Thousands rally across Canada for Ukraine on anniversary of Russia’s invasion

Thousands rallied across Canada on Friday to mark the 365 days of death and violence since the beginning of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

Led by the Ukrainian-Canadian Parliament, about 40 ‘Fight Ukraine’ events were planned in major cities across the country, from St. John’s to Whitehorse.

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During a rally in Halifax, the words of the added tank sparked loud applause from a crowd of about 200 gathered in the city’s central square next to City Hall.

Polina Kozlova, 17, a refugee who fled the city of Kherson after it was occupied, said she came to the ceremony to remember the dead Ukrainians and show solidarity with her homeland, where her parents and siblings still live. Told. .

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“Despite the fact that it is very cold today, I feel warm in my heart and soul because I am with people, I hear their native language and songs, I feel the support from our country. because they are,” she said.

Hundreds braved the cold in Montreal to gather in Dorchester Square. People with Ukrainian flags and candles sang chants and songs to cheer their family and friends back home.

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Ukrainians in Canada celebrate solemn War Day

“For me it was very important (to come here today) because I still have family and friends there,” said Vlada Polischuk.

“I also went to Ukraine in November and saw with my own eyes what is happening in Ukraine. standing at.”

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Sebastien Bouffard said he has friends in Ukraine, talks to them every day and is aware of the devastation the country has endured over the past year.

“They sent me pictures and I am disgusted with what Russia is doing. Sometimes I cry when I see the pictures.

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In Toronto, over 1,000 people marched downtown and settled in front of City Hall. Many wore bright blue and yellow colors, with Ukrainian flags hanging and waving. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also present.

Prime Minister Trudeau met protesters at a memorial rally who spouted angry rhetoric at him during his speech.

In response, he said: “This is a night not for you, but for Ukrainians.”

“I think Ukrainians can teach you a little bit about freedom and liberty, so why don’t you just keep calm. If you want to stand and cheer for Ukraine, do it. But let the people celebrate that Ukraine is still standing and Canada stands by it.”

Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford called Putin “no more than a tyrant” and “no more than a rogue” and said his war had revealed the strength and resilience of Ukrainians.

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Defense Minister Anita Anand said Canada began training Ukrainian forces in 2015 and has trained more than 35,000 people since then.

“We will continue. We now have trainers in England and Poland to train members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces so that they can fight and win this unjust and illegal war,” she said. told the audience.

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Simran Chawla, an international student who attended the rally, said, “I feel like Canada is getting the message that we must help those in need.”

Hundreds of people braved the cold outside the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton to mark the first anniversary of the Russian attack.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Alta, on Friday, February 24, 2023, to mark the first anniversary of the Russian attack.

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Many Ukrainian and Canadian supporters fleeing the violence raised the Ukrainian flag and watched speakers from the Ukrainian-Canadian parliament share their words of solidarity and hope.

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“They gave us three days. Three days to break us,” said one of the speakers at the rally. We are still standing strong.”

At a news conference in Kiev on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters that with more weapons, the Ukrainian people could reclaim their territory.

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Hundreds gather at Alberta Legislature on Russian Invasion Day

“We are ready. We are mentally ready. And as far as the weapons are concerned, as far as the formation of the assault brigade is concerned, we are ready,” Zelensky said through an interpreter.

The year-long conflict has dealt a deadly blow to the Ukrainian people, killing tens of thousands of civilians and displacing millions more from their homes.

Weapons and training from NATO countries and other allies allowed the Ukrainian army to retake thousands of square kilometers of territory.

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— Using files from Michael Tatton from Halifax, Maricella Amador from Montreal, Tyler Griffin from Toronto, and Angela Amato from Edmonton

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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