Anton landed on Wednesday at Barajas airport from Kiev with his five friends to spend a few days on vacation in Madrid. That same night, Russia launched a military offensive against several Ukrainian cities. Neither Anton nor his friends speak Spanish, but they have all come to the concentration of the Puerta del Sol where the cries of “long live the struggle of the working class” and “solidarity with the Ukrainian people” do not stop. The truth is that none of them really knows the ideological position of the call, organized by NATO Not Madridwith the declared objective that the Spanish capital does not host the next summit of the Alliance in June and avoid any type of military action in the face of the war in Ukraine.
While some shout, others are silent. Anton, in fact, supports a NATO intervention if necessary. “We’re alone. We have to support our people. We have everyone in Kiev and we don’t know what we are going to do now. We need help from Europe and NATO if it is the only option there is, ”explains this 31-year-old Ukrainian.
Opinions are mixed on the concentration of more than 800 people that has taken place in the center of the capital. The common chant is “no to war”; but the groups and associations attending also position themselves above all – so the call reads – against a possible intervention by the Alliance and maintain that “imperialism is terrorism”.
For Russia, Ukraine’s intention to get closer to the European Union and the NATO sphere, especially since 2013-2014, crossed one of its Red lines, and has been the argument put forward by the Kremlin as a justification for the “special military operation” against Kiev. According to the Russian president Vladimir Putin, the goal of the current offensive is “demilitarize” Ukraine. However, he also stated that the operation would be limited to Donbas and that he had no intention of occupying the rest of the country; This Friday, the siege of the Russian Army is already at the gates of Kiev.
Protests throughout Spain against the invasion in Ukraine
It is precisely the Ukraine’s non-membership in NATO which prevents its direct military intervention in his favor by the Alliance. Despite being a preferred neighbor, the military organization only has a “rescue” capacity when one of its member countries is in danger. Madrid will host the next NATO summit in June, an event in which the Alliance will have to face its own ghosts of Putin’s coup against the current european security architecture.
Although from Spain all the parties have condemned the attack and have positioned themselves “in defense of peace”, the crossroads of today’s meeting is produced by the United Left statement. A sector of the government coalition has expressed not only its rejection of the armed struggle, but also of the military Alliance because “it is a destabilizing factor”.
Bertha Tena Alvaro F. Cruz
The deputy of the United Left in the Assembly of Madrid, vanessa lol, argues his presence at the concentration because “IU was born in the heat of the rejection of NATO. It is our obligation to be here and continue denouncing that NATO is a danger to the peace as it is being shown”.
On their side are the Spanish Workers’ Front, the Students’ Union and the Revolutionary Left. Raúl holds one of the banners of the latter and explains that they are “against any imperialist action come whoever it comes from. We have an absolute rejection of Russia’s position, but also of the role that the West can play, because the ones who pay are the civilians.”
Lazarus confirms. This pensioner walks from one side of the square to the other with the impetus of a young man and defends that “human beings cannot kill each other”. He wears a beret and a “no war” pin and says miss in the demonstration “the right-wing partiesbecause avoiding deaths should be everyone’s commitment”.
The truth is that all political groups have condemned the Russian invasion. They agree in insisting on “the defense of international law” and, after the meeting of the National Security Council held yesterday in Zarzuela, the Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez He assured that the “necessary measures” would be taken. Those who attend the demonstration fear, for the most part, that these “measures” imply an armed intervention by the Alliance.
Lucas Proto E. Andres Pretel
Although the chant against the “nato imperialism” is incessant in the demonstration, also against the “imperialism” of the Russian leader. Putin’s statements last weekend, denying the right to sovereignty of Ukraine (and other former Soviet republics in passing) drew one of the greatest imperialist proclamations of the last decades. Only, this time, it’s nostalgic Russian imperialism.
President Pedro Sánchez also attended today the extraordinary European Council in Brussels, where new sanctions against Moscow have been agreed, including the freezing of Putin’s assets. A 27-year-old ‘rider’ has made a stop on his route to observe the panorama and has doubts. “If I woke up one morning and my relatives had died, I honestly don’t know what position I would have. Would it be enough to simply reach an agreement? I think it wouldn’t be fair to me.”
Criticism of the Ukrainians to the sanctions: “What they have to do is help with planes!”
Because NATO yes and NATO no. But the transversality of sentiment against the war it is unanimous and different voices have come together with a common goal despite their differences. And in the midst of the revolt, the rejection of the Alliance and the Russian invasion, and the group of Ukrainians who came to Madrid to enjoy the holidays, a five-year-old boy walks with his mother hand in hand down Carretas street, on the corner of Sun. “And what is this?”, innocent question. “Well, it’s a concentration of people who don’t support the war,” her mother replies. And he has been so happy with the full security of having understood it perfectly. I wish it were as easy to explain and understand as it is to the eyes of a child.