Members of the Society will know of the striking prehistoric archaeology of Ukraine, not least the Trypillia mega-sites investigated by Ukrainian colleagues such as Aleksey Korvin-Piotrovskiiy, Myhailo Videiko and Aleksander Diachenko, as well as German colleague from the University of Kiel (Johannes Müller, Robert Hofmann and René Ohlrau) and Durham University (John Chapman, Bisserka Gaydarska and Marco Nebbia). We are collectively and individually appalled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and wish to draw the Society’s attention to an open letter signed by hundreds of Russian scientists against the war (LINK to Russian original), forwarded by Paolo Biagi and sent by John Chapman and Bisserka Gaydarska.
We, Russian scientists and scientific journalists, strongly protest against the hostilities launched by the armed forces of our country on the territory of Ukraine. This fatal step leads to huge losses of human life and undermines the foundations of the established system of international security. The responsibility for unleashing a new war in Europe lies entirely with Russia.
There is no rational justification for this war. Attempts to use the situation in Donbass as a pretext for launching a military operation are not credible. It is clear that Ukraine does not pose a threat to the security of our country. The war against it is unfair and, frankly, senseless.
Ukraine has been, and remains, a country close to us. Many of us have relatives, friends and colleagues living in Ukraine. Our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought together against Nazism. Unleashing a war for the sake of the geopolitical ambitions of the leadership of the Russian Federation, driven by dubious historiosophical fantasies, is a cynical betrayal of their memory.
We respect Ukrainian statehood, which is based on really working democratic institutions. We treat the European choice of our neighbours with understanding. We are convinced that all problems in relations between our countries can be resolved peacefully.
Having unleashed the war, Russia has condemned itself to international isolation, to the position of a pariah country. This means that we scientists will no longer be able to do our work properly: scientific research is inconceivable without full cooperation with colleagues from other countries. The isolation of Russia from the world means a further cultural and technological degradation of our country, in the complete absence of positive prospects. War with Ukraine is a step to nowhere.
We are bitterly aware that our country, which made a decisive contribution to the victory over Nazism, has now become the instigator of a new war on the European continent. We demand an immediate halt to all military operations directed against Ukraine. We demand respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state. We demand peace for our countries.
In addition, Marie-Louise Sørensen has forwarded a LINK to a twitter feed which is collecting information about academic institutions that are supporting Ukraine students & academics. (e.g., several countries have announced special funds to allow Ukrainians to continue their research at new institutions).