Ukrainians living in
say they want peace, democracy and the rule of law in their homeland.
They condemn Portugal ’s
President Putin for ‘interfering’ in the current crisis there. Russia
Ukraine is opposed to the rule of force,
intimidation and provocations from President Putin’s side,” Pavlo Sadokha, president of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal, told us.
Members of the association have been holding regular protest demonstrations outside the Russian Embassy in
. These seem set
to continue in the run-up to the referendum in which the people of the Autonomous
Republic of Crimea will be asked if they are in favour of becoming a
constituent territory of the Lisbon Russian Federation
and restoring Crimea’s
“We are going do everything we can to wake up public opinion and the political establishment in order to stop Putin’s aggression and interference in Ukraine,” said Mr Sadokha.
He contended that misinformation was being disseminated about the current situation and that some sources were exaggerating divisions.
“First, the Ukrainians are united against Yanukovych’s dictatorship. Now Putin’s aggression has united Ukrainians in an unprecedented way, without regard to language, religion and origin.
“There is a small percentage of people supporting Russia as can be seen in Crimea, but even there a huge part of the population is opposed to the aggression and Anschluss.
“This part of the population, including not only Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians, but also ethnic Russians, is being intimidated and silenced under threat of weapons and physical violence.”
He added: “We believe diplomatic and economic sanctions are important and should be further enhanced. The military containment - not war - is also very important and should be launched.”
There are about 45,000 Ukrainian expatriates living in this country in addition to the 10,000 who have taken out Portuguese citizenship. They represent the second biggest immigrant community after Brazilians.
Ukrainians have been immigrating to
Portugal over the past 20 years because of the
economic hardship and massive unemployment that followed the break-up of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991.
They have been attracted by jobs, particularly in the construction industry, and favourable immigration legislation. After the bloodless ‘Orange Revolution’ in 2004 against a rigged run-off election and amid rising hopes of economic improvement, a number of Ukrainians returned home.
With the rise of austerity in
country is not so attractive anymore and Ukrainians have been moving to
better-off countries in the EU, including Germany,
France and the . UK
Mr Sadokha confirmed that Ukrainians living abroad not only keep very close ties with their families and developments back home, but hugely contribute to the Ukrainian economy through remittances.