US Activists Planning Protest Against NATO Expansion Amid Russia-Ukraine Crisis
15:23 GMT 01.03.2022 (Updated: 13:06 GMT 02.03.2022)
© Sputnik / Alexey VitvitskyNATO banners in front of the organization's headquarters in Brussels
© Sputnik / Alexey Vitvitsky/
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US activists are planning a rally to explain to Americans that the current crisis in Ukraine was caused by NATO’s expansion further eastward and the West's support of the 2014 coup in Kiev, Phil Wilayto, co-founder of the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, told Sputnik.
"There already have been protests in more than 70 cities in the US, including four in the Navy center of Norfolk in Virginia. We are now speaking with our allies in the region about holding a larger protest as soon as it can be organized," Wilayto said.
He expressed the belief that NATO's expansion eastward and US support of the 2014 change of power in Ukraine were the two causes of the current crisis.
"These two factors - the steady eastward expansion of NATO to the very borders of Russia, and support for the 2014 coup, are what have led to, and are responsible for, the present crisis," he noted.
Speaking of NATO's enlargement, Wilayto recalled that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the alliance pledged not to move toward Russia, but did not fulfill the commitment. "Two of the six countries bordering Russia - Latvia and Estonia - are now NATO members. Ukraine, with its 1,200-mile border with Russia, has stated in its constitution its desire to join NATO. Meanwhile, it has been acting as a NATO member in all but name," he said.
Last Thursday, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, responding to calls from the Russian-speaking republics of Donetsk and Lugansk for help in countering the aggression of Ukrainian forces, which they had been fighting since 2014. The Russian Defence Ministry said the special operation is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only and the civilian population is not in danger. Moscow says it has no plans to occupy Ukraine.
The move has elicited condemnation from Western leaders and the start of still more sanctions.