Europe Turns Over a New Leaf

Jean Asselborn is Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg.

On the international stage, the year 2022 began on February 24th, the day on which Russian tanks rolled across the Ukrainian border early in the morning and the first missiles fell on Kyiv. What none of us had thought possible, what none of us could believe, became brutal reality: Despite all the efforts to maintain peace, Europe was to experience war again in the twenty-first century.

There were, of course, the terrible Yugoslav wars in the 1990s, the aftermath of which is still being felt in the region. There was also the war in Georgia and, of course, before February 24th, 2022, there was also February 2014, when Russia began to annex Crimea.

But it is clear to all of us that the military attack that began on February 24th has surpassed anything this continent has experienced since World War II in its scale, brutality, and global consequences. We must be aware of one thing: this war is not just Russia attacking Ukraine, it is a confrontation between two political systems, between two worldviews. This is above all about values, and it is our common responsibility to uphold the universal values of freedom and independence. We thought that there could never be another war in Europe. Now we must do our utmost to ensure that this is the last time that the force of the international law cedes to the lawlessness of military force.

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