“Russia Has No Intention to Occupy Ukraine”
– Russian Ambassador Galuzin, Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, February 25, 2022
Since Russia’s soon-to-be-departing Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Yurievich Galuzin last appeared at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in February and promised that Russia did not intend to occupy Ukraine, here’s what has happened: Russian forces have killed over 6,000 Ukrainian civilians, including children. Moscow has bombed hundreds of hospitals, schools, and churches. Russia’s military has tortured, mutilated, and raped Ukrainian citizens and looted Ukrainian homes. Putin’s attempt to illegally annex four regions of Ukraine was rejected by the vast majority of the nations of the world. Hundreds of thousands of Russia’s best and brightest are fleeing the country. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of the UN Charter, to which it is a signatory.
When Ambassador Galuzin appears again at the FCCJ, a well-established institution in democratic Japan, we the undersigned expect to see the outgoing Ambassador answer for Russia’s war in Ukraine. We hope to see the Ambassador deal with, at a minimum, the five broad sets of issues below – and his answers need to be honest and factually-accurate. Unlike how the Kremlin treats the Russian public, deception and disinformation are not accepted at the FCCJ. Free and open societies such as ours expect more than how the Russian government treats its own people.
- The Russian government has claimed this war is aimed at the de-Nazification of Ukraine and its president (who happens to be Jewish). These allegations are completely unfounded and are an insult to the victims of Nazism.
- The Russian president claims that the Russian army doesn’t target civilians, but the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported 6,430 Ukrainian civilian deaths, including 402 children. The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine has documented Russian atrocities as “vast” and included torture, widespread rape, and violence against children. Civilians were slaughtered in Bucha, Mariupol, and other cities, and mass graves have been found throughout the country. We reiterate that those responsible for these war crimes will be held accountable in front of international tribunals.
- Russia wanted to keep NATO in a box, but Finland and Sweden have now applied to join. Russia wanted to be part of Europe, but the EU is cutting off all business and investment with Russia. Russia’s own economy ministry reported that Russia’s economy shrunk by 5% this year, and Russia will never be seen again as a reliable energy supplier. Russia wanted to demonstrate its status as a superpower, but now is dependent upon Iran and North Korea for military hardware. Russia attempted to illegally annex four regions of Ukraine that their military didn’t even hold, but the UN General Assembly voted 143-5 in opposition – the five votes in favor being Russia, Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Belarus.
- In January 2022, Russia signed a Joint Statement with the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states, agreeing that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Yet since then, Putin has openly discussed the use of tactical nuclear weapons throughout the war, and is holding a nuclear power plant hostage in order to terrorize the population. Civilized countries do not view a nuclear holocaust in such cavalier terms. Russia said it had no intention of occupying Ukraine, but it did. Russia said nuclear weapons should never be used, but is openly discussing it. Words count, and the integrity of Russia’s words are being challenged.
- It has been well-documented that over 300,000 of Russia’s best and brightest young people are fleeing the country as fast as they can, to Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Serbia, and dozens of other countries. These young Russians can see the future, and they recognize that Putin’s vision of a totalitarian Russia is both desperate and futile. Far from the technological/economic/military superpower that it desired to be, this brain drain is turning Russia into a simple and unreliable gas and oil economy.
The international community remains united in its condemnation of Russia’s unprovoked and illegal war on Ukraine. Putin’s mouthpieces – whether they are serving as Moscow’s ambassador to Japan or in any other capacity around the world – must not be allowed to spread their falsehoods any longer.
Ambassador of the United States of America
Ambassador of the European Union
Ambassador of the Republic of Albania
Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of Australia
Ambassador of the Republic of Austria
Roxane de Bilderling
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium
Marieta Arabadjieva de Descalzi
Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria
Ian G. McKay
Ambassador of Canada
Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia
Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus
Ambassador of the Czech Republic
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark
Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia
Ambassador of Finland
Ambassador of France
Ambassador of the Federated States of Micronesia
Clemens von Goetze
Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany
Ambassador of Greece
Stefán Haukur Jóhannesson
Ambassador of Iceland
Ambassador of Ireland
Ambassador of Italy
Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo
Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia
Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania
Ambassador of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
Ambassador of the Republic of Malta
Peter van der Vliet
Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Ambassador of New Zealand
Ambassador of the Republic of North Macedonia
Inga M.W. Nyhamar
Ambassador of Norway
Ambassador of the Republic of Palau
Ambassador of the Republic of Poland
Ambassador of Portugal
Alexander Carter Bing
Ambassador of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Ambassador of Romania
Ambassador of the Republic of San Marino
Ambassador of the Slovak Republic
Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Republic of Slovenia
Ambassador of Spain
Ambassador of Sweden
Ambassador of the United Kingdom
Ambassador of Ukraine