The United States should recognize that Crimea has chosen to be part of Russia and immediately lift sanctions against Moscow, Popular Resistance activist group Co-Director Kevin Zeese told Sputnik at a national antiwar conference.

On Friday, the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) hosted a conference in Richmond, Virginia where activists came together to protest against imperialist wars, poverty, environmental destruction, and other forms of injustice.

“We see it as a coup that was supported by the United States and then threatened the Russian-speaking population. Crimea decided they did not want to be part of that,” Zeese said. “The sanctions should be lifted… so they can function economically.”

The United States should not be involved considering the people of Crimea voted for reunifying with Russia, Zeese added.

Zeese said his anti-war group believes that the situation in Ukraine is much different than what has been portrayed by US officials and media.

The United States, particularly the CIA, played a role in undermining Ukraine’s elected president and installing a pro-US president, prime minister and finance minister, he claimed.

“President Porshenko, according to a 2006 State Department cable was labeled in that cable as ‘our man in Ukraine’ and now he’s president. So it’s been very much a US-dominated process and we’ve got to face that reality,” Zeese said.

Zeese said the people of Crimea ought to be able to decide the fate of their own territory.

“It’s up to the Ukrainian people, but I think the proposal put forward by Russia is a good one, which is creating a federation, where east and west Ukraine are separate, that they have their own autonomy but they’re part of one country,” he said.

Anti-war activists feel frustrated with US President Donald Trump’s reneging on his campaign promise to keep the United States away from conflict such as the struggle it is currently engaged in with Russia, Zeese said.

Popular Resistance also wants the United States to abandon its hostile posture toward Syria and Iran, Zeese said.

Zeese said his group is working to mobilize people to protest against aggressive US policies, adding that social media is a valuable tool for anti-war mobilization given the difficulty of getting such voices heard in the US corporate media.

The conference, held at Greater Richmond Convention Center in the US state of Virginia, features panel discussions on history of US-Russia relations, the expansion of NATO, the situation in Ukraine and the phenomenon of color revolutions.

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