By Porter Anderson, Editor | @Porter_Anderson
Appeal by Ukrainian publishers: “Condemn Russian aggression”
On Thursday, February 24, as it became clear that Vladimir Putin had indeed ordered Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Oleksander Afonin, Chairman of the Ukrainian Association of Publishers and Booksellerswrote to the International Publishers Association (IPA) in Geneva.
The Ukrainian Association is a full member organization of the IPA, whose membership currently spans 71 nations. the Russian Book Union is registered as a provisional member of the API.
Afonin’s appeal to his colleagues On Thursday, the world organization called on IPA members to “find ways and tools to condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and support the Ukrainian people in this difficult time of the fight against the aggressor. world”. His letter lists a series of legal and financial sanctions, many of which have been imposed – or are being discussed – by the NATO alliance, the European Union and other countries.
“We call on the global community to fight against war,” Afonin writes, calling for solidarity and pressure on local governments for sanctions. It warns against Russian disinformation, and indeed Facebook reported on Sunday that it disrupted “a Russian disinformation operation targeting Ukraine”, by Elizabeth Dwoskin’s report for the Washington Post today.
Today IPA General Secretary José Borghino replied to Afonin and the members of the Ukrainian association, and we have received a copy of this letter, so that we can have it here in its entirety for you :
“Thank you for your open letter of February 24. I am deeply saddened by what happened in Ukraine and I pray that you, your family, your friends and all our fellow publishers of the Ukrainian Association of Publishers and Booksellers have been able to find relative safety. I have been in touch with your son, Andrew, who has told me that you and your wife are safe at the moment but food is scarce and you are sleeping in air-raid shelters. most nights.
“In replying to you, I convey to you your call for support to all IPA membersand I know many are already looking to find ways to support you.
“We condemn this criminal Russian invasion in the strongest possible terms. The IPA was founded with the intention of supporting peace. Our first president, Georges Masson, said at our inaugural convention in 1896 that ‘the first International Congress of Publishers… is one of many gatherings whose object is to multiply peaceful relations between nations, by encouraging the visible tendency of peoples to unite more and more by a community of interest. Nothing in the next 125 years has changed that position.
“Our current President, Bodour Al Qasimi, has also asked me to share the following statement on behalf of the IPA: “The IPA stands in solidarity with publishers at risk around the world and, especially at this time, with our member in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Association of Publishers and Booksellers. We are following developments and discussing how the IPA can be of most benefit to our members. In times of peace, books have a powerful unifying force. In times of conflict, books are even more important for inspiring hope, supporting reconciliation and cementing peace.
“All our Ukrainian colleagues are in our thoughts, and I hope peace will be restored very soon. I look forward to spending time with all of you in Kyiv, at the Arsenal Book Festival or visiting the house of Mikhail Bulgakov We send you our hopes, our solidarity and our love.
As this article is being prepared
Even though increasingly powerful coordinated international sanctions seem to be having an impact on Russia – in Moscow, The New York Times’ Anton Troyanovsky confirms that the Russian stock market had to close today because the value of the ruble “cratered” –Zachary Basu at Axios echoes messages from the Ukrainian Armed Forces Command that Kharkiv, the second city, is being bombed by Russia.
US and UK military analysts say it appears the Russians are using cluster bombs, designed for widespread lethality.
Sunita Patel-Carstairs of Sky News writes that the news from Kharkiv does not look good, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry Anton Herashchenko in social media speaks of “tens of dead and hundreds of injured”, even as talks are underway near the Belarusian border. Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky has made it clear that he has little hope for these talks and demands an immediate ceasefire and a full Russian withdrawal from Ukraine. The Associated Press has reports of at least 44 people injured, and warns that at this point it is unclear how many of the casualties – injured or dead – are civilians.
Also of note: Switzerland, home to the API offices, has circumvented its usual neutrality, as Alexandra Ma at Business Intern as reportedannouncing today that he will freeze Russian financial assets in the country.
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