Protesters at Russian embassy shown videos of war weapons in action

For the third day in a row, Thais and foreigners staged a protest in front of the Russian embassy in Bangkok, demanding an end to the Ukraine invasion.

Demonstrators put up banners at the gathering site.

Protesters demonstrated across the street from the Russian embassy from 14.00 to 17.00. Many carried banners calling for an end to the invasion.  Ahead of the gathering, police officers took up positions in front of the embassy entrance, which was blocked with metal fences.  Some 30 - 40 plainclothes and uniformed police officers were also on site. 

Thai police stand guard at the Russian Embassy entrance.

An embassy security officer said that the embassy closed in advance of the protest at 12.00.

During the protest, an LED screen on the wall of the embassy displayed film clips from a 2020 International Military Technical Forum, an event held by the Russian Ministry of Defense, showing footage of military weapons in action, prompting criticism from protesters across the road.

With news on Monday of continued fierce fighting, despite a glimmer of hope from aninitial Russian-Ukrainian negotiation, the protesters came to express their opposition to the invasion and support for Ukrainian soldiers and citizens.

Nastya, a Ukrainian expat who arrived in Thailand in October 2021, said she came to the protest to stand with her native country. She is from Chernihiv, in the north of Ukraine. Her friends and family are still there. 

She described the situation in her hometown as “extremely dangerous” and said that houses, hospitals, and kindergartens were being targeted.

“On my street, where I used to live and I grew up, many houses are bombed, and people basically don’t have their houses anymore, thanks to Russian army,” Nastya said. 

Her family told her that they had taken refuge in a shelter to avoid the bombing risk.

Another protester, Bogdan, came from central Ukraine. His mother told him earlier in the day that his hometown was still relatively safe. He hopes it will remain that way until the end of the war and said that the Ukrainian people want the war to end as soon as possible.  He added that their military and president were doing their best. 

“We’re also trying to do our best in a foreign country. We want people around the world to hear us, hear our pain, our situation, because it’s not fair. It’s not justice,” he said. 

Alina, also from central Ukraine, called upon Thai people to support Ukraine.

“Please support us as much as you can. Please post on Instagram, Facebook or whatever. Help us spread information and know the truth about Russia and about Putin.”

Kateryna, a Ukrainian whose home is near Kiev, told Prachatai that her family was evacuated from the capital but insist on remaining in Ukraine.

“My family told me that they woke up from the bombs all around. They hear the shooting everywhere, around because right now they are staying close to Belarus…  a lot of soldiers, armies and tanks come from that side so it’s not calm there.”

Several Americans were also at the protest. Kristin, from Arkansas, carried a placard with a message to embassy employees: “Your salary is paid with blood money.”

She was living in Ukraine during the 2014 Maidan Revolution when the country’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power and his successor signed political association and free trade agreements with the European Union.

She said that her friends in Ukraine are evacuating cities target by Russia to a safer places in the countryside.

Kristin called on the US government to help the Ukrainian people. “There is no reason why we shouldn’t help them. If we would help anyone, there’s no reason not to help them. They only want democracy, to raise their children, to have a good life, and to be peaceful. That’s all they want,” she said.

Kenny, from Idaho, asserted that the conflict was not a civil war between Slavic peoples, but an act of aggression by an authoritarian state against one of Europe’s functioning democracies, an invasion that needed to be stopped before the situation deteriorated into another World War 2, where millions were killed.

There were approximately 40-50 protesters at the event. A participant said that the number has been increasing each day.

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