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Declaration of PEN International’s Writers for Peace Committee on the Russian Federations’ war against Ukraine


‘We, members of PEN International’s Writers for Peace Committee, once again urge the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally end their devastating war against Ukraine. The Russian Federation’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine is a violation of international law and a brazen disregard of international norms. It must not be allowed to escalate. 

Ukrainians are subjects of their own history. The Writers for Peace Committee expresses its full solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they fight for their freedom.

Summary executions of civilians and prisoners of war, enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, conflict-related sexual violence, forced deportations and transfer of Ukrainian civilians – including thousands of children – to the Russian Federation, all these actions amount to war crimes. 

We welcome the warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, for the war crime of forcible transfer of children. 

We urge that further arrest warrants be issued by the ICC as its investigations into crimes committed by the Russian forces unfold. The States Parties to the Rome Statute should do everything in their power to ensure that Putin and Lvova-Belova are arrested and brought to trial immediately. 

We strongly condemn the threats to the lives and safety of all civilians in Ukraine, including writers and journalists, resulting from the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, and urge the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those held solely for peacefully expressing their views. 

We are alarmed at the scale of destruction and looting of Ukraine’s invaluable cultural heritage by Russian forces and stand with the many artists and cultural actors who continue their work in the face of adversity. The international community must support Ukraine in documenting such attacks and seek restitution and restoration. 

Nuclear threats are unacceptable. Accountability for war crimes is crucial. All those responsible must be brought to justice immediately.’

PEN International’s Writers for Peace Committee has repeatedly called on the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally end its devastating war against Ukraine, including through a Resolution on the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, adopted at PEN International’s 88th annual Congress in Uppsala, Sweden, in September 2022 and a statement marking a year of war crimes and resolve in Ukraine, issued on 23 February 2023.