They reaffirmed their support for the Ukrainian people’s right to self-determination and dignity, and called on the international community to maintain a united stance in opposition to Russia’s actions, including comprehensive sanctions.
Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former Secretary-General of the United Nations, said:
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an outrageous act that demands an immediate and decisive reaction by the international community. There is no justification for this unprovoked attack on an independent state. President Putin will find himself an international pariah if he persists on this course, and civilians on both sides will pay the price for his aggression.”
The Elders warned that if military operations continue to escalate, the risk of a confrontation between Russian and NATO forces becomes ever more significant.
All parties, even at this stage, should do their utmost to keep open diplomatic channels. The crisis cannot be solved by military means. The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, together with the other fourteen members of the UN Security Council, must use all means at their disposal to encourage dialogue.
Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders, and former President of Ireland said:
“President Putin has chosen to start a war that is not in the interests of the Russian people. Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine already suffering death, injury and widespread destruction. Russia has violated not only Ukraine’s borders but the whole notion of a rules-based international order that has shaped the modern era. Given both Russia and NATO forces have nuclear weapons, the risk of a confrontation between them could carry catastrophic consequences for all humanity.”
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Chair of The Elders
Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General and Deputy Chair of The Elders
Graça Machel, Founder of the Graça Machel Trust, co-founder and Deputy Chair of The Elders
Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the WHO
Zeid Raad Al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and co-chair of the Taskforce on Justice
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Laureate
Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile
Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia and Nobel Peace Laureate
Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico
For media inquiries, please contact William French, Head of Communications (+44 7795 693903) or email: media@theElders.org