MEMBERS of Leicester’s Ukrainian community were out in force tonight for a rain-soaked vigil held in the city centre.
Hundreds turned out for the vigil, which was held outside Leicester Town Hall, by the Leicester Ukrainian Club.
The event was designed as a show of solidarity, to show support for those currently living in war-torn Ukraine, as it battles to hold off Vladimir Putin’s aggressive Russian advances.
There were shouts of ‘Putin Go Home’ and ‘No Surrender to Tyranny’ from the crowds who gathered in the rain, and many held placards and waved the Ukrainian flag while singing the national anthem.
Speaking to the Leicester Times, Ukrainian Vicky Mulka said: “I’ve come to support our people because I think we deserve a free country. We are a democracy and he has no right to trample over us, and use us and abuse us and I think we just need to all stand together so this creature is annihilated.
“The solidarity all over the world has been so moving,” she added.
“It’s just incredible how many people are frightened for our future and their future as well. My heart goes to all of them, our people and they’re so brave. They’re all ready to give up their lives for our country.”
Michael Kowal said it was his duty to come out to the vigil despite being “full of cold”.
“I can’t do anything else to help all my brothers, sisters and cousins in Ukraine at the moment so I have to do something,” he told the Leicester Times.
“I’m full of cold but I have to come here, it is my duty. I’ve been in touch with my family over there. They seem to be okay at the moment some are running to air raid shelters with their young family, but I have to do something,” he added.
“This is so moving because, as you know, the weather is atrocious. but look at the turnout. I’m so touched by not just the Ukrainian community but the English people, the Asians… I’m just so happy.”
Kenyan born Suresh Chauhan said: “I feel very sorry for what the Ukrainians are going through and that’s why I’m here in this weather to support them. It’s worth it.”
As the vigil was held, Russian troops have been targeting major Ukrainian cities such as Donetsk and the country’s capital, Kyiv.
Negotiations between Ukraine and Russia are currently ongoing, with Ukraine asking for an immediate ceasefire and for Russian troops to be withdrawn. However, expectations for these negotiations are not thought to be optimistic.
By Louise Steel