Norway: The Red Party supports Ukraine's fight for freedom


First published at Rødt. Translation by LINKS International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

The Red Party (Rødt) strongly condemns Russia's aggressive attack on Ukraine in violation of international law. This is imperialism that goes against everything the Red Party stands for. We support Ukraine's independence and defensive struggle.

The Red Party supports those who are now defending themselves against [Russian president Vladimir] Putin's soldiers and fighting for their freedom, their country's sovereignty and for democracy. Responsibility for the war of aggression and bombings lie solely with the Putin regime. Russia must immediately stop the war and withdraw from the whole of Ukraine. There are no arguments, no security interests, no spheres of interest or other pretexts that can justify a war of aggression in violation of international law and the enormous human suffering it causes. It is primarily the population in Ukraine that has been affected by the war, but the ripple effects have also exacerbated social hardship and inequalities around the world, in particular affecting the working class. Norway must increase its humanitarian aid to both Ukraine and other war- and crisis-affected countries in the world.

The Red Party's anti-imperialist principles are clear. In our programme of principles, we advocate that "Norway will not take sides in the struggle between imperialist powers", that we "support people and nations fighting against occupation and oppression" and that "will defend international law and the right of nations to self-determination". We must stand up for these principles in practice when a major power attacks a smaller country.

Without arms supplies, Ukraine would have been overrun and subjugated by a chauvinist, right-wing nationalist Russian regime that has openly declared its imperialist ambitions. Therefore, it is right to provide arms to Ukraine in its struggle for independence and peace when Ukrainians ask for them. These weapons must not be used outside Ukrainian territory. The Red Party assumes that the government has obtained an end-user declaration from the Ukrainian government to ensure that Norwegian weapons are only used by the regular Ukrainian forces within Ukrainian territory.

The Red Party wants to prevent an escalation that could see the war spread to other countries and lead to World War III. The main responsibility for escalation of the war lies on the Russian side.

Today, arms donations are made directly by Norway or in cooperation with other countries, not by NATO. This must continue, in order to support Ukraine's defensive struggle, without further increasing the risk of a great power war.

Thorough assessments prior to Norwegian donations are crucial. No country has given Ukraine everything it has asked for. The government must inform and consult Parliament on military contributions in advance. The Red Party does not support sending Norwegian combat aircraft, tanks or soldiers to Ukraine. International conventions and laws against the use of cluster munitions and phosphorus bombs must be respected.

The survival of Ukraine as an independent state is a prerequisite for any peace settlement. Occupation is not peace. Occupation is repression, mass arrests, death sentences and terror.

Norway must use all its international influence and diplomatic capacity to contribute to ending the war through negotiations aimed at a peaceful solution based on international law. There is no contradiction between support for the resistance and peace efforts.

The future outcome of negotiations also depends on the situation on the ground. If the aggressor is allowed to dictate the terms of peace, imperialist aggression will be rewarded. Until a diplomatic solution is possible and the basis for a just peace is in place, Ukraine needs weapons to defend itself and resist the invasion.

The Red Party will work actively to ensure that the government strengthens Norway's work in terms of humanitarian aid, long-term development efforts and lasting peace. The Red Party will also work to ensure that Norway promotes a policy in the United Nations to make the organisation an effective tool for creating and securing peace, and to stop all arms exports, directly and indirectly, to countries that engage in wars of aggression and violate international law.

The Red Party supports the peace movement in both Ukraine and Russia. Norway must work to ensure that peace negotiations are conducted in line with the UN Charter. These must take place on the Ukrainians' terms.

Norway must stand up for dissidents and the persecuted. The Red Party was early to demand collective protection for all Ukrainian refugees, which was quickly introduced. The Red Party has called on the government to ask Russian soldiers to desert and guarantee them protection in Norway.

The Red Party has spearheaded tough punitive measures against the Russian regime and its supporters. We want sanctions that target the political elite, the military, the oligarchs and the financial elite in Russia. The aim of sanctions must be to weaken the regime and not to weaken the peace movement in Russia.

The Red Party works for the prosecution of those responsible for wars of aggression in violation of international law. The Red Party proposes that Norway support Ukraine's initiative to establish a special tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, where the Putin regime can be investigated and prosecuted for its war of aggression against Ukraine in violation of international law.

The Red Party has proposed that Norway ratify the Kampala Amendment to the Rome Statute, which gives the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction to prosecute state leaders for wars of aggression in violation of international law. In addition, Norway must work to remove the special jurisdictional limitation on the crime of aggression, which currently prevents the ICC from investigating Putin for his decision to attack Ukraine. We believe it is necessary to strengthen Norway's legal protection against wars of aggression to help prevent future wars in line with the intention behind the Nürenberg settlement and for Norway to have credibility in international efforts to prosecute Russia's crime of aggression against Ukraine.

The Red Party believes that Norway should introduce its own sanctions that close loopholes exploited by Putin and his allies. We therefore called early on for independent Norwegian sanctions to close loopholes in the European Union's measures, which have allowed the unloading of metal and the payment of refunds for oil exploration to oligarchs.

The Red Party will continue to work for comprehensive economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, both for the duration of the war and for reconstruction. The Red Party has proposed cancelling Ukraine's national debt and believes that this must be implemented. We have supported all humanitarian aid, as well as materials such as helmets, bulletproof vests, etc. for the Ukrainian military. The Red Party believes that financial and humanitarian support must be stepped up.

There have been several reports of Ukrainians in Norway who have been exploited for social dumping and other forms of criminality. Solidarity with Ukraine must also ensure that Ukrainians in Norway are not exploited as cheap labour or for crimes. The Red Party demands that the government, in cooperation with the trade union movement, employers and NGOs, introduce concrete measures to prevent cynical employers and criminals in the labour market from profiting from the war in Ukraine.

We demand:

  • Information in Ukrainian language about labour rights and Norwegian labour market.
  • Offers of language training in Norwegian.
  • Notification channels in Ukrainian to report crime and unemployment insurance fraud.
  • Measures for the integration of Ukrainians into ordinary working life that can qualify for skilled positions in the labour market.