To Mr. Pascal Pétry, Deputy Administrator-General of the State Security Service,
Mr. De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium,
Mr, Van Quickenborne Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and the North Sea,
Mr. Di Rupo, Ministre-Président de la Wallonie and
Mr. Jambon, Prime Minister of the Flemish Government,
We are writing to you on behalf of the NGO Promote Ukraine, based and registered in Brussels, Belgium, since 2014. Since 24 February 2022, when Russia brutally attacked Ukraine, we created the Coordination Centre for Ukraine covering a broad scope of activities from humanitarian aid to refugee support, from media relations to advocacy work. Promote Ukraine is also a key civil society organisation represented in the Ukrainian Hub hosted by the European Parliament (https://www.ukrainianhub.eu/).
In our capacity as advocates for Ukraine, as well as representatives of Ukrainian civil society, we are conducting bilateral meetings with Brussels-based international organisations (i.e. EU and NATO) as well as their members’ representations, missions, and embassies on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and possible response according to the mandate of each respective authority.
We are aware that the war in our country has been a major concern for Belgium and are grateful for the support provided to Ukrainians in Ukraine and in Belgium in the last months.
We are, however, gravely concerned by:
- a manifestation in support of the illegal occupation of Ukraine that took place in Durbuy on 12 July 2022;
- the activity of the Head of the self-proclaimed `Representative Center of the DNR in Belgium` Kris Roman; and
- a manifestation ‘in support of the children of Donbas’ that took place in front of NATO HQ in Brussels on 4 April 2023
which we hereby bring to your attention and further comment on.
Donetsk and Luhansk are officially a part of Ukraine while temporarily controlled by Russia-backed armed formations, which are terrorist organisations. The Parliament of Ukraine has already called on the European Parliament, the NATO PA, the PACE, the national parliaments, and the governments of the EU member states, the USA, Canada, Japan, and Australia to include the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) and other similar formations to the list of terrorist organisations.
The same goes for the Russian Federation; the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as well as a number of EU member states – Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Slovakia – have already designated Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” (https://24tv.ua/rosiya-derzhava-terorist-yaki-krayini-viznali-chomu-ssha-sloveniya_n2275389). Therefore, any activity in support of Russian illegal administrations in the temporarily occupied territories promotes terrorism. Given the painful history of terrorist attacks in Belgium, we call for the Belgian Government and the police to take preventive measures and prohibit any activity which promotes terrorism.
The illegal manifestation in Durbuy was organised by a Head of the self-proclaimed `Representative Center of the DNR in Belgium` Kris Roman. The participants of the demonstration displayed flags of the terrorist organisation, so-called `DNR`, and the symbolics of the military invasion of the Russian neo-Nazi totalitarian regime in Ukraine -`Z`. Meanwhile, the manifestation in front of NATO HQ was a platform to spread the narrative of Russian propaganda and therefore justify and legitimize Russian aggression against Ukraine. Similar to the manifestation in Durbuy, the organizers were voicing support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and displaying the symbolics that propagates aggression and terrorism. Later, the demonstration in front of NATO was described by the RussiaToday as ‘a demonstration of European activists against the NATO Alliance and in support of the children of Donbas killed by Ukrainian soldiers’. We attach in the annex some screenshots from social media to prove these facts.
Henceforth, on behalf of all Ukrainian civil society, we call on the Belgian Government:
- to follow suit of Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Moldova, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, and Ukraine and prohibit the usage of symbols that support Russian aggression against Ukraine, including the Georgian ribbon and Lattin letters `V` and `Z`.
2. to forbid the activity of the organisation `Representative Center of the DNR in Belgium` as well as any future demonstrations organised by Kris Roman.
According to the information from the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, in order to legitimize pseudo-referendums in the international arena, the Russians were preparing “independent observers” from the EU (https://gur.gov.ua/en/content/pidhotovka-rosiian-do-provedennia-psevdoreferendumiv-na-tymchasovo-okupovanykh-terytoriiakh-ukrainy-tryvaie.html). Russia intended to invite Kris Roman as the “independent observer” from Belgium to legitimize pseudo-referendums.
Ukrainian civil society urges the Belgian Government to be cautious of spreading Russian propaganda and respond to the rising challenges accordingly. Unchallenged, these narratives transmitted by Russia undermine the principles of freedom and democracy, urging terrorism, separatism, and hate speech in Ukraine and all over Europe.
We believe that together we can stand for democratic values of freedom and tolerance while building a democratic, free, and peaceful Europe.
Founder and Chairwoman
NGO Promote Ukraine
On behalf of Ukrainian civil society in Belgium and
Ukrainian Hub hosted by the European Parliament