Russia Upset Over Free Speech at Embassies, Demands Protection

During a recent meeting with U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan in Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov voiced concerns for its diplomatic staffers employed at embassies in Canada and the United States amid protests near its facilities.

The demonstrations are anti-war demonstrations over the invasion of Ukraine. 

Ryabkov asked Sullivan to ensure the safety of workers at the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C. The foreign minister also called on the Canadian ambassador to Moscow over demonstrations at the Russian embassy in Ottawa and two other consulates. 

Russia threatened Canada with retaliation if it failed to ensure the safety of its diplomats and complained over what it says are “hostile protests.” The foreign ministry called the Canadian ambassador to lodge a formal protest.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has sparked global anger, protests, and condemnation. Russian embassies have seen numerous crowds protesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Several industries have also announced boycotts on products produced in Russia, including vodka.

In London, anti-war protestors hurled eggs at the Russian embassy. In Ireland, Father Fergal MacDonagh threw red paint over the Russian embassy in Dublin. He urged the people of Ireland to continue protesting the unprovoked attack.

MacDonagh was among many speakers addressing the Dublin protest, that was attended by thousands of demonstrators. The Ukranian ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, also spoke to the gathered crowd warning that her country was on the brink of a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

Backlash

The Russian president has also faced backlash from his citizens. Anti-war demonstrations have taken place in several Russian cities.

Several Russian cities have seen protests since the invasion of Ukraine. Russian authorities have cracked down on the demonstrators, arresting thousands of protesters. 

The Kremlin continues to downplay the protests, arguing that the Russian public broadly supports the invasion. In contrast, more than 1 million people in 200 cities worldwide gathered to protest the attack.

Demonstrators marched in the street on six continents to protest the war and support of Ukraine.

Every neighboring country of Ukraine has seen major protests, including Russia and Belarus. Some cities saw demonstrations with thousands of demonstrators. In Tbilisi, Georgia, almost 1% of the country’s population protested in demonstrations that have stretched on for days. 

In Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, eighty thousand people turned out in the central city squares. The Czech people are no strangers to a Russian invasion.

In 1968, Soviet-led armies invaded Czechoslovakia and crushed the Prague Spring democratic reform movement, restoring the controlling, totalitarian communist regime. 

Berlin, Germany, the capital, saw more than 100,000 gather in support of Ukraine. Germany has also pledged to increase weapons delivery to Ukraine. Before Russia invaded, the country had refused to supply Ukraine with weapons

Protests inside Russia have seen more than 7,000 arrests. The Russian government made it illegal in 2004 to publicly protest without permission from authorities. Jailed opposition leader Alexai Navalny calls on Russians to stage daily protests against the invasion.

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