Human Rights First Condemns Renewed Russian Invasion of Ukraine, Calls for Targeted Sanctions on Corrupt and Abusive Officials
WASHINGTON D.C. – In response to the Russian government’s decision to recognize two regions of Ukraine as independent states, Human Rights First condemned Russia’s dangerous actions as a deepening and profoundly unjustified invasion of a sovereign country.
Though unconfirmed, a U.S. government allegation of Russian plans to abduct or kill Ukrainian activists, journalists, and human rights defenders was one of many alarming indications that an expanded Russian invasion of Ukraine would be disastrous for human rights.
“Yesterday’s actions were a deplorable escalation of the Putin government’s years-long campaign to undermine Ukraine’s democratic institutions,” said Human Rights First President and CEO Mike Breen. “The United States and other governments should continue to join the Ukrainian and Russian voices that have condemned this authoritarian assault on a fragile democracy.
“It’s also long past time for the United States and other democracies to stop allowing our economies to provide fertile ground for the sustainment of rancid kleptocratic regimes. The unchecked presence of corrupt Russian money in key Western economies has fueled this crisis. It has emboldened and sustained the Putin regime, tied the hands and blunted the credibility of policymakers who sought to use diplomacy to deter Russia from acting on its threats.
“Civil society advocates in the region and the United States have long called for more of Russia’s corrupt oligarchs and abusive senior officials to be excluded from Western markets using Global Magnitsky sanctions and other tools. The U.S., the United Kingdom, the European Union, and their partners should immediately take that step.”