Embassy rally against Russian aggression

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More than a hundred people gathered at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in downtown Riga Friday afternoon to protest against Moscow-sponsored agression in Ukraine, Latvia’s Ukrainian Congress spokeswoman Olga Berga told Latvian Radio.  



“We can safely say Russia is a state that supports terror,” said the Ukrainian community activist. She said nobody from the Embassy had come out to speak with the demonstrators and that the windows were drawn shut. “I think they see and hear. I hope they’ll hear us. We cannot keep silent, we must speak to the events happening in Ukraine,” she added.

Latvijas Ukraiņu kongresa pārstāve Olga Berga
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Information agency LETA reports the crowd at about sixty people, holding posters, Latvian and Ukrainian flags and handing out ribbons in the Ukrainian flag’s colors. Traffic in the vicinity was partially blocked by the activities. Police have detained three persons for disturbing the peace, LETA also observed.

Another Congress spokeswoman Oksana Lazda told LETA the rally was meant to demonstrate Latvia’s solidarity with Ukraine during this escalating crisis in relations with Russia.

Among the poster messages and slogans being shouted in both languages: “Stop Russian aggression”; “Hands off Ukraine”; “Hands off Latvia”.

Rally organizers used loudspeakers to declare that Russia must stop its “campaign of murder” in Ukraine’s Donbas region and the Crimean peninsula. The demonstrators sang the national anthems of Ukraine and Latvia and paid their respects to the almost 300 victims of the downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17).

The organizers of the event are also urging participants to sign a resolution against Russia's interference in Ukraine's domestic affairs, as well as make a procession to the Embassy of the Netherlands in Riga to honor those killed in yesterday's passenger jet downing, adds LETA’s latest update.

Earlier today participants from the World Choir Games sang to express their condolences at the Netherlands’ Embassy in Riga, where the national flag flew at half-mast in honor of the country’s 154 citizens among the 298 passengers and crew who lost their lives in the disaster.

At this time it is known that MH17 went down in pieces Thursday evening over the Donbas region just before entering Russian airspace. Both the Ukrainian authorities and separatist operatives deny launching the land-to-air missiles that apparently destroyed the plane in mid-air before its debris fell to the ground near the village of Grabov.

Initial evidence points to pro-Russian separatist units stationed nearby who had bragged on social media about downing a Ukrainian military cargo plane and then subsequently erased the posts. Unconfirmed transcripts of telephone conversations between Russian military operatives and the separatist fighters also suggest such a possibility. Meanwhile Russian media report witnesses claiming sightings of Ukrainian military aircraft and accused Ukraine of downing the plane under the mistaken assumption it was carrying president Vladimir Putin himself.


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