“Russia must withdraw all occupational forces from Ukraine” – this was one of the main demands from the participants of worldwide protests organized by the campaign “StopPutinsWarInUkraine 2.0” on October 14.
The protests took place in many cities across Ukraine but also in Moscow, France, Germany, Poland, Britain, Spain, Greece, the United States, Australia, Hong Kong as well as other countries.
Mark Demesmaeker, a Belgian MEP from the European Conservatives and Reformists Group is a member of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Delegation.
He took part in a protest in Brussels wearing a Ukrainian traditional garment, the “vyshyvanka”. He told Euronews why he thinks it is particularly important to strengthen sanctions against the Kremlin:“If we do not do it, other countries will also become victims of this kind of aggression. The experience of Syria is very very bad. The whole world can see what is going on in and around Aleppo and the Russian aggression there. We should be very firm. Because this is also abput the way we live together in the international community. We have to live according to some agreed international agreements and rules. Putin has broken the Budapest memorandum, he has broken the Helsinki agreements and if we as international community are not firm and do not stand by our principles, then this will affect the whole of Europe and the whole of the world. So Ukraine is in fact also defending our freedom and our democratic principles. And we should support it. And how should we support it? By standing firm and reinforcing the sanctions.”
The protesters also demanded the return of all weapons and military equipment to Russia as well as the release of Ukrainian citizens who are illegally held in custody – both in Russia and in Crimea – on politically motivated and trumped-up charges. At the Brussels demonstration, people demanded the release of Roman Suschenko – a Ukrainian journalist in Russian custody on charges of espionage. Anna Yavorska, one of the organisers of the protest in Brussels told Euronews about other demands:“We want Ukraine to reappear in the European media, we want the war between Russia and Ukraine to be covered by them. We want the OSCE to increase its activity and to monitor criminal proceedings that we think are taking place in eastern Ukraine. And we also want to add new names to a black list of sanctions against Russian officials”.