Council responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

2 May 2022
The international high-energy physics community stands in support of Ukraine

At an extraordinary session of the CERN Council on 8 March, the 23 Member States of CERN condemned, in the strongest terms, the military invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation on 24 February. The Council deplored the resulting loss of life and humanitarian impact, as well as the involvement of Belarus in the unlawful use of force against Ukraine.

Ukraine joined CERN as an Associate Member State in 2016 and Ukrainian scientists have long been active in many of the laboratory’s activities. Russian scientists also have a long and distinguished involvement with CERN, and Russia was granted Observer status in recognition of its contributions to the construction of the LHC. 

The Council decided that: CERN will promote initiatives to support Ukrainian collaborators and Ukrainian scientific activity in high-energy physics; the Observer status of Russia is suspended until further notice; and CERN will not engage in new collaborations with Russia and its institutions until further notice. In addition, the CERN management stated that it will comply with all applicable international sanctions. 

The Council also expressed its support to the many members of CERN’s Russian scientific community who reject the invasion: “CERN was established in the aftermath of World War II to bring nations and people together for the peaceful pursuit of science: this aggression runs against everything for which the Organization stands. CERN will continue to uphold its core values of scientific collaboration across borders as a driver for peace.”

Two weeks later at its March session, strongly condemning statements by those Russian institutes that have expressed support for the invasion and stressing that its decisions are taken to express its solidarity with the Ukrainian people and its commitment to science for peace, the Council decided to suspend the participation of CERN scientists in all scientific committees of institutions located in Russia and Belarus, and vice versa. It also decided to suspend or, failing that, cancel all events jointly arranged between CERN and institutions located in those countries, and to suspend the granting of contracts as associated members of the CERN personnel to any new individuals affiliated to home institutions in Russia and Belarus.

CERN was established to bring nations and people together for the peaceful pursuit of science

Measures were also introduced regarding the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research (JINR), with which CERN has had scientific relations for more than 60 years. The Council decided to suspend the participation of CERN scientists in all JINR scientific committees, and vice versa; to suspend or, failing that, cancel all events jointly arranged between CERN and JINR; that CERN will not engage in new collaborations with JINR until further notice; and that the Observer status of JINR at the Council is suspended and CERN will not exercise the rights resulting from its Observer status at JINR, until further notice. 

At its June session, the Council will decide on further measures regarding the suspension of international cooperation agreements and related protocols, as well as any other agreements concerning participation in CERN’s scientific programme.

Science for peace

Other European institutions with longstanding scientific relationships with Russia, such as DESY and the ESRF, have also taken measures in response to the invasion. On 4 March the European Commission suspended co-operation with Russia on research and innovation, and on 28 February ESA announced that it will fully implement sanctions imposed on Russia by its 22 member states, making a scheduled 2022 launch for the ExoMars programme “very unlikely”. Russia’s future cooperation on the International Space Station is also uncertain. 

The EPS, APS and national physical societies in Europe have released statements strongly condemning the Russian invasion and announcing various measures, as have organisations including IAEA, IUPAP and EUROfusion. A declaration initiated by the Max Planck Society and supported by the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings has been signed by 150 Nobel Laureates, while 77 Breakthrough Prize Laureates have signed an open letter standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. A letter from Russian scientists and science journalists attracted around 5000 signatories, while almost 200 Russian researchers participating in CERN experiments have signed an open letter standing strongly for resolving the conflict through diplomacy and negotiations.

At CERN, actions have been initiated to support employed and associated members of personnel of Ukrainian nationality and their families. The CERN community has also raised funds for the Red Cross’s operations in Ukraine. With the CERN directorate deciding to match, from the CERN budget, donations made by the personnel, and in addition to a financial contribution from the CERN Staff Association, the collection raised 820,000 Swiss francs by the time of closing on 22 March.

The initiatives of many members of the personnel further demonstrate CERN’s solidarity and community spirit. The theoretical physics department has created a web page listing initiatives from the scientific community, and the users office also has useful information.

bright-rec iop pub iop-science physcis connect