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Group statement | 15 February 2022

Younger Generation Leaders Network (YGLN) Group Statement on the West-Russia crisis

As relations between Russia and the West are now at their lowest point since 2014 and Europe is at the brink of a serious military confrontation, emerging leaders in the Euro-Atlantic region have issued a group statement calling on those in power to solve the crisis in Ukraine not through military action but by diplomatic means.

Full statement reproduced below.


Statement by the Younger Generation Leaders Network (YGLN) on the West-Russia crisis

Relations between Russia and the West are now at their lowest point since 2014. Europe is at the brink of a serious military confrontation between NATO, Kyiv, and Moscow. Inadvertent escalation of conflicts that potentially involve nuclear-armed states is one of the most worrying scenarios for the Euro-Atlantic region today, and joint efforts to implement strategic risk reduction measures are needed to avert this threat.

We as the next generation of experts and leaders in the Euro-Atlantic region are deeply concerned about the current crisis in West-Russia relations. Those who are in power today have a special responsibility towards the younger generation not to destroy the fundaments of their future. They must solve this conflict not through military action but by diplomatic means. Solving this crisis diplomatically requires a long-term vision, and a genuine willingness to engage in constructive talks.

We therefore urge the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, and NATO to embrace the responsibility that they have towards the younger generation, and to invest more resources in exploring effective diplomatic processes than into investigating military strategies. This time, dialogue must not stop at the height of a crisis, but must intensify.

The YGLN is composed of 90 members in their early careers who are rising stars and specialists in security policy, economics, journalism, law and civil society. Formed in 2014 in reaction to the Ukraine crisis, the YGLN was created to bridge the divide between Russia and the West and establish a much needed platform for understanding and dialogue at a time when relations between major powers were becoming toxic.


  1. Vera Axyonova, Kazakhstan
  2. Julia Berghofer, ELN Policy Fellow & YGLN Vice-chair, Germany
  3. Sebastian Brixey-Williams, UK
  4. Agathe Demarais, France
  5. Carolyn Forstein, US
  6. Andrew Futter, UK
  7. Alexander Graef, Researcher, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (Hamburg)
  8. Nikita Gryazin, Research Analyst, UK
  9. Tinatin Japaridze, Georgia/US Director of Policy and Strategy at The Critical Mass, US
  10. Patricia Jaworek, Germany
  11. Pavel Kanevskiy, Associate Professor, Political Sciences, Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), Russia
  12. Henrik Larsen, Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies at the ETH Zürich, Denmark
  13. Amélie Lohmann, Germany/France/US
  14. Habibe Özdal, Turkey
  15. Zach Paikin, Researcher, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Canada
  16. Diāna Potjomkina, Latvia
  17. Leon Ratz, Senior Program Officer, Nuclear Threat Initiative, US
  18. Anna Roessing, PhD Candidate, Germany
  19. Bartosz Rydliński, Poland
  20. Gent Salihu, Senior Rule of Law Advisor, Kosovo
  21. Suren Sargsyan,, President at Armenian Center for American Studies, Armenia
  22. Oleksiy Semeniy, Ukraine
  23. Daniel Shapiro, ELN Network Consultant, US
  24. Pasha Sharikov, Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
  25. Marco Siddi, Montalcini Assistant Professor, University of Cagliari; Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Italy
  26. Maria Usacheva, Russia political advisor, Komi Union of Industrials and Entrepreneurs, YGLN alumna, Russia
  27. Natalia Viakhireva, RIAC, Russia
  28. Ivana Vuchkova, North Macedonia
  29. Mikayel Zolyan, former Member of Parliament, Armenia

University Consortium Fellows 

  1. Anya Osetrova
  2. Nicole Grajewski
  3. Ruxi Seniuc
  4. Konstantin Sukhoverkhov
  5. Ivan Bocharov

Read the statement in Ukrainian, Russian and German

The opinions articulated above represent the views of the signatories and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or any of its members. The ELN’s aim is to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence, and security policy challenges of our time.

Image: Wikimedia commons, Presidential Executive Office of Russia