Minneapolis protest calls for US de-escalation in Ukraine
Minnesota protest against war with Russia. (Fight! News/Staff)
Minneapolis, MN – On February 24, about 30 people demonstrated outside U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office in downtown Minneapolis with signs and banners calling for no war with Russia and an end to war. American intervention in Ukraine. Held less than 24 hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine, the protest came amid a jingoist frenzy of calls from Western governments and media for action against the Russia.
The protesters pointed to the role the United States and NATO have played for years in escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia. In 2014, the elected Ukrainian government was overthrown by reactionary protesters with US backing. In the ensuing crisis, Russia annexed the predominantly ethnically Russian Crimean peninsula, while the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk with large Russian populations – collectively known as the Donbass region – declared their independence from the Kiev government.
“Today could have been avoided if the United States had not orchestrated a coup in Ukraine in 2014,” said Mike Madden of Veterans for Peace and the new Assange Defense Committee. . “This could have been avoided if the post-coup regime had not launched hostilities in April 2014 by sending Nazi military and paramilitary forces to violently retake the breakaway provinces.
Early attempts by the Kyiv government to retake Donbass by force relied heavily on far-right ultranationalist militias, including the openly neo-Nazi detachment from Azov, which was integrated into the official Ukrainian National Guard in late 2014. Despite this, the United States has sent $2.7 billion in “lethal aid” to the Ukrainian military since 2014.
Ceasefire agreements known as Minsk I and Minsk II were later brokered between Kyiv and the breakaway provinces. Both failed to stop the violence in Donbass, with Kyiv notably refusing to implement Minsk II’s autonomy provisions for Donetsk and Luhansk. From 2014 to the end of 2021, the war in Donbass had killed more than 10,000 people, including many civilians.
Andrew Josefchak of the Anti-War Committee provided additional context for Russia’s tensions with the West. “In the 1990s, the United States promised Russia that NATO would extend ‘not an inch to the east’, but apparently the United States would like to take not just an inch but a mile, actually 600 miles, extending NATO right to the doorstep of Russia,” he said. “The United States imposed deadly sanctions on Russia and moved nuclear weapons within easy reach of its borders.”
Much of the current conflict revolves around the Kiev government’s stated ambition to join the NATO military alliance. Despite Russia’s fears that Ukraine’s instability could inadvertently draw NATO into a nuclear war with Russia, NATO refused to rule out Ukraine’s admission, instead sending military advisers to coordinate with the junta in Kiev.
Josefchak explained, “The idea that the United States deliberately pushed Russia into war is not just speculation on my part; in 2019, the RAND Corporation, a pro-war organization in the US military-industrial complex, sent a report to the US Army Chief of Staff in which it stated that the ideal US strategy would be to use sanctions , propaganda and other measures to push Russia towards war with Ukraine in order to force it to surpass itself militarily.
Other protesters decried continued increases to the US military budget as national social programs languish.
Mira Altobell-Resendez is a member of Students for Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota (SDS-UMN). “I don’t know about you, but my country has the ability to bomb anyone it wants into hell and back doesn’t make me feel safe,” they said. “What would reassure me is knowing that my fellow students and I will not be repaying federal loans for the rest of our lives, knowing that we will never have to worry about being able to afford decent housing or a visit. to the doctor, and have the proper infrastructure in place to eradicate health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic without losing undying millions of lives due to the incompetence of our government.
The protest was started by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and endorsed by the Anti-War Committee, Women Against Military Madness, Climate Justice Committee, Veterans for Peace, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, SDS-UMN, and other local groups. Organizers chose Senator Klobuchar’s office for the location after the hawkish MP told National Public Radio that morning that she was “not ruling anything out” and called for more arms transfers to the country. ‘Ukraine.
As the conflict continues to escalate, organizers have announced that on March 2 there will be another protest on the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue bridge over the Mississippi at 4 p.m. to demand an end to the escalations and transfers of American weapons, the dissolution of NATO and diplomacy. create the conditions for a long-term peace in Ukraine.