Warwick students protest in solidarity with Ukraine
The protest was held yesterday in the Faculty of Arts Building
Students at the University of Warwick held a protest yesterday in the Faculty of Arts building in solidarity with Ukraine.
The protest was organised by a group of Ukrainian students, and supported by Warwick’s Polish, Nordic and Czech-Slovak societies.
The ground floor of the Faculty of Arts Building was filled for the protest, with one student in attendance commenting how he felt “a strong sense of community and support because it’s something everyone involved felt passionate and emotional about.”
The idea for the protest started in a group chat for Ukrainian students, one of whom was 19-year-old Alisa Kononchuk, a second-year French studies student. She explained: “The protest was organised to establish solidarity with Ukraine, help amplify Ukrainian voices and educate people on how to approach the situation online and in person.”
Alisa is half Ukrainian, and has been personally affected by the invasion of Ukraine because she has an aunt and two cousins who have spent “every night in the metro in Kyiv”, using it as a bomb shelter where many others have been sleeping on the floor with their belongings.
Alisa explained Warwick students can support Ukraine by spreading awareness from trustworthy sources. She also said: “It is very important not to post things that could be triggering to others, such as pictures of the deceased” because this could be alarming for many, especially those affected like herself.
Another organiser of the protest is 20-year-old Christina Vaschuk, a second-year Life Sciences and GSD student. She commented: “The protest also allowed us to promote certain forms of support, like donating to official charities and funds such as the British Red Cross, Razom for Ukraine and Save Lives UA, which are essential in bringing humanitarian aid to those stuck in Ukraine or those who have been displaced.”
She also suggested students talk to their families and friends about the situation to keep people up to date with what’s happening and spread awareness, and they could also give to donation centres such Slovianka Polish & Ukrainian Restaurant.
The cause has a personal significance to Christina as the majority of her family lives in Ukraine, and aren’t able to escape and live in fear of being bombed.
She said: “I’m very close to my family, and feel connected to Ukraine as I spent every summer there, so to see my family in danger and my country and heritage being taken away is something I can’t describe in enough words.”
Taras is a third-year PAIS student, who explained how being half Russian prompted him to get involved. He said: “My government has started a criminal war against a sovereign nation, and I feel an incredible shame over that.
“But shame alone is unproductive, so it’s really important for Russians both abroad and at home to mobilise whatever help we can muster for Ukraine. We failed, as a nation, to prevent this war, but we can do our part to stop it.”
He also commented: “I think a lot of people have this sense that because we’re University students two thousand kilometres away there’s not much we can do to help. As such, part of our intent was to provide people with concrete ideas on what we can do to help Ukraine, ranging from donating to contacting MPs and asking them to lobby against the government’s decision to halt the acceptance of visa applications from Ukrainians.”
Warwick Polish society explained their reason for involvement in the protest, stating: “The Warwick Polish Society will always look out for Ukraine, because it is an integral member of the European family. Everything that Poland stands for Ukraine is fighting for. Although the war is horrific, the demonstrations are showing our collective humanity in which the Polish Society is proud to play a part.”
Following the protest, Stuart Croft issued a statement expressing solidarity with Ukraine.