Europe is “openly threatened”, according to 350 cultural leaders who are mobilizing against Russian “aggression”

Cultural icons get involved in the latest threat to peace in Eastern Europe.

As EU chief Ursula von der Leyen warns that Russia will face ‘serious consequences’ in the event of military aggression against Ukraine, the arts community is speaking out with a open letter.

More than 350 authors and artists, some of whom have international profiles, signed a letter opposing any form of military threat from Russia against Ukraine.

“We call on political leaders to resolutely oppose Putin’s aggression. We support dialogue with Russia, but demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s borders,” said the statement initiated by the authorities. artists Wolf and Pamela Biermann, German film actor Burgardt Klaußner and Berlin International Literature Festival director, Ulrich Schreiber.

Other illustrious signatories are the Romanian-born German novelist Herta Müller who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009, the British novelist Ian McEwan and the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

McEwan’s UK publicist confirmed the signing but told Euronews the writer had no further comment.

“We cannot silently accept the fact that, more than eighty years after the Munich agreements, Europe is again openly threatened with an invasion of foreign and sovereign territories,” the statement continued.

“We support dialogue with Russia, but demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s borders. Our solidarity and respect goes out to all democratic fighters in Ukraine, Belarus – as well as in Russia itself. “

Ulrich Schreiber has ties to both Ukraine and Russia: in addition to directing the Berlin Literature Festival, he has directed the Odessa version since 2015 and he studied in the Soviet Union in the late 1970s.

“Every action, letter, statement, demonstration changes the world. Some actions more, some less,” Schreiber told Euronews, adding that the letter had been translated into Ukrainian and Russian and sent to media outlets in both countries. .

The United States says Russia has mustered more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border and warned it might invade.

Moscow has denied wanting a war and said NATO expansion near its borders posed a threat to national security. It therefore demands a promise that Ukraine – once part of the Soviet Union – will never join the transatlantic military alliance.

The open culture letter was initiated by German artists and follows the banning of German media by Russian authorities.

The European Union has criticized Russia for closing the Moscow offices of German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

It was thought to be retaliation by the Russian authorities after a German media regulator banned the Russian channel, Russia Today. Watch the Euronews report below.

Meanwhile, in Washington, US officials said a plan for a fake attack on Russian territory or Russian-speaking people had been described in declassified intelligence shared with Ukrainian officials and European allies in recent days.

It was the latest example of the Biden administration disclosing intelligence findings as a tactic to stop Russian disinformation efforts and foil what it says is Putin’s attempt to lay the groundwork for military action. However, some have questioned the veracity of the US claims due to their reluctance to provide concrete evidence.

Russian officials have dismissed the allegations, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaking of the “absurdity” of the allegations.

Meanwhile, the first contingent of 1,700 US troops arrived in Poland over the weekend, following US President Joe Biden’s pledge to send military support to Europe earlier in January.

At the same time, Russia sent two long-range nuclear-capable bombers on patrol over its Belarusian ally in what the Kremlin said was a hands-on interaction with the Belarusian air force.

Helen D. Jessen