Kiev Citizens Protest against War in Iraq

A wave of protest against the US plans to settle the “Iraqi issue” in a military way has reached Ukraine. Saturday, more than one thousand of representatives from different political parties (among them Green Party, Progressive Socialist Party, Russian Bloc, Labor Confederation, Chernobyl of Ukraine Union and others) organized a meeting in Sofia Square, in Kiev against a war in Iraq. The Progressive Socialist Party leader, Natalia Vitrenko also attended the meeting.

After the meeting, the demonstrators went in a peace march to the US embassy to express their negative position on the Bush plans to the representatives of the US administration. According to the information agency Obozrevatel, the demonstrators held placards which read “No to War in Iraq!” “Yesterday Yugoslavia, Today Iraq, Tomorrow Ukraine!” “No to US Aggression in Middle East!”

Demonstrators blocked traffic in several streets, causing jumps. On their way to the US embassy, the action participants made a stoppage against the Poland embassy and expressed their negative position on this country joining NATO. Some political forces obviously use the “Iraqi issue” just as a way to promote themselves. Though, if Ukrainian progressive socialists always have been against the Alliance, the greens’ participation in the demarch looks a bit odd, for they seem to have been “for Europe.” While the greens say their union with Natalia Vitrenko is “occasional.”

Not every party is ready to an occasional union like that, even for peace in Iraq. At the “preliminary” press conference of the action organization committee on Thursday, deputy chairman of Green Party of Ukraine Yury Samoylenko noticed most of known parliamentary parties declaring protection of democracy values, people’s life and honour did not participate in the action. It is probably because most of them understand that it is not the threat of war which is the real reason of this action. Moreover, it is much easier to protest in Kiev against Bush, than against Kuchma. The main issue of Ukrainians is not Bush. It is significant that regular attacks against NATO and the US have become nearly a sign of good form in Ukrainian pro-presidential TV channels.

In the meanwhile, Ukraine is preparing for rescuing its citizens in Iraq. 231 Ukrainians are reported to work in this country on contract base. Though, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry still specifies these lists, looking for “not accounted” compatriots. In case of war, Ukrainians could be evacuated by Russians. According to, referring to Ukrainian Foreign Ministry press service, “in case of real threat for Ukrainian citizens’ life and health, Ukrainian and Russian diplomatic missions to Iraq have a plan to evacuate all Ukrainians and Russians by planes of Russian Emergency Ministry.”

Andrei Lubensky PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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