RUSSIAN SPEAKING COMMUNITY OF SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA HOLDS AN ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATION
San Francisco, CA – March 2, 2014 – 300 demonstrators of San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento gathered outside the Russian Consulate in San Francisco on Sunday, March 2, to protest against the Russian military intervention in Ukraine. The event “Russia: Stop the War” was organized over Facebook on a one-day notice by the San Francisco Bay Area residents Gleb G, of Russian descent, and Mikola Bilogorskiy, of Ukrainian descent, with a goal to promote the struggle of both nations for democracy and political freedom.
The event was a reaction to Russia bringing military forces to the Crimea Peninsula on the South of Ukraine. According to Gleb G., “Putin chooses to break the 1994 agreement guaranteeing Ukraine’s independence and has his rubber-stamp Parliament unanimously “vote” to allow a military invasion force into Ukraine and the potential annexation of foreign territories under the pretense of defending local Russian-speaking population…This action is illegal under Russian and international law…we demands a reversal of the Parliament decrees and an immediate end to warmongering and aggression. Russia, stop the War!”
At the event, a petition was signed by over 100 people, asking that the US take concrete actions to honor its commitment to the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, when the United States, Russia, and Great Britain agreed to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty ‘in exchange’ for Ukraine becoming anti-nuclear (Ukraine removed all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory and signed Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty).
“Ukraine is one of only a handful of countries that has voluntarily agreed to get rid of its nuclear weapons. If the US doesn’t honor its agreement to defend Ukraine’s national sovereignty now, why would any nation agree to de-nuclearize in the future?” said Melanie McCutchan, a second generation Ukrainian-American.
The event brought together representatives of multiple post-USSR countries, including people from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. “Putin, Hands off Ukraine!”, “Stop War!” and “Russia, I am ashamed!” were some of the slogans that people used on their posters. As Lesya, a Ukrainian activist at MaydanSF, who attended the demonstration mentioned, “The events in Ukraine are scary. However, today’s event is beautiful. Today’s event shows that we, people from the post-USSR world, are all united in the struggle against dictatorship and corruption.”
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