Protests were held in at least seven cities across Europe from April 16-20 against the escalation of Ukraine’s war crimes in the Donbass region and the danger of a U.S.-NATO war with the Russian Federation.
The Anti-Imperialist Front (AIF), an alliance of revolutionary organizations including groups from Turkey, Europe and the former Soviet republics, called for an International Day of Solidarity with Donbass on April 17. Their call was joined by others, including the Red Square-Molotov Club and the Communist Party of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
AIF was inspired by the April 10 protest in New York, initiated by the U.S.-based Solidarity with Novorossiya & Antifascists in Ukraine, and the statement “No U.S.-Ukraine war on Donbass and Russia,” which has gathered numerous endorsements and been reprinted in several languages.
Borotba, a Marxist organization banned by the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government and a member of the AIF, emphasized the importance of international solidarity with people in the independent Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. People there face an escalation of the 7-year-long war waged by Ukraine with U.S.-NATO support.
On April 3, 5-year-old Vladik Shikhov was killed by a Ukrainian drone in the yard of his home in a Donetsk village. He is the youngest of several civilians killed and wounded since Ukraine’s military buildup began in January.
‘Peace to children of Donbass’
Actions kicked off April 16 in Košice, Slovakia. “Communists, anti-fascists and peace fighters held a protest on Main Street in Košice,” reported the organizers. “Residents … expressed their disagreement with war and anti-Russian propaganda in the main media of Slovakia and Europe.
“They expressed solidarity with the persecuted citizens of Ukraine, with wounded and killed citizens of Donbass, with all the people in eastern Ukraine who are victims of the current fascist regime.”
Signs and banners declared, “Stop the U.S. war in Donbass” and “We don’t need NATO bases in Slovakia.” A hand-drawn poster made by students at a local primary school said, “Peace to the children of Donbass.”
In Vienna, Austria, anti-fascists and left activists rallied at the Red Army Memorial on April 17 “For Peace in Ukraine.” “In addition to the red flags of anti-fascism, a poster with the national flowers of Ukraine with the inscription ‘Fascism — never again’ and several posters with slogans against war and fascism were displayed during the rally,” reported the AIF.
Speakers noted that the Western media ignores Ukraine and NATO military threats to the region, only accusing Russia for concentrating its armed forces within its own borders.
“No one asks about the Ukrainian Army that attacks daily and just killed a 5-year-old boy and other civilians in violation of the Minsk ceasefire agreements,” explained one speaker. “And no one mentions that it was not Russia that moved all its warships to the U.S. borders, while U.S.-NATO troops continue their maneuvers in the Black Sea, which clearly increases tensions.”
Anti-Fascist Action and International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS) joined AIF at the protest.
NATO bases out!
April 17 was the day of an important protest in Athens, Greece, against NATO military bases. A contingent organized by AIF-Greece carried a banner in the 500-strong march which declared “From Turkey to Greece, from Palestine to Donbass, unite to defeat imperialism!”
A statement from one of the participating groups, Communist Revolutionary Action, quoted U.S. President Joe Biden’s pontifical declaration that “America is back.” The group explained: “The war on the part of Kiev and its imperialist patrons is an unjust, imperialist war.
“It was Western imperialism that started the unrest, that financed and orchestrated the 2014 coup [in Ukraine] spearheaded by fascists. The coup d’état and the rise to power of the American-backed reactionaries degraded the Russian-speaking population to second-class citizens, directly threatening their very existence and forcing them to take up arms.
“The war on the part of the People’s Republics is just and anti-imperialist. A possible Russian involvement will not change the nature of this war at all.
“The fundamental global task for all who take a stand against oppression and exploitation, and a prerequisite for any positive world development, is the defeat of Western imperialism on all fronts in which it is involved. For those living in the West, this task is even more imperative – as it is the bloc of ‘their’ bourgeoisie which is embroiled in an unjust war.”
On that day in Rome, Italy, a solemn commemoration and march was held to mark 100 years since the first units of anti-fascist partisans were formed to combat the ultra-right. The event was initiated by Patria Socialista (Socialist Homeland) and attended by several communist and anti-fascist organizations.
Among the featured speakers at the Partisans Monument in Verano Cemetery was Alberto Fazolo of the Donbass Anti-Nazi Committee, who spoke about the current Ukrainian escalation and the important role of internationalists who traveled to Donbass to join the anti-fascist militias.
In Berlin, Germany, several hundred people gathered to honor the 135th birthday of Ernst Thälmann, a German communist leader murdered in 1944 by the Nazis in the Buchenwald concentration camp. Supporters of the German Communist Party (DKP) called for solidarity with the people of Donbass, and a banner was displayed from organizers of the movement “No Staging Area Against Russia,” which opposes NATO’s war buildup.
The DKP said: “Ukraine’s aggressive policy is openly supported by the USA and NATO. The Federal Republic of Germany, which together with the Russian Federation and France is one of the guarantor states of the Minsk agreements between Ukraine and Donbass, sides with the Ukrainian government; instead of condemning the artillery attacks on the civilian population, it blames the Russian Federation, as it has done so often.
“In the eyes of the German government, Russia should not station its troops in its own country, while at the same time NATO troops are stationed in ever greater numbers on the Russian border. The danger of war in Europe is increasing considerably as a result of this policy.”
‘The war must stop’
On April 18 in Sofia, Bulgaria, the organization Bulgaria Stronghold held a protest against the war in Donbass outside the U.S. Embassy. Protesters delivered an appeal to the U.S. ambassador, which was read aloud during the demonstration. It said in part:
“The people of Bulgaria disagree in their vast majority with the decisions and laws adopted by your government. Thus, we do not share the recently-signed military minister Karakachanov’s ‘military cooperation road map,’ which marks the continuous development of military preparedness and military capacity of Bulgaria. This is aimed at engaging the Republic of Bulgaria in the war against its alleged and already-designated opponent — Russia, and with it both China and Iran.
“Unfortunately, Bulgaria also contributes [to Ukraine’s war in Donbass] — weapons and ammunition are transferred there. The war must stop!”
In Zagreb, Croatia — part of Yugoslavia before that country’s NATO-instigated breakup — an action in solidarity with Donbass was held on April 20, organized by the Socialist Workers’ Party of Croatia and the Young Socialists of Croatia. Participants demanded an end to NATO military aggression.
Solidarity with Odessa and Donbass
More actions are being planned. May 2 will mark the seventh anniversary of the Odessa massacre. On that day in 2014, in the multinational Ukrainian port city, at least 48 anti-fascists and labor activists were killed when neo-Nazis set fire to the House of Trade Unions and butchered people trying to escape the blaze.
At the initiative of the U.S.-based Odessa Solidarity Campaign, the Red Square-Molotov Club has initiated an international call for actions on May 2 to demand justice for the victims of the Odessa massacre and an end to the U.S.-Ukraine war in Donbass.
In the U.S., actions are planned in Richmond, Va., and New York City. To endorse or hold an event in your city or town, contact DefendersFJE [at] hotmail [dot] com.