Sofiia Sadanenko for NP-UN from Ottawa.
In addition to fundraisings and other supports for newcomers from Ukraine and sending humanitarian aid to the home country, the Ukrainian hromada in Ottawa is capitalizing on the city’s capital status and is trying to influence the political decisions where they are made. The recent activities of the hromada in Ottawa have focused on delivering key messages to different countries – allies of Ukraine through their embassies.
The previous two weeks were very productive. During the week of March 13th, Ukrainian Ottawans have been gathering in front of the U.S. Embassy demanding more military equipment and a better plan of action for their homeland. For five days straight, from Tuesday to Saturday, people have been outside of the U.S. Embassy with Ukrainian flags and signs that read, “Jets for Ukraine”, “NATO do your job” and “No Fly Zone over Ukraine”.
On Friday, the Syrian community took this opportunity to support the movement as well as express their discontent with the Russian government. Anti-Putin and Anti-Assad Syrians had a worldwide protest in support of Ukraine, as they experienced 11 years of western inaction since the start of the Syrian revolution. They were asking for the no-fly zone all that time. After the rally at the U.S. Embassy, they went to the Russian Embassy together with the Ukrainian protesters, waving Ukrainian flags and honking air raid signals, simulating the conditions which citizens in most cities in Ukraine currently live in.
NATO’s passive behavior during this war is frustrating many. The question is: when enough is enough? Do Ukrainians have to wait for their country to be completely wiped out for NATO to act? Putin will keep using his nuclear card no matter what. He is going to come up with new conditions and new threats for NATO and the rest of the world every single time. This is why the Ukrainians of Ottawa are standing in front of the U.S. Embassy demanding legitimate action before the situation turns out for worse.
The week of March 20th, the Ukrainians gathered in front of the German Embassy to protest the continuing trade between the European Union, including Germany, and Russia. Simultaneously, the Ukrainian activists are blocking trucks at the Poland-Belarus border and are demanding to cease dual-use products exports from the EU to Russia. The Ukrainian community of Ottawa is supporting the Ukrainian and Polish volunteers that are protesting at that border. The activists had a chance to talk to Manuel Furtwängler, Head of the Political Department at the German Embassy. They handed a petition with several key messages including the requests to cease any trade with the aggressor, in particular in dual-purpose goods used to fuel the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The Ukrainians of Ottawa will continue to demand action from the European Union and NATO until they get the response that Ukraine needs. They will continue to file petitions to cut any connections and trade between the EU and Russia. Activists will continue to stand in front of embassy buildings until they see change and until Ukraine’s needs are met.