Local Ukrainian community holds demo at Russian consulate
Published Tuesday, March 4, 2014 8:37PM EST
Members of Montreal’s Ukrainian community and their supporters gathered again in front of the Russian consulate to protest Russia’s action in their home country.
The small crowd worked to send the message that they’re willing to protest for as long as it takes.
“Until Russian forces and the Russian army leave the territory of Ukraine,” said organizer Svetlana Kroichyk.
Kroichyk and other supporters said it’s important to send a message that Ukrainians around the world want their home country to control its own destiny.
“Our country has been going through turmoil for hundreds and hundreds of years, always at the hands of an oppressor and it's always been Russia -- and this man, he's delusional,” said protester Steve Czurma.
Harsh words for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been defiant in the face of international criticism.
Meanwhile, Canada is sending its own message: the Ukrainian flag is flying on Parliament Hill.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted that the flag is being "proudly flown to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Ukraine."
Russian Montrealer Andrey Gargul said he wants to show his solidarity, too,
“It's awful. A lot of people in Russia are against Putin's regime and they are definitely against this invasion,” said Gargul, who also attended the protest.
Gargul said he thinks Russia's younger, Internet-savvy generation is less likely to buy into what he callsgovernment propaganda.
“There are Russian TV channels. They show the picture not how it is, they just fake it and that's why some people in Russia, they don't know what's happening in Ukraine,” he said.
Lev Chif, editor-in-chief of local Russian newspaper Meeting Place Montreal, said it's a complex issue.
“It's not black and white, like everybody's right in Ukraine and no one's right in Russia. Yes there are some extremists in who exist in Ukraine too,” he said.
The Russian government's military action is unacceptable and retrograde, he added, however.
“I am very angry because in the 21st century, it's difficult to imagine a huge country reacting this way, so aggressively,” he said.