WASHINGTON — We stand with the people of Ukraine. As communities that have suffered the Holodomor and the Armenian Genocide as well as aggression by neighboring countries, the Ukrainian and Armenian people have much in common. We categorically call for the cessation of the invasion of Ukraine and an end to the war. Throughout the decades, we have worked side by side with like-minded organizations advocating for U.S. support for the fledgling democracies of Armenia and Ukraine. We also recall that it was Ukrainian General Anatoly Zinevich who fought alongside the Armenian people when Artsakh was defending itself against foreign aggressors in the 1990s. He, like so many Ukrainians today, are heroes in the defense of freedom and democracy. We are proud of Ukrainian Armenians who are fighting to preserve their independence and human rights.
Unfortunately, Ukrainian governments historically have been the source of weapons and other support used by the Aliyev regime against the Armenian people that took the lives of innocent civilians. Like other threatened populations that are forcibly prevented from exercising freedom, we must ensure that the horrors of the past are not repeated. We hope that current and future governments will learn from these experiences. Had the world acted to stop autocrats like Aliyev and Erdoğan in Azerbaijan’s brutal and unprovoked war against the Armenian people in 2020, when cluster munitions were used and when schools, hospitals and churches were bombed – causing countless civilian casualties – or had the international community sounded the alarm when Azerbaijan used a thermobaric weapon (vacuum bomb) against Armenian civilians in 2016, today’s wanton destruction in Ukraine may have been avoided.
Freedom and democracy are shared values that we hold dear, and we will continue to advocate for them. As a diaspora, we know the importance and power of our collective voices. Together, we stand in solidarity with the international community in calling for this war to end and for democracy to be respected.