Open letter: What needs to happen now to help Ukraine

Russia has started a full-scale war against Ukraine. Russian aviation strikes and tank shots are heard all around the country – East and West. Civilians are killed.

Wednesday, addressing the people of Russia directly, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said: ‘We want to define and build our own history. Peacefully. Calmly. Honestly… Ukrainians want peace.’

Thursday, February 24, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin declared the beginning of »a special military operation”: a full land invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign European country.

Ukrainians are defending themselves. The Ukrainian army is strong and potent; tens of thousands of civilians, men and women, are courageously taking up arms to defend their cities. But the war is not only about Ukraine. It is about Europe, the world and our common future. Ukrainians need the global community to step in and take direct actions to end the war now.

The sanctions already decided against Russia are a good beginning. But more is needed. Yesterday, Putin has threatened the world with nuclear weapons. He cannot be allowed to continue his aggression.

We, artists from Europe and around the world, are calling for the global society to fight against Putin’s crimes in Ukraine:

1. International courts must condemn Putin and adopt procedures to sentence Putin for war crimes against Ukraine.
2. Countries providing urgent military support to Ukraine must ensure it is the most useful in the current tactical situation, eg, light man-held anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons that can be deployed rapidly and effectively, not heavy weapons that will be destroyed before even reaching the battlefield. Ukraine must be assisted in getting the weapons deployed urgently.

3. Bank data and intelligence about the corrupt possessions of the political and business elites of Russia must be publicly disclosed to the Russian people.
4. Not only Russian airlines but also cargo ships, and access to European and American ports for Russian companies, should be blocked until further notice.

5. International companies based in Russia must be obliged to freeze all commercial activity there.
6. Social networks must ban any communication of the Russian government.
7. Microsoft should deny all access to its services in Russia. Western cloud companies should block all access from Russia until further notice.

8. Personal sanctions must be imposed on not only on Russian politicians and oligarchs, but also on the ranks of the senior military leadership and the senior administrative elite. Foreign money accounts of Russia should be frozen.
9. 10 Euros per barrel sanctions should be imposed on Russian oil. Europe must urgently diversify away from Russian gas, on a permanent basis.

10. Import tariffs should be imposed on agrifood commodities from Russia. Exports to Russia of agricultural production inputs (fertilizers, etc.) should be banned.

This is the list of sanctions to impose now. They will help to end the war or at least to deescalate the situation. We are calling the global community to fight against the war. We urge you for solidarity!

What you, personally, can do:
1. Demand that your government impose these sanctions immediately.
2. Distribute this or other relevant information about Putin’s crimes. Don’t be silent.
3. Do not distribute any information coming from Russian governmental, Russian-sponsored or Russia-affiliated sources. It’s disinformation.
4. Donate money to Ukrainian volunteer funds. For example, ones that help wounded soldiers.
5. Support in any way Russian civil society and Russian citizens protesting against the war.
6. Take action against this war. Wherever you can.

The undersigned:

Marina Abramović, performance artist (Serbia, Netherlands)
Michael Almereyda, filmmaker (USA)
Vitali Alekseenok, conductor and artistic director of the Munich University Orchestra (Ukraine)
Juliette Binoche, actress (France)
Candice Breitz, video and photography artist (South Africa)
Daniel Cohn-Bendit (France, Germany)
Sara Driver, filmmaker and actress (USA)
Jim Jarmusch, filmmaker, actor, screenwriter (USA)
Spike Jonze, actor, filmmaker (USA)
Ilya Khrzhanovskiy, filmmaker (Russia, Israel)
Jonathan Littell, writer and filmmaker (France, USA)
Oksana Lyniv, conductor, General Musical Director, Opera Bologna and Artistic Director of LvivMozArt Festival (Ukraine)
Kleber Mendonça Filho, filmmaker and screenwriter (Brasil)
David Michôd, filmmaker and screenwriter (Australia)
George Miller, filmmaker and screenwriter (Australia)
Marina Naprushkina, political artist and campaigner (Belarus, Germany)
Thomas Oberender, author and dramaturg (Germany)
Marlis Petersen, Soprano (Germany, Greece)
Lee Quiñones, hip hop and graffiti Artist (Puerto Rico)
Lynne Ramsay, filmmaker, screenwriter, actress (Great Britain)
Milo Rau, theater director (Switzerland)
Jochen Sandig, cultural entrepreneur and founder of four cultural institutions (Germany)
Lucy Sante, writer, critic and artist (Belgium / USA)
Michael Stipe, singer, Founder REM (USA)
Tilda Swinton, actress (Great Britain)
Nassim Taleb, essayist and mathematical statistician (Lebanon, USA)

Bla Tarr, filmmaker (Hungaria)
Sasha Waltz, choreographer and dancer (Germany) Krzysztof Warlikowski, theater and opera director (Poland) Apichatpong Weerasethakull, filmmaker (Thailand)
Thom York, singer, composer, frontman of Radiohead (Great Britain)