Mass protests in Kyiv against disarming Ukrainian army as part of new truce in Donbas

The protest near the President's Office. Photo: Olena Makarenko/Euromaidan Press 

Russian Aggression

On 27 July, roughly a thousand protesters rallied near the building of the President’s Office in Kyiv against a new truce in Donbas which they see as a way to Ukraine’s defeat in the war conducted by Russia.

The protest, titled “Our army is a guarantor of peace, and Russia is an occupant,” was organized by the Capitulation Resistance Movement, a non-partisan public association.

The truce came into force on 27 July and was violated by Russian-backed forces which shelled Ukrainian Army positions after some mere minutes.
The agreement on the truce was reached on 22 July at a regular meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group consisting of representatives fron Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE, held in a video conference format.
The protesters believe that the truce plan disarms the Ukrainian army by forbidding firing back and conducting intelligence activities which leaves the army without “eyes” in the conditions of war. Any resistance to the aggressor might lead to disciplinary responsibility.

As well, protesters opposed Russia carrying no responsibility in the truce, which legitimizes its proxy statelets in eastern Ukraine, the Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics” (“LNR”, “DNR”).

“Russia basically turns into an observer. Ukraine will be forced to negotiate with the so-called ‘LNR’ and ‘DNR’,” the announcement of the protest said.

Sign at the protest. “We will not allow to not turn our defenders into defenseless targets.” Photos: Olena Makarenko/Euromaidan Press

The activists also voiced their demands:

  • Stop disarming Ukrainian forces;
  • Cancel the prohibition to fire back.
  • Increase funding for soldiers and cancel the reduction of the Armed Forces of Ukraine until the total victory over Russia;
  • Cancel the prohibition on using intelligence and air reconnaissance;
  • Do not fulfill Russia’s demands on providing “LNR” and “DNR” with a special administrative status and conducting local elections there until the territories are totally deoccupied;
  • Do not reopen the water supply to occupied Crimea from mainland Ukraine;
  • Strengthen sanctions against the aggressor;
  • Stop the persecution of military volunteers, particularly – to free the Andriy Antonenko and Yuliya Kuzmenko suspected in killing Belarus-Ukrainian journalist Pavlo Sheremet.

Read also: Proof in Sheremet murder case sorely lacking as prosecutors accused of doctoring evidence

Volodymyr Balukh, ex-political prisoner of the Kremlin at the protest. Photo: Olena Makarenko/Euromaidan Press

“Vova, you louse! It’s you who killed sergeant Zhuravel over four days.” A protester asks for Zelenskyy’s responsibility on the tragic death of Ukraine’s secret service agent Yaroslav Zhuravel, who was injured on a mission to retrieve the dead body of a Ukrainian officer in Donbas as Russian-militant troops opened fire despite agreements not to. No rescue mission was sent to save the wounded Zhuravel, who died after four days in enemy territory.

Sign at the protest: “Ukraine will not forget betrayal.” Photo: Olena Makarenko/Euromaidan Press

Also, the activists demanded to start an investigation against the officials who signed the truce. These include Andriy Yermak, the head of the President’s Office, Ruslan Demchenko, deputy head of the State Security and Defence Council deputy, Andriy Taran, the Minister of Defence, and Ruslan Khomchak, the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Oleksiy Reznikov, deputy head of Ukraine’s delegation in the Trilateral Contact Group stated that it is too early to talk about the “violation of the truce” and that the ceasefire violation should be investigated and explained with the participation of the OSCE representatives.

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