IUAFS flyer: Free all Ukrainian Political Prisoners! Protest in Whitehall

Free all Ukrainian Political Prisoners!

Restore full political and media freedoms!

End the fascist reign of terror in Ukraine!

End the British government’s support for Israeli genocide in Gaza!

Journalists, bloggers, politicians, elected representatives, activists, priests, sportspeople,

even Ukrainian negotiators and military officers…

Arrested, beaten, tortured and murdered

Protest in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street

Thursday 18 January, 6.30-8.00pm

This protest is being held because we believe that the British people should know about crimes being committed on an enormous scale by the Zelensky regime in Ukraine, for which our government has spent billions on training and arms supplies.

The truth about what is happening in this so-called “democracy” has been carefully concealed by our government and mass media. Since February 2022 alone Thousands of Journalists, bloggers, politicians, elected representatives, activists, priests and sportspeople, have been arrested, and some tortured or murdered. Many simply disappeared after being arrested with no charges or trial after many months.

People have been arrested for opposing the war, organising WW2 commemorations, allegedly working with Russian forces by organising humanitarian supplies or corridors, or simply for posts on social media.

In March 2022 the famous peace blogger Gleb Lyashenko was jailed pending trial for treason, for claiming on his blog that Ukraine’s policies had led to the Russian military intervention. In a new item entitled “Fake: Ukraine fully supports freedom of speech”, the pro-Kiev War on Fakes website said this was “because of his pro-Russian statements… (and saying) that Ukraine is the one to blame”. So Lyashenko was arrested simply “because of his pro-Russian statements”, but for the Kiev regime that is not an attack on freedom of speech!

Alexander Matyuschenko, a left-wing campaigner, was arrested in Dnipro, central Ukraine, SBU (Ukrainian intelligence service) and Azov (the largest armed fascist battalion in Ukraine (members). He was tortured and forced to shout the far right salute, “Slava Ukraini!”, and his wife’s hair “was cut off with a knife”.

One of Ukraine’s most prominent human rights activists, Elena Berezhnaya, Director of the Institute of Legal Policy and Social Protection, who has spoken before the UN Security Council, was arrested in March 2022 in Kiev.

One of Ukraine’s leading politicians, Viktor Medvedchuk of the Opposition Platform – For Life party was arrested in April 2022, and photos released by the SBU clearly indicate that he was beaten. He was released in prisoner swap in September 2022.

According to the head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Eduard Dolinsky, 70 year old Yuri Pokrass from Kiev, was sentenced to one and a half years in prison with all of his property confiscated, after sending greetings for on Komsomol Day and the anniversary of the USSR on Facebook. Hundreds if not thousands have received similar sentences for similar “crimes”.

For most of those arrested there has been no news whatsoever, and no announcement of a trial. This is in line with the corrupt and lawless nature of Ukraine since 2014, including the failure to hold any investigation into the killing of over 40 peaceful anti-fascist protesters when the Trade Unions House in Odessa was surrounded and petrol bombed by a fascist and nationalist mob on May 2 2014.

But these arrests are only one part of the picture. After the Russian intervention in February 2022, areas recaptured by Ukrainian forces were “cleansed” by Kiev’s forces and armed far right units, and many local officials and ordinary citizens were brutally murdered.

On 3 March 2022 the Daily Mail reported that “The pro-Russian mayor of a city in eastern Ukraine who welcomed President Vladimir Putin’s invasion was ‘shot dead’ after being kidnapped from his home. Several mayors and other Ukrainian officials have been killed since the outbreak of war, many reportedly by Ukrainian state agents after engaging in de-escalation talks with Russia”.

Interior Minister adviser Anton Gerashchenko claimed on Facebook that Struk was had “actively pursued a ‘pro-Russian position’ “.

Four days later the mayor of Gostomel, Yuri Prylipko, was found murdered after negotiating with Russian forces for a civilian evacuation corridor, and in April 2022 investigative website The Grayzone claimed that “eleven mayors from various towns in Ukraine are missing”.

Mainstream media reports reveal that many people in eastern and southern Ukraine welcomed the Russian troops and their Donbas militia allies. As Russian speakers, with widespread positive views of Russian and Soviet history, they had experienced eight years of abuse from organisations from Kiev and Western Ukraine: the SBU, Azov Battalion and the Hitler-admiring Right Sector.

An ITV News report from Mariupol during fighting in 2014, after the uprising against the coup in Kiev in east Ukraine shows one man saying “Our government is killing us, it’s very scary”, while a woman tells the ITV reporter: “We won’t ever be under this fascist government”.

ITV reporter James Mates reported: “We found Ukrainian forces at the central police station being jeered and abused by crowds of furious locals. When the crowd got too close, the soldiers opened fire above their heads”. After the fighting, “the city was seething with anger, barricades going up. It is a curious way to persuade ordinary people that they have a future in Ukraine.”

Similar views were described by BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale, reporting from the Donbas near Mariupol on Radio 4’s Today programme on 6 April 2022:

“The extraordinary thing was that most people did not blame president Putin for the bombs… they thought it was as much Ukraine’s fault… this is very different from Kiev, there’s lots of people here who are pro-Russian, who have a very different viewpoint”.

The whole world knows that after the 2014 Western-backed “Maidan” coup the new regime in Kiev embarked on a campaign to push Russian out of all areas of life. In March 2022 a poll by Sociological Group Rating said that around 20% of Ukrainians considered Russian to be their native language, although perhaps 60% also speak and read Russian. The reality is that when Ukraine was first defined as a republic in 1921, it included large areas of the south and east which were completely Russian.

Last year Ukraine’s State Language Protection Commissioner Taras Kremin said that Ukrainians who speak Russian should not be called “Russian-speaking,” claiming that this term was simply “Russian propaganda”. He also insisted there were only Ukrainians in Ukraine, some of whom had been “Russianised.”

International Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity (IUAFS) has been campaigning for six years in solidarity with anti-fascists in Ukraine, thousands of whom have paid with their lives, torture or prison for resisting the regime installed in 2014 with the support of Britain, the US and EU.

IUAFS members have participated in every protest since October 7 in solidarity with the people of Palestine and the Gaza Strip. In our view the same Western governments who have supported the Ukraine regime with billions in weapons and money, including Britain, have done nothing to stop Israel committing open genocide in Gaza, with hospitals and civilians deliberately targeted and so far 9,000 children killed.

In fact Britain and the US are continuing to send weapons to Israel, and after they and the EU condemned recent Russian missile strikes in Ukraine, they have failed to declare that Israel is committing genocide or to demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

The entire world is witness to Israel’s war crimes, and to the hypocrisy of the Western governments who support, arm and finance both Ukraine and Israel.

(For more details and sources for the cases described above please email: uk****************@gm***.com).

Organised by International Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity



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