In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, major cities and countries across the globe have rallied behind Ukrainians, showing their support for the country through mass protests. Regardless of where in the world, these protesters are marching toward city centers, government offices, and Russian embassies to demand action from their national government leaders to act against Russia. Many have also urged the Russian ambassadors to their country to halt the attacks.

Hundreds Arrested As Russians Protest In The Streets Against The Invasion Of Ukraine

“Putin is a killer! Putin is the shame of Russia!” the Russian protesters shouted. “Ukraine! Ukraine!” they yelled.

A Russian woman held up balloons in yellow and blue, while others painted their faces to reflect the Ukrainian flag. Tatyana Usmanova, an opposition activist, said the invasion was a disgrace. “I want to ask Ukrainians for forgiveness. We didn’t vote for those who unleashed the war,” she added.

Of all places a protest would happen, Russia would seem to be an unlikely place to start. Russian anti-war protesters have marched and gathered in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and 52 other Russian cities rebuking their own government’s decision to invade Ukraine. An estimated 1,000 anti-war protesters marched to the center of Moscow, loudly blaring their car horns and yelling, “No to war!”

It was reported that an estimated 1,745 Russians were arrested by the Russian police, with at least 957 of them located in Moscow. The majority of the protesters were violently dispersed and were physically dragged out of the protests while being arrested. Prominent Russian political activists Lev Ponomaryov, who has been active in several human rights movements in Russia since the 1980s, started a petition to end the Russian invasion obtaining 330,000 signatures.

It was not just the general Russian public who refused to side with their own government. Russian celebrities, journalists, scientists, and local municipal deputies had signed petitions in Moscow condemning the invasion. “We, the deputies elected by the people, unreservedly condemn the attack of the Russian army on Ukraine,” said the local municipal deputies.

A prominent Russian singer Valery Meladze condemned the attacks publicly on his Instagram account, saying, “Today something happened that could and should never have happened. History will judge everything one day. Now I want to beg you to stop military action and sit down to negotiate.”

The director of the state-owned Meyerhold Theater, Yelena(Elena) Kovalskaya, had sternly criticized the attacks on the Ukrainian people. She announced through her Facebook page that she was resigning from her job as she could not stomach the fact that she was working for a ‘murderer’ referring to Putin and the Russian government. “It is impossible to work for a murderer and receive a salary from him. I will finish the work I’ve started, but without pay,” she said originally in Russian.

A demonstrator screams while being detained by police in St Petersburg (AP). Source:
A demonstrator screams while being detained by police in St Petersburg (Dmitri Lovetsky/AP via The Guardian).

As a result, Russian authorities have begun to crack down on protesters by arresting them. They also reminded the Russian public last Thursday that unauthorized protests are against the law and violators will be punished accordingly. However, this did not deter Russians from protesting otherwise.

“We, the Russian people, are against the war Putin has unleashed. We don’t support this war. It is being waged not on our behalf,” said Russian human rights activist Marina Litvinovich.

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The United States and the United Kingdom Protests

The United States and the United Kingdom have supported Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian aggression. In light of recent US troop deployments and economic sanctions imposed on Russia by US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and their allies, protests have erupted in major cities in their respective countries condemning the Russian attack.

A protest held in Washington D.C. in front of the White House (AP via ABC News). Source:
A protest held in Washington DC in front of the White House (Andrew Harnik/AP via ABC News)

In the US, protests were conducted in Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Denver, to name a few places. Some of these protesters were political activists, while some had family and friends living in Ukraine, and some had actually grown up in Ukraine. In Chicago, where a Ukrainian community of 54,000 Ukrainians lives and thrives, flags of blue and yellow covered Harlem Avenue overpass to protest the invasion of their homeland.

“This is an existential battle for democracy, not simply for Ukraine, but all the values we hold very dear here in the West,” said Vice president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America Illinois Division Pavlo Bandriwsky.

Many Ukrainians felt like the whole situation was surreal and that they were extremely worried about their nation as a whole. “Like this is actually happening. I talk to my friends, and it’s hard for them to believe this is happening. They’re like, ‘We’re like in the 21st century, and we’re entering war in Europe? It’s just like incredible to put in your mind,” said another protester.

Londoners gather in Whitehall marching to Downing Street to protest Russian aggression in Ukraine (ABC News). Source:
Londoners gather in Whitehall marching to Downing Street to protest Russian aggression in Ukraine (Martyn Wheatley/i-Images via Polaris/ABC News)

In the United Kingdom, the British populace, along with Ukrainians, marched to the Russian embassy in London and 10 Downing Street to protest. “Ukraine will resist; Stop the war; Stop Putin,” the Londoners yelled. The SIS building in London was also lit up in yellow and blue following the Russian offensive.

European Countries and Tokyo Protests

A series of protests across European countries also broke out during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In Barcelona, hundreds of protesters marched to the Russian embassy holding up signs against Putin. In Rome, people gathered outside the historic Colosseum, which had been lit up in yellow and blue to show solidarity with Ukraine. A number of people also held up Ukrainian flags in Duomo Square, Italy.

In Germany, protests were held in front of the Reichstag building and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The Spaniards also gathered outside the Russian embassy in Madrid to show their own solidarity. Protests were also held in Lithuania, Greece, Portugal, the Czech Republic, and other major cities in Europe in solidarity with Ukrainians. In Tokyo, activists gathered outside Shibuya Station to protest the ongoing invasion.

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