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Monday, September 01, 2014
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Published: Monday, 3/31/2014

Toledo protesters seek to keep U.S. out of war over Ukraine

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Janice Flahiff of Toledo, Karen Wolf of Bowling Green, and Jeff Zenz of Whitehouse protest in the Westgate area of Toledo. Coalition members urged the United States not to take military action against Russia. Janice Flahiff of Toledo, Karen Wolf of Bowling Green, and Jeff Zenz of Whitehouse protest in the Westgate area of Toledo. Coalition members urged the United States not to take military action against Russia.
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The Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition is urging President Obama to avoid going to war with Russia in Ukraine.

About a dozen of the group’s members and friends held a demonstration Sunday at one of West Toledo’s busiest intersections, Secor Road and Central Avenue, to draw attention to rising tensions between the United States and Russia following the latter’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.

“There’s clearly been a lot of war talk about the Ukraine,” said Steve Miller, coalition spokesman. “Certainly, while we’re not crazy about what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s been doing, the Cold War’s over and needs to stay over. Sending in troops should be off the table.

“I think people are tired of war and putting lives at risk,” Mr. Miller added.

Another coalition member, Terry Lodge, an attorney who lives in the nearby community of Holland, said NATO military exercises are a “preamble to a ground war” reminiscent of the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

“This is a drumbeat to war,” Mr. Lodge said.

Several people honked or shouted in support from passing automobiles during the 90-minute event, which began at noon. Demonstrators held signs with slogans such as “Honk for Peace” and “Stop War Games.” A large banner which said, “Stop the Slide to War in Ukraine” was held by Mr. Miller and another man.

Recent developments include an hourlong phone call on Friday between Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin, which the Associated Press said the Russian leader had initiated.

Mr. Putin, who is believed to have put as many as 40,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s border, gave his reasons for moving into the Crimea region of southern Ukraine and apparently was unfazed by Mr. Obama’s insistence to withdraw.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea has been condemned as illegal and a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United States and Europe have imposed sanctions on senior Russian officials in response, a move supported by 56 percent of Americans, according to a CBS News poll.

Sixty-five percent of Americans do not want the United States to provide military aid and weapons to Ukraine, and 57 percent do not believe America has a responsibility to get involved, the poll said.

Information from the Associated Press and Reuters news services was used in this article.

Contact Tom Henry at: thenry@theblade.com or 419-724-6079.



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