CIEE Statement on Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

Authored by:
James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

CIEE joins the entire world, including millions of Russian patriots and citizens, in condemning Putin’s unprovoked, brutal invasion of Ukraine. This is an unconscionable attack on Ukraine, Europe, and the inalienable right of peace and freedom for independent nations everywhere.

We admire the Ukrainian people for their courage and fearless defense of their homeland, their culture, and their way of life. We applaud the world community for embracing Ukrainian refugees and uniting in resistance. We urge leaders and supporters initiating these atrocities to reject the darkness of lies and aggression and embrace the light of truth and peaceful dialogue to resolve conflict and embrace reconciliation.

CIEE was founded in the wake of World War II to build bridges between people. That conflict, like today’s tragic invasion of Ukraine by Putin, was grounded by false claims, conspiracy theories, misinformation, and misdirection. Its deadly violence was falsely defended by the crass lies of certain world leaders, lies supported as knowingly false by an inner circle of weak and immoral supporters. Tragically, the world has seen this deadly formula far too many times: boldface lies designed to advance evil, supported by cowardly enablers, leading to deep suffering, death, and destruction.

Putin and his enablers must be held accountable for the incalculable suffering and economic devastation his actions will create for millions of people and for years to come, including millions of Russians who oppose this senseless aggression and who will experience untold sacrifice and collateral hardships.

About Our St. Petersburg Center

For 75 years, CIEE has championed peaceful interaction between different nations, people, and cultures. We facilitate international exchanges for over 600 U.S. colleges in over 25 countries. 

Our St. Petersburg center was opened in 1967 and is CIEE’s oldest and longest serving international center.  We’ve promoted peaceful exchanges in Russia for over 50 years, through the Cold War and many other challenging world events.  We aspire to promote programs in Russia that focus on breaking down barriers, building bridges, and promoting respectful, peaceful exchange.

However, today, in light of the world’s appropriate response to Putin’s aggression, including freezing transportation and banking systems in Russia, we have regrettably found ourselves needing to relocate the students currently studying with us in St. Petersburg to safe locations in Eastern Europe where they can complete their international programs, including their study of Russian language, culture, and politics. 

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