‘We stand in solidarity with Ukraine’: Leeds protests against Russian invasion

‘Stop the war! Free Ukraine!’

A protest in solidarity with Ukraine took place last night in Leeds. The protest started at 8pm on the steps of the University of Leeds’ Parkinson Building with chants of “Stop Putin!”, “Stop the war! Free Ukraine!”, and “Slava Ukraini!” (Glory to Ukraine!).

The protest moved across Leeds, stopping at Millennium Square and walking through the city centre, past Trinity Shopping Centre, and back up to the Parkinson Building.

Kseniia Lazareva, a Ukrainian student at the University of Leeds organised the protest in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. She told The Tab Leeds: “It’s painful to see some students talk about the war and laugh when your family is sitting in the basement and waiting with tears for when the next bombing will start. Ignorance is the worst and it’s present now among students.”

Kseniia said she organised the protest as she felt useless in the UK whilst Ukraine is suffering. She hopes the protest raises awareness amongst people in Leeds.

Alice, a student at the University of Leeds, took part in the protest and said it: “saw people come together from different cultures and countries to prove that we stand in solidarity with Ukraine”. Anna, another student at the protest, said she hopes the protest, along with other protests that have taken place across the country, will “encourage the UK government to act against Russia and help Ukrainian refugees to reach safe asylum”.

The Leeds Ukrainian Community Centre have asked for donations to help the men who are volunteering to fight in Ukraine. The donations will help towards keeping them safe by buying items such as thermographic cameras, bulletproof vest and tourniquets.

The Leader of the Leeds City Council issued a statement last week about the issue: “On behalf of Leeds City Council and the city of Leeds I want to express how deeply saddened and shocked we are by the situation in Ukraine. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and with those Ukrainians who already call Leeds their home.

“The deliberate targeting of innocent people is beyond comprehension and as a council and a city we condemn this. Leeds is a  welcoming and compassionate city  and we will work with our Ukrainian friends and partners in communities across the city to provide the necessary support and reassurance that may be needed.”

Kseniia is also planning charity events at Leeds University Union later this week to raise money for Ukraine.

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In pictures: Thousands gather around the UK in protests in solidarity with Ukraine