Not on Our Watch: Oppose Russia's Invasion of Ukraine and Call for Action

This is an Action of Immediate Witness that responds to the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the associated Human Rights violations as well as the deliberate destruction of Ukrainian civilization and culture. This action encourages the increased awareness by Unitarian Universalists of the need for immediate support for the Ukrainian people in their ongoing effort to defend their country, its precious democracy, from these egregious acts of genocide and tyranny and to defend democracy on behalf of Western society.

Proposed by Wendie Highsmith, Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (BVUUF) Delegate & Rev Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry, BVUUF Minister.

Whereas the 1st and 6th Principles affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person and the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all, and the United Nations Charter reflects these values in its commitment to promote peace and prosperity and dignity for all people and

Whereas Russia has proceeded with an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine with gross Human Rights Violations and the clear intent of genocide of the Ukrainian peoples, their state and culture under the assumed “right” of Russian imperialism and

Whereas 87 countries are signatories to the UN letter condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and only 4 countries joined Russia in voting against the resolution and

Therefore be it resolved that the delegates of the 2023 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Assembly commit to raising awareness in their communities to use the energy of action (and not simply “thoughts and prayers”) in support of Ukraine.

Be It Further Resolved that the Delegates urge:

  • Individual UUs make efforts to raise awareness about the issue of human rights violations by Russia including (but not limited to) mass murder of Ukrainian civilians, widespread torture, deliberate destruction of cities and infrastructure, kidnapping and removal of Ukrainian children, use of relocation camps to illegally relocate huge numbers of Ukrainians to Russia, and theft on a grand scale of Ukrainian grain and personal items.

  • Congregations to explore engaging in financial aid to known 501 C3 organizations (or others that supply humanitarian aid to Ukraine).

  • Congregations to engage in advocacy including but not limited to pressuring US Government representatives to act on policies that address ongoing human rights violations and support for Ukraine.

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I echo the question posed elsewhere–are amendments allowed to these AIWs? In addition to the solidary with Ukrainian citizens and animals enduring horrible suffering and loss of life, and the protection of democracy and self-governance, I would like this AIW to cite the nuclear and environmental risk this war poses to all of us, both through the danger of an exchange of nuclear weapons attacks, and through impacts of the war on nuclear power plants.


No—I replied in more detail in one of the other AIW discussions; they are in their final form.

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Despite the AIW not including these particular emphases, I think they are ones of which we all are or should all be aware, especially in light of the recent destruction of the Kakhovka dam. This war of aggression is already taking a horrific toll on Ukraine’s people, animals, infrastructure, and the environment, as well as draining resources from other countries who have rightly come to Ukraine’s aid as she fights for her self-determination. If this war results in use of nuclear weapons or a Chernobyl-type nuclear accident, the wanton destruction and death Ukraine is enduring will quickly rise to engulf the rest of us. In this world we live in today, no country is an island.

I am an only an alternate, but I am learning about the processes and the individual proposed AIWs as a member of my congregation and in case I need to serve as delegate. If one of the purposes of AIWs is to engage specific and ongoing action, than previous AIWs proposed on similar topics should have already set in motion continuing participation from UUs. That is why I hope to read through the list of previously accepted AIWS before making up my mind about the other AIWs, which to me all seem worthy and urgent. This one is a new topic.

This AIW rises to the top for me because (1) it is a fresh topic, so UUs have not already engaged in this cause, (2) the human rights issues are clearly spelled out, (3) in many cities, Ukrainian embassies, cultural centers, and communities exist with whom we can immediately join our efforts for direct and effective action, and (4) it is urgent and imminent beyond the horrific human and animal suffering and the violation of human rights, self-determination, and democracy that all wars of aggression entail, because it also has unimaginable potential for added consequences to the rest of the planet.

I agree–not on our watch. This AIW has my support.

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Kerry, I am one of the persons who drafted our proposal and agree with you suggestions about nuclear and environmental risks posed by the Russian invaders. It is too late to add these changes. I reviewed our UU National Office correspondence since 2/23/22 and found very little about the Russian invasion - hence our effort to mobilize UU members “energy of action” to raise awareness and funds to donate humanitarian aid (not just thoughts and prayers) to Ukraine. Our BVUUF fellowship has raised some funds that is being sent on a regular basis to friends in Zaporizhia who have a direct line to the needs of soldiers on the front line. The events unfolding in Ukraine are one of the most important current world events in the struggle to maintain democracy vs. autocracy!

Slava Ukraini!
Paul Brunson RPCV
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Ukraine (2013-15)

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@SlavaUkraini thanks, that is troubling about the UN office. Very interesting to hear of your Peace Corps volunteer experience. I have been following and able to help promote a little direct help through international animal-loving/pet interest groups.

I do hope people won’t read this as less urgent than other important causes because outside our own bailiwick. Nuclear war or accident, much like environmental disaster, has the real potential to sweep aside everything else with its scale of destruction.

I will add your comment to AIW discussion in a public, lay-led Facebook group focused on GA and Article II (Blue Boat Passengers) where I have mentioned my support. Feel free (you and any other authors of any of these AIWs) to comment directly if you are on Facebook.

