Ukrainians protest at White House, Russian Embassy against Putin's invasion and war

Video-Sat 3-5 protest demands ban on Russian oil (21 sec)

Video highlights of big Feb 27 White House protest (1 min)

Video from ongoing protests at the Russian Embassy Sat 2-26-2022 (57 sec)

Video highlights of the Feb 24 White House protest (1 min 2 sec)

On the 23ed of February, Russian fascist dictator Putin launched his long-expected invasion of Ukraine. As Ukraine's military and guerilla groups mounted resistance to the invasion, protesters gathered from Moscow to Washington DC to oppose this assault. In DC, protests have been taking place at the White House every day, with big ones on weekends. Still more protests have been taking place at the Russian Embassy.

Update March 5: Protesters now demanding import ban on Russian oil. There are still very few although some flags of fascist organizations showing up, Ukrainian flags and messages against Putin dominate the scene. Beginning about 5 days out a very few people in Trump/MAGA gear started showing up, they have little to say when reminded Trump called Putin "a genius."

The first White House protest on Feb 23 took place after hours of protests at the Russian Embassy, and protesters again returned to the Russian Embassy afterwards. One person was reported arrested there for spraypainting the word "murder" on the sidewalk. The Washington Post reports nearby Russia House restaurant took down the Russian flag they normally display so they would not be accidently targeted by direct action aimed at Putin's regime. Since then, protests at the Russian Embassy have continued nightly, and protesters returned to the White House on both Saturday Feb 26 and Sin Feb 27.

The expulsion of Russia from SWIFT would isolate their entire banking system from the global economy and make the sale of any Russian oil and gas nearly impossible except on the black market. It would plunge Russia
s economy into chaos. With antiwar protesters in Russia already building up faster than Putin's thugs can arrest them, such economic chaos could destablize Putin's regime, possibly ending in his overthrow. The price of this would be an immediate energy crisis in Europe, which would have to reduce their consumption of natural gas by about 1/3.

Notably, nobody at the Feb 23 White House protest (at least in the first 40 minutes) spoke in favor of sending US or NATO troops into Ukraine to fight Putin's invaders directly. On Feb 27, as bombs rained down on civilian neighborhoods in Kiev, this was modified with a "Shield our Skies" demand to close the skies over Ukraine to Putin's terrorist air force. Probably it is widely understood that insertion of ground troops would carry a severe risk of escalation to nuclear war. That risk exists anyway but would be far worse with troops from two or more nuclear powers fighting on opposite sides of the same battlefield. Whoever loses gets the option to escalate. Putin himself directly invoked nuclear weapons first by openly threatening to use them on any intervening country, then by putting Russia's nuclear forces on high alert over the weekend. Thus, whether or not this goes nuclear may be entirely up to Putin, unless of course he is forcibly removed from office.

Protests against Putin's meddling in the affairs of other countries used to be quite common at the White House. The country in question was the United States itself while Donald Trump was in office. It was widely suspected that Putin ordered Russian agencies to interfere in the 2016 US election on Trump's behalf, and the two men were known to be friends. In fact, some have expressed surprise that Putin did not invade Ukraine while Donald Trump was still in office instead of waiting until he was out. In fact, Trump has praised Putin even as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine. At a Wed Feb 23 fundraiser, he said "“I mean, he’s taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart." That's as ugly as it gets.

The "energy" aspects of this war and associated sanctions are going to have ugly side effects globally. While Russia has become infamous for leaky gas wells contributing to climate catastrophe, gas fracking in the US has the same exact problem. The removal of Russian oil and gas from the market opens new opportunities for oil and gas barons in the US and elsewhere. They will use the war as an opportunity to demand more land, more eminent domain, more pipelines, the works. Still worse, these corporate thugs will attempt to use the war to justify new legal punishments for those resisting invasion of their lands here in the US by frackers and pipeline companies. Those who are doing in the rural US what Ukrainian guerillas are doing abroad(fighting for their land) are not at risk of being accused by wealthy billionaires of instead fighting for Putin.

On the other hand, the fossil fuel crisis created by the sanctions imposed on Russia and/or by accidental bomb or artillery hists on pipelines etc may place renewable energy at a competitive advantage over suddenly more expensive oil and gas.

Speaking of direct action, in Ukraine itself armed opposition to the invasion runs from one end of the spectrum to the other. Putin (though a fascist himself) uses the existance of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion as one of his excuses for war. Then of course there are the "mainstream" resistance groups rapidly arming in Ukraine as well as Ukraine's conventional army. Finally, on the progressive end of the spectrum, anarchists in Ukraine are following the example of Rojava and organizing their own fighting units to resist Putin's troops or anyone else who threatens their communities.

The author of this story did not spot any instances of Azov's Nazi-derived "wolfsangel" flag at any of the protests in DC. On Feb 27, a few flags of the WWII/postwar-era Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) were seen but not many. Their flag is still used by Ukrainian nationalists today. According to some historians, the UPA did not collaborate with the Nazis, contrary to Russian propaganda statements. Instead the UPA is claimed to have fought both the Nazis and the NKVD while attempting to avoid battle with the far stronger Soviet army. Russian propaganda since that time has conflated them with the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists(OUN) an older organization which collaborated with Hitler early in the war and with the Ukrainian Central Committee (UCC) which did so in a very ugly fashion throughout the war. Today, Putin is making an even broader claim that ALL Ukrainians who oppose his rule are fascists, without regard for their actual political positions. While there are indeed far too many fascists in Ukraine, that is also true of the United States and Russia. Unlike Ukraine, Russia has a frankly fascist leadership in power today. The Putin-Hitler comparison has come up repeatedly at the protests.

In Russia there have already been nearly 2,000 arrests as protesters have thrown caution to the winds and marched in growing numbers in Moscow, St Petersburg, and dozens of other cities. One protest in Moscow drew over 1,000 protester in spite of the known risk of arrest and even torture in Putin's prisons. Protests in other countries such as the one in DC here in the US let Russian protesters know they do not stand alone. They also let Putin know the whole world is watching.

Feb 27: Ukrainian flags nearly block view of White House in Lafayette Sq

Crowd outside the White House on Thurs (2-24)

Signs on Thurs 2-24 warn "Ukraine is no game"

Protesters at the Russian Embassy on Feb 26

Feb 27: This refers to Ukraine's warning that the war would turn into "the world's largest Molotov cocktail party" for Russia's tanks

Feb 27: Whatever the problems with Ukraine's government, it is Putin that is launching invasions as Hitler did

Feb 27: A new demand from protesters is that Ukraine's allies close the skies over Ukraine to Russia's bombers. Bombs and missiles have rained on residential areas. Putin is fighting like Nixon in Vietnam.

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