially translated via DeepL, final editing was done by our corrector.