By Reena Bhardwaj
Washington [US], February 25 (ANI): Demonstrators gathered outside the White House for a rally that followed hours of demonstrations outside the Russian Embassy throughout the day, when Ukrainians began gathering overnight in the aftermath of Russia’s military operations.
Also Read | Russia-Ukraine Crisis: PM Narendra Modi Speaks to President Vladimir Putin, Calls for Immediate Cessation of Violence.
In Lafayette Square Park, just outside the White House fence, the demonstrators urged President Joe Biden to do more to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advance. The group was seen holding blue and yellow Ukrainian flags, that were held high as people shouted for “stop the war!”, “sanctions now!” and “defend Ukraine now!”
Many from Ukraine, who still have family members there were teary-eyed. They told ANI that they fear for the safety of their family members back in Ukraine.
Also Read | ‘Russia Was Left With No Other Choice’, Says President Vladimir Putin on Military Operations in Ukraine.
“Most of my family is in the west of Ukraine, a lot of people have been evacuated and hoped they are safe but even now it’s uncertain if it will be safe,” said Maryna, a volunteer of United Help Ukraine that organized the protest.
“We want to make sure sanctions are enacted now. We want to stop the war,” Maryana told ANI.
A protestor who did not want to share his name, like many others at the protest, expressed fear, worry, and uncertainty about the fate of his family members and of Ukraine itself.
One man said that even though he is here, he is constantly worried about his family members who have now moved to Western Ukraine. He said he feels helpless and doesn’t know what he can do now to help them.
The group repeatedly called on Biden to do more to support Ukraine, such as imposing harsher sanctions on President Putin than the ones already instituted.
The demonstrators stood outside the White House in the bitter cold and rainy weather said they plan to continue their protest over the weekend.
Meanwhile, protests were also seen in cities across Russia, where thousands of people defied police threats to take to central squares and protest against the military campaign.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday praised the courage of Russians protesting the military operations in neighboring Ukraine despite government threats.
Psaki highlighted mass demonstrations in cities like St. Petersburg and open letters and social media posts from Russian journalists and celebrities speaking out against President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch operations in Ukraine early Thursday morning.
“I think it’s important to remember back in 2014 when they didn’t even acknowledge they were sending Russian soldiers, they didn’t even acknowledge there were body bags coming back from Ukraine into Russia,” Psaki said, referencing the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. “And there is an outcry in the streets by Russian people, by more Russian people than I think many would expect.”
“Despite Putin’s crackdown at home, dissenting views remain, and I think that’s important to note,” Psaki continued. “To publicly protest against President Putin and his war is a deeply courageous act. Their actions show the world that despite the Kremlin’s propaganda, there are Russian people who profoundly disagree with what he is doing in Ukraine.” (ANI)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)