Press release

Freedom House Honors Ukrainian Independence, Calls on International Community to Stand against Kremlin Aggression

As Ukrainians commemorate their independence day, the nation continues to hold the front line in a global struggle between democracy and authoritarianism.

On the anniversary of Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, which falls six months after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces, Freedom House president Michael J. Abramowitz issued the following statement:

“Since Ukraine gained its independence 31 years ago, activists in the country have fought tirelessly to reform and strengthen their democracy. Six months into the Russian regime’s unprovoked and inhumane war against its democratic neighbor, I am overwhelmed by the bravery with which Ukrainians continue to fight for their sovereignty and their fundamental right to peace, security, and independence.

“The Russian armed forces’ ongoing atrocities in Ukraine—including their indiscriminate bombardment of population centers and their abduction and torture of civilians, Ukrainian government officials, journalists, and activists in newly occupied regions of the country—are an outrage that should harden the free world’s determination to resist authoritarian aggression. Among other forms of aid, Freedom House calls on democratic governments and international organizations to sustain and strengthen their support for Ukraine through continued assistance for the human rights defenders and citizens who are engaged in the vital wartime work of monitoring and reporting on human rights violations, collecting evidence of war crimes, and providing legal, psychological, and social support to those affected by this illegal and unjust invasion. We also applaud efforts on Capitol Hill to build on existing sanctions by seizing the frozen assets of those who have perpetrated and enabled this war, and directing them toward reconstruction efforts in Ukraine.

“Freedom House stands with the Ukrainian people and defenders of Ukrainian independence. This is the moment for democracies to show the world that they will not allow despots like Vladimir Putin to threaten the sovereignty of free nations or expand authoritarian rule with impunity. If this war does not end in defeat for the Kremlin, it will have dire implications for the future of democracy, human rights, and the rules-based order that has guided international relations since the end of World War II. We all have a vital interest in ensuring that the cause of freedom prevails in Ukraine.”

Freedom House is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to create a world where all are free. We inform the world about threats to freedom, mobilize global action, and support democracy’s defenders.