Government and civil society can take immediate action to break the dynamic of violence and build a more sustainable just peace in Ukraine.

By Eli S. McCarthy, Waging Nonviolence

The war in Ukraine is a human and ecological catastrophe. We have failed to create the social conditions for the prevention of large-scale violence. We have failed to escape the cycle of threats, blame and retribution that escalates hostility and distrust. We have failed to acknowledge the relevant root causes and responsibility for harm from key stakeholders. We have failed to engage in diplomacy that prioritizes the dignity and human needs of the key stakeholders, with a willingness to compromise, and a focus on saving lives. We have failed to adequately train people in nonviolent conflict, resistance and civilian-based defense. We cannot afford to make these mistakes again.

Yet, despite all these failures, there are still signs of hope. A variety of creative, courageous, nonviolent ways of resistance are being activated and could be scaled up by Ukrainians and others.

Person holding a jar of Ukraine fag colored flowers in a peaceful protest against the russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainians have been blocking convoys and tanks, and standing their ground even with warning shots fired in multiple towns. In Berdyansk and Kulykіvka people organized peace rallies and convinced the Russian military to get out. Hundreds protested the abduction of a mayor, and there have been protests in Kherson against becoming a breakaway state. Ukrainians have fraternized with Russian soldiers to lower their morale and stimulate defections. There’s been humanitarian assistance (with Orthodox priests stepping up as escorts) and caring for displaced persons by the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.

Read More