Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside Downing Street after Russia launched a full invasion of Ukraine this morning.
Chants of “Hands off Ukraine” and “Stop Putin, stop the war” rang across Whitehall as protesters young and old waved placards and Ukrainian flags. The protest, organised by a group called London Euromaidan, a community group of Ukrainians and Europeans living in London, is calling for stricter sanctions on Russia, including freezing the UK assets of 50 oligarchs and for Putin’s funds to be blocked.
Alongside calls for firmer action from the west, Ukrainians and Russians at the protest spoke of their concern for their families and dismay at the invasion.
“My friends and my family are still in Ukraine and facing a lot of bombings which is a terrifying thing,” said one of the protesters, Vladyslav Chyrkin. “Some of my friends have been facing bombing since 2014 in the east of Ukraine already.”
Maria Lysenko, a Russian living in London, said she started crying when she heard the news of the invasion: “I can’t believe this is my country, that my country’s the aggressor in the war.
“Please sanction everyone, Abramovich, all the Russian oligarchs…all Putin’s wallets,” she told The Big Issue.