BRAMA, Nov 7, 2003, 1:00 am ET|
Ukrainians in Washington, DC protest against Russian encroachment politics
Washington, D.C. (UNIS) - On Wednesday, October 29, 2003, on the initiative of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) held a protest demonstration in Washington, DC in front of the Russian Federation Embassy. The aim of the demonstration was to bring attention to the continued aggressive policies of the Russian Federation in building a dam in the Kerch Strait connecting the Black and the Azov Seas. Construction of such a dam would not only compromise Ukraine's territorial integrity but also deteriorate economic situation in the adjacent regions of Ukraine and damage biological variety of flora and fauna found in the Kerch Strait. According to Michael Sawkiw, Jr., President of the UCCA, the protest was an opportunity to "express indignation at the Russian Federation's policy toward Ukraine, but also to demonstrate that the Ukrainian community, particularly in the United States, is carefully following these events and calls upon the U.S. government to condemn Russian aggression on the territory of Ukraine."
Representatives of the metropolitan Washington Ukrainian community gathered in front of the Russian Federation embassy at 1pm to voice their protest regarding this situation. Over a dozen protestors held signs reading "Hands off Ukraine!", "Czar Putin the Encroacher", "Russian DAMination", and "Russia is a Dam(n) Nation". Other protesters waved Ukrainians flags and chanted slogans to stop continued Russian aggressive policies vis-а-vis Ukraine. Participants of the Washington protest included representatives of the Ukrainian American community, including many newest immigrants from Ukraine. Various media outlets such as the Voice of America (VOA), Window on America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and "Ukrainska Pravda" provided coverage of the demonstration and interviewed many of the demonstrators. Though small in scope, the goal was achieved - to protest the actions of encroachment by the Russian Federation.
Further actions on this issue by the UCCA and its Washington office, the Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS) include the continual monitoring of events in the Kerch Straits and actively informing the U.S. Congress and the Administration about the Ukrainian American community's concerns Russian encroachment on Ukraine's territory.