I am a first time delegate and am also struggling with how to choose between equally urgent issues competing for my vote! I appreciate your tenacity in reading past AIWs to see if an issue is new. Great suggestion! I found this site for searching by keyword.
Social Witness Statements Chronological Listing: 1961 to Present |

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Hello Kerry ~
I appreciate your thoughtful comments on this AIW; particularly as they relate to the imminent threat of nuclear war. I hope you will consider voting for our AIW: Urgent Call to Action: Embracing the Goals and Provision of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Many THANX ~

May Peace Prevail on Earth ~

Bob W

Hi, @BobWarner , I am not a delegate, just an alternate, but I am urging my delegates to vote for the Ukrainian AIW rather than the your AIW, this time. I hope you will bring yours back next year (if this is allowed). This is really not a question of importance but of timing. Of course, it is important to address the issues that have been well laid out in your AIW. However, I feel that this is the wrong time, and ending the war in Ukraine comes first, for several reasons.

The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is causing horrific loss of life, mass murder, torture, rape, kidnap and deportation, and other violations of human rights that are ongoing, not a projected future harm.

Probably the main reason that the nuclear clock is the closest it’s ever been to midnight is due to the Ukrainian war. Also, I believe that nuclear treaties are meaningless with Putin in power. and that, sad to say, it is probably NOT a good time for the U.S. to unilaterally de-escalate. I believe we should help end the war and then afterwards be a part of the world helping to create a good climate for peaceful rapprochement.

Second, the catastrophic risk to the environment in case of another Chernobyl would simply blow away many of these other concerns raised by the very worthy other AIWs. It would be on a scale potentially worse than the pandemic. Sadly, there is not time to rewatch the excellent miniseries Chernobyl before voting, but we can refresh our memories about the projected scope of destruction had the disaster not been contained and remind ourselves that, even with containment, the estimated time for Chernobyl to remain radioactive is around 20,000 years. What would happen if such a disaster happened in the midst of war and containment failed?

I’m doing a quick search because it’s late at night and I know the vote is due by tomorrow, but, for example: “Nuclear physicist Vassili Nesterenko declared that the blast would have had a force of 3-5 megatons leaving much of Europe uninhabitable for hundreds of thousands of years.”

There has been an ongoing risk of such an accident since the war began, because Russia is targeting infrastructure–power plants, dams etc.–and waging war even where nuclear reactors are. The threat to significant parts of the world through the twin risks of nuclear weapons engagement and nuclear accident could not be more imminent.

A final thought: Even if the nuclear concerns are not addressed in the AIW (but would still be addressed by our involvement), the scale of atrocity and intentional destruction of civilization in Ukraine is unimaginable. How can we possibly not bear witness, speak out, take action?

Thank you.

I am going to say something here that may not be very popular and I will say it as respectfully as I can. It also veers into some of the background politics of the situation in Ukraine.

What concerns me about this AIW is it coming from a standpoint that supports the US involvement in the war in Ukraine. Part of the reason that war is still going on is because of US support. And it’s the ongoing nature that puts nuclear reactors there at risk.

Don’t get me wrong - I do not support Putin’s invasion into the Ukraine. I feel for the Ukrainian people - and also the Russian soldiers who are required to fight. But I am also not happy with the response from the U.S. This is clearly a proxy war for us. From what I remember, liberal politics and liberal theology were the “peace parties/religions”. What has happened? The media coverage of this war is very one sided and seems to be doing Washington DC’s bidding with encouraging us all to support this war. And spend a trillion dollars on it!

Again, I’m not supporting Putin but if history teaches us anything, it’s that Russia is going to want/need protection at their borders. Just like the US would not be okay with Canada and Mexico forming a military alliance to “hold the U.S. in check”, Russia feels the same way. I could go on about this and the inconsistencies with our foreign policy around the world but I shan’t. The main thing I feel is that the U.S. needs to get out of there and not promote the war. The only role I feel okay about us having is to support peace talks/negotiations.

And I don’t want UUs or the UUA involved. I know this really isn’t supposed to be a political platform, but I couldn’t help but address the political situation that brought us here. I hope I did it respectfully.

If what you are saying is that without support from Ukraine’s allies, Russian would already have succeeded in annexing this country, then I think you are probably right. I do not agree that acquiescing to genocide beyond our borders is consistent with UU values. Without trying to oversimplify the mutual territoriality and escalation between the United States and Russia or disagree that de-escalation is also needed eventually, I genuinely see Putin as a Hitler-level threat to the entire world. I’ll let people do their own research, but while I follow the news stories, the majority of my exposure to what is happening on the ground comes directly from Ukrainians. Of course we must continue to advocate for peace, and I am sure UUs can choose wisely what kind of support they want to align themselves with. However, to me, standing by while this genocide and complete subversion of self-determination take place is unacceptable.

Hi Kerry.

THX for your comments about the Ukrainian war. All points well take.

All the AIWs are very worthy of consideration by the delegates at GA.

Please encourage your delegate to vote THEIR conscious - any vote is the right one for THEM!


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I am an alternate and am involved in the discussions. Delegates do ultimately vote their conscience. I truly wish there were room for more AIWs. As you said, all are worthy. I hope some that don’t pass this year come back next year (although I believe for Ukraine, this may be too late).

Good luck with your AIW and have a wonderful GA!

“CODE RED” was a revision of an AIW from last year that missed the cut by a single vote. I agree that the 3 AsIW that did not make it this year should not simply be forgotten, but other means found to deal with these important issues. UUJEC had a Web seminar on nuclear disarmament in November of last year (; in reverse chronological order, newest first.

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