SAN FRANCISCO, July 20, 2014 – 80 Ukrainians from the Bay Area gathered at the Consulate General of France in San Francisco to protest against selling Mistral warships to Russia. The protesters demanded that French President Hollande not deliver the Mistrals to Putin and asked for more sanctions to curb the Russian aggression. Mistral is an assault ship, which can hold 16 helicopters, 40 main battle tanks, and provide quarters for up to 500 soldiers or marines. The protesters emphatically disagreed with the delivery of these ships, as they would reinforce Russia’s ability to destabilize Eastern Europe.
The Ukrainian community met at the Consulate with flags and posters saying “Protect Ukraine from Putin,” “Non à la vente d’armes françaises a Poutine”. Community members also expressed their indignation at the actions of the Russian government. “We came out to the Consulate today to tell France that these weapons sold to Russia may be used against Europe. We beg the French President to put peoples’ lives before money: do not arm Putin’s aggression,” said Nick Bilogorskiy, founder of MaydanSF, originally from Kharkiv, Ukraine.
“This is now an International matter after the Malaysian plane crash and we urge Europe and the West to apply pressure on Russia to stop further geo-political destabilization and bloodshed in Ukraine. At the same time we continue to do everything we can to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom and democracy,” said Yulia Zimmemann, a MaydanSF organizer, originally from Mykolaiv, Ukraine.
The protesters marched to the Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco to lay down flowers and commemorate the victims of the Malaysian flight MH17 with a moment of silence. They wrapped up at Union Square, where they sang the Ukrainian national anthem.
After the tragedy of the Malaysian flight, it is obvious that Russia will continue to bully its neighboring countries and will do so with the most advanced weapons in its inventory. Mistral-class warships, once in the Russian Navy, may be used in the Black Sea, Baltic and Pacific. Given its recent history, Moscow should not be handed another military tool of the Mistral-class magnitude.
MaydanSF is a San Francisco Bay Area group of political activist volunteers, not-affiliated with any political parties or organizations. We all care about Ukraine deeply and are helping Ukrainian EuroMaidan movement with protests, fundraising and lobbying for sanctions on corrupt dictators. http://maydansf.com/