Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition
World marks conflict’s anniversary
Even some in Russia defiantly condemn invasion of Ukraine
LISBON, Portugal — World landmarks were lit up in the colors of Ukraine’s national flag as people across the globe threw their support behind the country Friday on the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
The Empire State Building in New York City, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Sydney Opera House in Australia gleamed in yellow and blue in solemn remembrance of the outbreak of the war on Feb. 24, 2022. The date also drew people to peace rallies and other events in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, as well as Europe.
Among the memorials and ceremonies, a wrecked Russian tank was put on display in Berlin, a bloody cake with a skull on it was left in a Belgrade street, Ukraine’s flag was held aloft amid tears in Bangkok and Japanese monks prayed for the dead.
The rusting T-72 tank placed outside the Russian Embassy building in the German capital was struck in the Kyiv region in the early stages of the war.
“The whole world should see that there are many people in Germany who stand behind Ukraine, so that’s why we’re putting the Russians’ scrap tank in front of their door,” said Wieland Giebel of the Berlin Story group, one of the exhibit’s organizers.
In Serbia, whose government has maintained friendly relations with Russia and has refused to join Western sanctions designed to punish Moscow for its invasion, police moved in to stop a group of anti-war activists from reaching the Russian Embassy in the capital, Belgrade.
The activists wanted to hand over a demand for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be put on trial for genocide in Ukraine. They left a cake, covered with red icing representing blood and with a skull on top of it, on the pavement near the embassy.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stepped outside his office at No. 10 Downing Street in London, joining Ukraine’s ambassador and some Ukrainian soldiers being trained in the United Kingdom for a minute of silence in commemoration of those killed in the fighting.
King Charles III published a message lauding the “remarkable courage and resilience” of the Ukrainian people.
At a convention center in Utrecht, Netherlands, about 2,000 Ukrainian refugees gathered to hear by video link a speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and in Brussels hundreds gathered to wave the Ukrainian flag and chant “Slava Ukraini!” (“Glory to Ukraine.”)
Moscow planned no special events for Friday, as most Russians took a nationwide day off amid an extended public holiday. As part of authorities’ relentless effort to prevent any sign of dissent, police in some areas visited activists’ homes to warn them against trying to stage demonstrations.
Nevertheless, Russians in Moscow and other cities defiantly brought flowers to statues of Ukrainian poets and held one-person pickets with antiwar slogans. Russian media and civil rights groups reported at least a dozen detentions by law enforcement.
At least eight people were detained in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, according to OVD-Info, a legal aid group that tracks political arrests. They all had brought flowers to the city’s monument to victims of political repression, the group said.
Ukrainians living in Brazil protested outside the Russian Consulate in Sao Paulo, with one sign comparing Putin to Adolf Hitler.
Ukrainians in Lebanon chanted slogans during a Beirut rally. Ukrainians and their supporters also marked the anniversary in Tel Aviv.
Dozens of South Koreans and Ukrainian expatriates gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Seoul. They held candles and banners demanding the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.
About 1,000 people protested in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park, holding banners that said: “Russia, stop invading Ukraine.” Outside the city’s United Nations’ University, demonstrators held a candlelight vigil, and at Zenkoji temple in Nagano in central Japan, about 30 monks prayed for the lives lost in the war.
Ukrainians living in Thailand gathered outside their embassy in Bangkok. About 50 people, many wearing their national colors, sang the national anthem as an embassy official raised the flag. Several wept during a speech by the embassy’s charge d’affaires, in which he urged them to stay strong.
Iliana Martsenyak, originally from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which has been pummeled by Russian barrages, wiped tears from her eyes.
“Honestly, I cannot find any words to describe how me and every single Ukrainian feels today because of this absolutely irrational, cruel and awful war that has been brought to our land,” she said.