For immediate publication
Click here for photos of the 24th Feb candlelit vigil
Click here for photos of the 25th Feb march and rally
Nottingham Ukraine Solidarity Campaign (NUSC) held events on 24th & 25th Feb in support of Ukraine to mark one year since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
24th Feb – Candlelit Vigil
In the evening of Friday 24th February NUSC called for people in Nottingham to gather at Speakers’ corner and hold a candlelit vigil to remember the victims of Russia’s brutal war. Around 250 people attended to express their solidarity with Ukraine.
Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East, spoke to the crowd and said that support for Ukraine must continue even after Russia is pushed out, that Russia must be and will be pushed out and that this war must only end with Ukraine’s victory. Nottingham City Council flew the Ukrainian flag from the Council building and lit the exterior with the Ukrainian blue and yellow colours. Ukrainian folk music was played as well as the State Anthem of Ukraine.
25th Feb – March and rally
The following day NUSC held a large march through Nottingham with over 400 people in attendance. The march started at Speakers’ Corner and went down Long Row, along Clumber Street and then towards Hockley and back to Old Market Square. People held banners highlighting Russian war crimes and terrorist activity.
In Market Square the crowd received messages of support from local community leaders including Lilian Greenwood, MP for Nottingham South, who said that Putin believed the west would grow tired of supporting Ukraine but that today was evidence that Putin was wrong.
Mina Fatemi from campaign group “Women, Life, Freedom” spoke about the struggle of people in Iran against their own oppressive regime, saying that the UK government and other western countries reluctance to list IRCG as a terrorist group was similar to the delays and hesitation which prolong the Russia-Ukraine war and continue to cost lives and livelihoods. She expressed solidarity with Ukraine and anger at the Iranian government providing drones to Russia, saying that no human is truly safe and free until all humans are safe and free.
There were several performances from the Ukrainian community including songs and an emotional performance by group “Only Peremoga” showing the plight and struggle of a family who have their home destroyed and their lives torn apart by the Russian invasion.
Michael Holod, branch chair of the Nottingham Ukrainian Cultural Centre, said: “Last night we held a vigil to remember all those who are no longer with us. To give our respect to all those who have suffered unimaginable pain mentally and physically.
“365 days later and Ukraine is still fighting for its very existence from what we can now say is a recognised terrorist state. Russia has shown what it is really like to the west. We as Ukrainians, have known their true identity for a lot lot longer.
“Look at how President Zelenskyy has every night spoken to his people by video and stayed with them when he could have left the country at the very beginning. Cometh the hour cometh the man, and he has led by example and been humble and resilient under the most trying of circumstances. President Zelenskyy has been a shining beacon for Ukrainian people and shown that Ukrainian people are brave and resilient and will win this war as long as the west gives them the tools to succeed.
“What has Putin done? He has led his country into a cul-de-sac, shown that his regime is corrupt and has no love or respect for its own people, let alone its armed forces which have been misled, misinformed and many been used as cannon fodder.
“It has been a tough year for us all but together we have come through this far and together we must stay, to reach the end of the first phase and win total victory for Ukraine. Total victory is regaining all the territory that Russia is claiming to be its new land, including Crimea.”
Steve Palmer, NUSC organiser, said: “One year ago Russia launched its full scale invasion of a peaceful, democratic, sovereign Ukraine. Russia wages a genocidal war on a scale not seen in Europe since WWII. Russia has and continues to commit heinous acts of barbarity and war crimes against the Ukrainian people. We made a promise, never again, never again is now. We, the free democratic world cannot forget this promise, we must provide all economic, humanitarian and military aid to ensure Ukraine can win this war and win it as quickly as possible, to save as many Ukrainian lives as possible.
“To maintain and to increase this support and to counter the disinformation of Russia, we must raise awareness of Ukraine’s plight. We must be out in the streets to engage with the people, to send a clear message to our leaders of how we feel, that we are behind their support of Ukraine. And we must take the time to remember the cost in Ukrainian lives to defend their and our freedom.”
Tim Porter, NUSC organiser, said: “One year is one year too long. Every life lost and every day that passes is an additional tragedy. Last night was an opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives defending their homeland.
“Now we must do everything in our power to help Ukraine defend itself and bring a swift resolution that includes the complete removal of Russian troops from Ukraine and maintains Ukrainian sovereign integrity including the return of Crimea. Furthermore we must ensure the prosecution of all those responsible for the countless war crimes committed against Ukrainian citizens.
“We are grateful for the support given to Ukraine by the UK government and partners around the world, from anti-tank weapons to MLRS systems, and the recent commitment to deliver Leopard and Challenger tanks. But we must do more. We must listen to the requests of the Ukrainian government, especially the recent request from President Zelenskyy with regards to fighter jets and provide Ukraine with everything it needs as Ukrainians fight to protect themselves from Russian expansionism.”
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NUSC members are available for interview, please arrange by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – To be added to our press list for future events please email the same address.
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