People around the world gather to mark one year since Russian invasion of Ukraine
World landmarks were lighted up in the colors of Ukraine’s national flag as people around the globe threw their support behind the country on Friday, the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
The Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower and Sydney Opera House gleamed in yellow and blue in solemn remembrance of the Feb. 24, 2022, outbreak of the war, which has affected economies worldwide, bringing shortages of energy, grain and fertilizer.
The date drew people to peace rallies and other events in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, as well as Europe.
Among the memorials, stunts and ceremonies, a wrecked Russian tank was put on display in Berlin, a bloody cake with a skull on top of it was left in a Belgrade street, Ukraine’s flag was held aloft amid tears in the sizzling Bangkok sun, and Japanese monks prayed for the dead.
The rusting T-72 tank was placed outside the prominent Russian Embassy building on the German capital’s Unter den Linden boulevard.
Across the country, Ukrainians looked back on a year of war with both sorrow and pride as their president vowed to push for victory over Russia.
The tank was struck in the Kyiv region in the early stages of the war. It was taken to Berlin by a private group that said it was on loan from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Military History Museum. Destroyed Russian armor litters parts of Ukraine after months of battlefield setbacks for the Kremlin’s forces.
“The whole world should see that there are many people in Germany who stand behind Ukraine, so that’s why we’re putting the Russians’ scrap tank in front of their door,” said Wieland Giebel of the group Berlin Story, who was one of the exhibit’s organizers.
In Serbia, whose government has maintained friendly relations with Russia and has refused to join Western sanctions designed to punish Moscow for the invasion, police moved in to stop a group of antiwar activists from reaching the Russian Embassy in the capital, Belgrade.
The activists had planned to hand over a demand that Russian President Vladimir Putin be tried on charges genocide in Ukraine. They left a cake with red icing representing blood and a skull on top on the pavement near the embassy.
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stepped outside his office at No. 10 Downing St., joining Ukraine’s ambassador and Ukrainian soldiers being trained in the United Kingdom for a minute of silence in commemoration of those killed in the fighting.
Attacks on infrastructure still pose a threat, but Ukraine has largely withstood Russia’s bid to plunge the country into the dark and cold of winter.
King Charles III published a message lauding the “remarkable courage and resilience” of the Ukrainian people.
A young pianist who had fled Ukraine with her mother when the war broke out gave a solo performance at a shopping mall in the city of Liverpool in northwest England.
Alisa Bushuieva, 13, wore a traditional Ukrainian floral headband and dress as she played her country’s national anthem.
At a convention center in Utrecht, Netherlands, about 2,000 Ukrainian refugees gathered to hear by video link a speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and in Brussels hundreds waved the Ukrainian flag and chanted “Slava Ukraini!” (Glory to Ukraine).
People placed candles on the steps of Helsinki Cathedral at a memorial for Ukraine war victims, and quotations about peace printed on jute bags were displayed in Rome as part of an installation by Italian artist Gianfranco Meggiato titled “The Meeting: The Symbol of Peace.”
In Warsaw, thousands of Poles, Ukrainians and Belarusians protested outside the Russian Embassy, holding national flags and signs with the names of Ukrainians killed in the war.
President Biden delivered a forceful speech Tuesday in Poland ahead of the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Marchers in Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia waved Ukrainian flags and carried banners reading “Ukraine will win” and “No to Russian terror.” They were joined by some of the 50,000 Ukrainian refugees who have found shelter in Bulgaria over the last year.
Moscow planned no special events Friday; most Russians had the day off for an extended public holiday. Police in some areas visited activists’ homes to warn them against staging demonstrations.
Ukrainians living in Brazil protested outside the Russian Consulate in Sao Paulo, with one sign comparing Putin to Adolf Hitler.
In Lebanon, Ukrainians rallied and chanted slogans in Beirut, holding signs reading, “Stand strong with Ukraine” and “No terrorism.” Ukrainians and their supporters also marked the anniversary in Tel Aviv.
In Georgia, thousands of people marched through the streets of Tbilisi, the country’s capital, chanting “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”
War wounds and traumatic captivity, cherry liqueur and air-raid alerts: Weathering the year-old Russian invasion
“I think that Georgians should support Ukraine, because Ukraine is fighting for us, too. Ukraine’s victory means our victory,” said Tsira Zhvania, a student who joined the rally in Tbilisi. “Unlike the Georgian government, Georgian people should stand with the people of Ukraine.”
Dozens of South Koreans and Ukrainian expatriates gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Seoul, holding candles and banners demanding the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.
About 1,000 people protested in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park, holding banners that said, “Russia, stop invading Ukraine.” Outside the city’s United Nations University, demonstrators held a candlelight vigil, and at Zenkoji temple in Nagano in central Japan, about 30 Buddhist monks prayed for those killed in the war.
People also placed flowers outside the Ukrainian consulate in Bali, Indonesia, in tribute to those killed.
Even as air-raid sirens wailed, Biden met with Ukraine’s leader to pledge continued U.S. support, both moral and material, for Kyiv against Russia.
Ukrainians living in Thailand gathered outside their embassy in Bangkok. About 50 people, many wearing their national colors, sang the national anthem as an embassy official raised the country’s flag. Several wept when the embassy’s charge d’affaires urged them in a speech to stay strong.
Iliana Martsenyak, originally from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which has been pummeled by Russian barrages, wiped tears from her eyes as she spoke of the anniversary.
“Honestly, I cannot find any words to describe how me and every single Ukrainian feels today because of this absolutely irrational, cruel and awful war that has been brought to our land,” she said.
The group marched to a nearby city park, holding Ukrainian flags and protest signs aloft. They stopped at Lumpini Park’s library, largely in silence, as a mother embraced her young daughter and others stared resolutely into the distance.
Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.
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