For immediate publication
A march and rally organised by Nottingham Ukraine Solidarity Campaign (NUSC) brought together around 350 people in support of Ukraine to mark six months since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
On 24th August Ukrainians traditionally celebrate Ukrainian Independence day but celebrations this year were tempered by the date also being six months since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
Today (August 27th) around 350 people of all ages, consisting of local residents, the local Ukrainian community and recently arrived refugees fleeing from war held a march and rally to raise awareness of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and to highlight the continued resolve of Ukrainians and people around the world to overcome Putin’s oppression.
People gathered at Speakers’ Corner by the Brian Clough statue in Nottingham city centre and marched down a busy Parliament Street to Sneinton Market.
People held banners showing solidarity with Ukraine and saying that Russia should get out of Ukraine. The crowd chanted for Ukraine to be free in both English and Ukrainian and called Russia a terrorist state. Banners were also on display highlighting Russian war crimes, nuclear terrorism, and asking for the release of POWs illegally sentenced to death in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic including Nottinghamshire man Aiden Aslin. A group of protestors from the local Hong Kong campaign also joined the march in solidarity with their own struggle against an oppressive dictatorship.
At Sneinton Market supporters gave messages of solidarity and Ukrainians spoke about their experiences, sang the State Anthem of Ukraine and staged a performance of a locally produced short play. The play showed a young lady who represented Ukraine with her children and possessions being stolen by people wearing the Russian ‘Z’ for invasion symbol. It represented the impact of war on Ukraine but at the same time showed the resolve of the Ukrainian people to overcome the invasion and the support from other countries around the world.
Michael Holod, branch chair of the Nottingham Ukrainian Cultural Centre, said: “Since 24th February we have witnessed with our own eyes the evil that the cancer we know as Putin has spread and will be accountable for.
“We now have displaced adults and children amongst us here in Nottingham and in the UK at large, ask them what they have witnessed and why they have left their country if you have doubts about any of the western media.
“The support in the UK must continue and we are forever grateful to anyone who has made a donation of any kind and in particular those who have opened their hearts and homes to Ukrainian refugees.”
Zhenia Myronenko, Ukrainian citizen recently arrived in the UK, said: “When the full-invasion started I had to leave my flat and I moved to Lviv in western Ukraine. I tried to find work there but it was impossible so I took the opportunity to travel with a friend who was going to Krakow in Poland. Someone there told me about the UK program that supports Ukrainians. I applied at the end of March and waited about six weeks for my application to be processed.
“At the refugee centre in Poland there was a lot of noise, always from people and their pets. When I finally got to the UK in June I slept for ages. My host and the local Ukrainian Cultural Centre have been very supportive.
“It is important to have protests like today so that we as Ukrainians can communicate with the British public and explain what is happening there and who we are. I want people to know that we are glad and happy to talk with them, we have a right to say what we have seen and it is helpful to us for people to listen to us.”
Pete Radcliff, NUSC organiser, said: “European governments including Britain are not doing enough to combat the hugely wealthy oligarchs behind Putin. By Zelensky’s own reports, at the start of the war every government thought Ukraine would be defeated in a matter of days. Even now, many Western governments and businesses are keen to return to ‘business as usual’ with the Russian regime. We must not allow that. The assets in British banks of any Russian oligarch, the oil oligarchs in particular, who don’t denounce Putin and his wars should be seized, not just frozen. The price for their oil should not be paid in the lives of the Ukrainian people or soldiers. Dependency on the oil of the Russian oligarchs should end.
“A future Ukraine must be no longer crippled with the international debt built up by the oligarchs greed and now by this war.
“We must make sure that arms are supplied urgently to Ukraine for it to defeat the Russian army. Western government leaders must be held to their promises as above all, the Russian invasion must be beaten back.”
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