WASHINGTON – With the situation in eastern Ukraine having reached a critical stage and the near certainty that the war in Ukraine will continue, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America has scheduled a rally against Russian aggression and in support of Ukraine to be held Thursday, March 5, near the White House. The rally begins at 1 p.m.
The next likely target of Russian forces is Mariupol, a city that stands in the path of establishing Russia’s highly coveted corridor to Crimea. Russia has already deployed thousands of troops, with the support of heavy artillery and armor. Credible sources in the Mariupol sector report that “there is no evidence of a real withdrawal of heavy weaponry by pro-Russian forces along that front.”
Mariupol, however, is strongly defended. Russia may still opt to bypass the city and launch an armored attack southwest of Debaltseve. This offensive would allow Russian forces to carve a direct route to Crimea, while cutting off critically needed supplies to Mariupol. If that should happen Odesa will be the next city in the line of assault, and the implications of its capture for Ukraine could be catastrophic. Urgent action on the part of the West is needed now to prevent such a disaster from taking place, the UCCA underscored.
Last year, Congress unanimously passed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, authorizing the president to provide Ukraine with lethal defensive military assistance. Despite near unanimous agreement among informed experts to provide Ukraine with the needed defensive weaponry, the Obama administration has, to date, chosen not to act.
In light of this, Ukrainian Americans from the metropolitan Baltimore-Washington area, together with hundreds from Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida and Texas will assemble in front of the White House on Thursday, March 5. Some communities are organizing buses for the rally.
The UCCA notes that, in view of the ever-worsening situation in Ukraine, it is of utmost importance for all freedom-loving people to attend en masse the rally in support of Ukraine and urge the Obama administration to immediately send Ukraine the military assistance it desperately needs to defend itself against the ongoing Russian invasion.
The rally will focus on the continued war in eastern Ukraine and the egregious violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity by Russia, including the illegal annexation of Crimea. Protesters will advocate the immediate implementation of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act signed by President Barack Obama in December 2014, which calls for sending defensive lethal military assistance to Ukraine and the imposition of additional sanctions on Russia. Community representatives will also call for Russia to be removed from the SWIFT international payment system.
The Crimean Tatar community and other Central and Eastern European communities are expected to participate in the rally. Members of Congress, ambassadors from Central and East European countries, and former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine have been invited to address the rally.
The rally is being organized by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and is being held in conjunction with the Ukrainian Days advocacy event scheduled for March 4-5.