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UCU Congress Calls for UK to “Stop Arming Ukraine”

Members of the UCU are marching down a street in London. They are carrying placards and a large balloon with 'UCU' written on it floats above.
Source: Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/duncanh1/30376576713

The University and College Union (UCU) backed a motion on Friday calling for the “government to stop arming Ukraine”. The UCU additionally demanded a “peaceful end to the war” but claimed that NATO was at odds with this, describing the current state of the conflict as “a battleground for Russian and US imperialism” in the first of its three day annual Congress.

The motion also accused Putin of unleashing war crimes in Ukraine and pushed for the exit of Russian troops from the Eastern European country. 

The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign condemned the motion in a statement, arguing that ending the provision of arms to Ukraine would “undermine the Ukrainian resistance and lead to victory for Russia and more Ukrainian deaths”. According to the organisation, peace as defined by the motion of the UCU congress would ensure “a disarmed Ukraine ceding territory and accepting terms imposed by Russian Imperialism”. 

The motion also endorsed the “Stop the War” coalition, endeavouring to support protests called by the organisation. Among the controversial positions that the coalition holds is the claim that “NATO’s push to expand into Eastern Europe has been an integral part of the development of the Ukraine crisis”. They additionally assert that the British government’s sending of weapons to Ukraine has turned the war into an “effective proxy war between NATO and Russia”, and that the government should seek peace talks with Russia instead. 

The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign has consistently criticised this position describing the war as one of liberation “against Putin’s openly proclaimed attempt to rebuild a new Tsarist empire.” They added that “Ukraine has every right to take arms from whoever will supply them” and that “if Ukraine is forced to stop fighting, Ukraine will end”. 

Dr Uilleam Blacker, an associate professor in Ukrainian culture at UCL, also condemned the motion, saying that it is “full of excuses for Russian atrocities” and that it effectively calls for more Ukrainian deaths.

A second motion, which was far less critical of the government’s position on Ukraine, was also passed. This recognised the Ukrainian right to self-determination and supported the cancellation of Ukraine’s national debt, visa-free access to the UK for refugees and scholarships for Ukrainian refugees wishing to attend colleges and universities in the UK. 

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