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World stops to stand behind Ukraine and condemn Putin

© PAPeople take part in a demonstration on Whitehall, at the entrance to Downing Street, London, to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
People take part in a demonstration on Whitehall, at the entrance to Downing Street, London, to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The world stopped yesterday to stand behind the embattled people of Ukraine.

Demonstrations in towns and cities in Scotland were mirrored around the globe as protests against Vladimir Putin’s invasion gained momentum.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Europe, with protesters in Berlin, Athens, Helsinki, Madrid and Milan draping themselves in flags and holding “stop the war” placards.

Stefan Pischel, one of 2,500 protestors in Munich, said: “You look at the people gathered here and everybody is scared. We had peace for 80 years and all of a sudden, war is back in Europe.”

An estimated 20,000 people attended a rally held in the Swiss capital of Bern. In Istanbul, Ukrainians living in Turkey sang their national anthem.

Meanwhile, protestors gathered for a third day outside the Russian consulate in Melville Street, Edinburgh, with placards denouncing the Kremlin’s actions. Dozens also gathered outside the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in a display of solidarity with Ukraine.

Marjan Pokhyly, originally from Kyiv and now living in Edinburgh, said he was concerned for his grandmother. He said: “On her house there was a mark for artillery strike. I don’t know if the mark has been rubbed off, but there were people dressed in regular clothes and they were walking around marking for artillery to strike.”

Also demonstrating was Ukrainian Vlada Kren, who urged: “World, please help. Don’t wait for Putin to attack you, because if it’s as easy as it’s been for Ukraine, he won’t stop at Ukraine, he will attack the rest of the world.

“I know the Scottish Government supports Ukrainians very much, but we hope that support will be even bigger because we need to protect the air space on Ukraine as Russia is bombarding them. We need real support, not words.”

Hundreds of protestors also gathered outside the Russian embassy in London, as well as Downing Street. Waving flags, banners and placards comparing the Russian president to Adolf Hitler, protesters chanted “Putin stop war”, “Putin go home” and “Free Ukraine”.

The embassy’s walls in Kensington Palace Gardens were covered in chalk-written messages, drawings of Ukrainian flags, splattered eggs and fake blood.

Several hundred people marched through heavy rain in Sydney chanting “Ukraine will prevail”, while protesters in Tokyo called for Russia to be expelled from the UN Security Council.

Hundreds of people demonstrated in the square in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, carrying signs such as “Make Ukraine a member of Nato now” and “Say no to Putin”.