Ukraine demands arrest of 50 European anti-fascists for ‘terrorism’

By Joan Cantarero, Publico

May 5: Kiev has called on the European Union to arrest and extradite to Ukraine for “terrorism” 50 anti-fascist militants — seven of them Spanish — for participating in a solidarity act in the Donbass region under Russian control [sic].

The Ukrainian government has described as a “terrorist act” the visit of a group of about fifty European Communist militants who participated in the “Antifascist Caravan to Donbass” from April 29 to May 5.

Photos: Juli Zamarron / Caravan Antifascista
Such an initiative has been described by the Ukrainian authorities as “a violation of its borders” and therefore considers its participants as perpetrators of the crime of illegal entry into their country for criminal purposes. At present the Donbass region is under control of the Russian authorities [sic], although the Ukrainian army maintains a military tension on the main cities to try to recover this territory.

In the context of solidarity with the inhabitants of the region, this caravan has been organized for three years, driven by the musical group “Banda Bassotti,” with support of the Italian and European left. These caravans have been joined by other organizations such as the Rubén Ruiz Ibárruri Brigade in Madrid and the Unión Sindical de Base in Italy, which bring new members.

A risky trip

To access the conflict zone, the participants of the caravan must travel to Moscow and from there go to Rostov by plane. Once at their destination, a convoy awaits them to start the last stretch to the cities to be visited, such as Lugansk, Donetsk, Stakhanov or Gorlovka, loaded with medicines, toys, food, warm clothing and footwear. During their stay they provide personal, medical and entertainment assistance to cope with day-to-day life.

To stop MEP Eleonora Forenza

In this regard, the Ukrainian authorities consider that such a solidarity initiative entails an illegal entry into its territory. For this reason, the European Union is asked to detain and extradite all participants in that visit “to the temporarily occupied region of Donbass” to “be prosecuted for violation of Ukrainian anti-terrorist legislation.”

This time the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine sent a letter to the Italian authorities on April 28 with very tough demands. The Ukrainian government knew that among the members of this multinational group formed by Italian, Spanish, British, Greek and German Communists was also the Italian MEP Eleonora Forenza, spokeswoman for culture and communication of Refundazione Comunista and member of the United Left Group of the European Parliament, where the four MEPs from the United Left are integrated.

In the official letter — according to a statement made public by the Kiev foreign ministry spokeswoman Maryana Betsa — “we asked the Italian authorities to arrest [the MEP] and the rest of the group before physically reaching the Donbass.”

The 50 participants in this third edition of the Antifascist Caravan to Donbass arrived this morning in Moscow, after finishing nine days of stay in the conflict zone. Throughout the day the group will divide up to travel to their respective destinations. Coinciding with this, the Ukrainian government has called on European governments to arrest all participants “as soon as they reach their respective destinations,” which are scheduled for today, the newspaper has learned.

Source

Translated by Greg Butterfield

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