Rival Demonstrations held in Russia over the Ukraine

Rival rallies held in Russia over Ukraine

Sun Mar 2, 2014 11:53PM GMT

Russia’s deployment of troops in Ukraine’s Crimea region has sparked rival rallies in the capital Moscow both in support and against the move, Press TV reports.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of people held rallies in support of the Russian-speaking people of Ukraine in Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities across Russia.

According to police sources, at least 27,000 people, including members of the patriotic youth groups and veterans’ organizations, gathered around Pushkin Square in central Moscow to express their support for Russia’s deployment of military forces to neighboring Ukraine.

Carrying Russia’s national flags, the demonstrators shouted “Russia and Ukraine are brothers forever,” and “Crimea, Russia is with you.”

“We are worried about the developments in Ukraine where millions of our compatriots live,” the organizers of the rallies said, adding, “We don’t abandon our people.”

“The Ukrainians are our fraternal nation, which is historically connected to us and has unified cultural and spiritual roots with Russia,” they added.

According to the report, almost 15,000 people participated in the rallies in St Petersburg.

“The main idea of the demonstration is to express outrage about the treatment of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine,” said Orlana Zapolskaya from the United Russia party.

On the same day, a few hundred people reportedly held rival rallies in Russia, saying the deployment of the troops to Crimea will lead to “a full-scale war in the region.”

Hundreds of Russian troops are reportedly heading towards the autonomous region of Crimea in southern Ukraine as the political crisis continues in the former Soviet state.

Kiev has also called up all military reservists in preparation for a possible military conflict in the region.

Ukraine has been gripped by unrest since November 2013, when ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, refrained from signing an Association Agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

The Ukrainian parliament removed Yanukovych from power last week and named Oleksandr Turchynov, the legislature’s speaker, as the country’s interim president

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