The political unrest reverberating throughout the Ukraine has prompted its top scientists to send out a plea for peace.

Since the crisis escalated last week, after Russia moved to establish control over the largely Russian speaking Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine, it has fueled fears that the conflict will boil over into military action between Russia and the West. Even as the U.S. and many European countries are pressuring Moscow to scale back its troops in Crimea, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine this week posted a letter asking for peace and Russian restraint and for support from the worldwide academic community.

The 95-year-old academy has major science centers located throughout the country, including Crimea. Throughout NASU history, “scholars of its institutions have never divided themselves according to the territorial principle or permitted any discrimination on ethnic, linguistic or religious grounds,” the organization said in its March 3 appeal.

“Now all of us have to unite and by [joining] efforts prevent further aggravation of the social and political situation, bloodshed and a split of the country. All Ukrainian scientists, all our fellow citizens—whether they live in the North or South, East or West—are to stay together for accomplishing the goal of the whole Ukrainian nation—to live in the country where the peace dominates, where rights and freedoms of every person are respected,” the letter said, asking the Russian people not to permit the use of arms.

“At this crucial moment of our country’s history we call on [the] worldwide academic community to take all the necessary efforts to preserve peace and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the letter added.

The letter was signed by six of the organization’s top officials, including its long-time president, metallurgy and materials scientist Borys Paton and one of its vice-presidents, physicist Anton Naumovets.

Read the letter yourself below –