by Luke Patrick
“Every morning you wake up, first thing you do you are contacting everyone that you can just to check that they are alive.” Ukrainian families come together in Manchester to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Credit: Luke Patrick
Hundreds of people gathered in Piccadilly Gardens in the centre of Manchester to protest the war in Ukraine. The event was held on the 26th of February 2022, two days after Russia launched an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. This move by Russian President Vladimir Putin has sparked protests in many Russian cities and across the rest of the world.
The protests were organised by the Ukrainian Cultural Centre and were attended by hundreds of people. The crowd surrounded the statue of Queen Victoria, while the rest of Piccadilly Gardens was turned blue and yellow with Ukrainian flags. The crowd sang songs and chanted no to war. Volodymyr and Zinaida Buzko attended the protests with their two children. They are both Ukrainian, but they have been living in the UK for the last 8 years. Mr Buzko talked about his reasons for protesting “We want to raise as much support as possible.” He explained: “Our parents are there; all our friends are there. Every morning you wake up, the first thing you do you contact everyone that you can just to check that they are alive.” Mr Buzko was worried not just for his family and friends in Ukraine but for his young daughter here in the UK. He was worried that his youngest daughter wouldn’t meet her grandparents because: “we are simply afraid that our parents will not live long enough for that.” This is the grim reality facing millions of Ukrainians across the world who are hoping and praying to see loved ones again. While thousands in Ukraine have tried to leave the country to escape the oncoming Russian forces. Mr Buzko explained how this wasn’t an option for his parents, saying: “Our parents told us that on the first day they woke up at 4 am because of bombing next to them, they are in the middle of Ukraine so its 400 kilometres to the border.”
Russian President Vladamir Putin gave a televised address on the 24th of February 2022 as the invasion of Ukraine began. This forced governments around the world to react with economic sanctions. The Conservative government's sanctions have impacted more than 100 companies and oligarchs in the heart of Putin’s regime worth 100s of billions of pounds of asset freezes and travel bans. Mr Buzko spoke on his reactions to the UK’s economic measures, saying: “I really respect what the UK government does, they should target Putin and the people around him. A very small number of people and unless they feel the pain they don’t change.”
Credit: Luke Patrick
Another anti-war protester was Bohdan Ratycz who is an International Trade Advisor at the Department for International Trade and a part of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain. He talked about why he felt it was important that people were protesting the war in Ukraine. He said: “I think it's terribly important as somebody who's been brought up in a democracy and free speech that we voice our indignation, our anger, our frustration against what's happened in Ukraine a couple of days ago this happened is unprecedented and innocent country is being invaded.” While he praised Boris Johnson for the measures taken against Russia, he conceded that: “no it hasn't been enough.” He talked about measures that the Ukrainians would like to see imposed, saying: “They want and a no-fly zone over Ukraine because whilst the troops on the ground are fighting the Russian forces the problem is that the Russian planes are coming in and bombing, not military targets but civilian targets.” He said imposing a no-fly zone would be: “fantastic” but conceded that it could lead to further conflict. Mr Ratycz said: “Ukraine has not died yet and never will and you can see that in the hearts and minds of these Ukrainians here who were born here but still have a patriotic fervour towards their roots.”
You can donate to the #HELPUKRAINE Emergency Appeal through Parishes and branches of partner organisations. You can also donate directly to the central appeal fund: Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain Limited, 80038237, 20-65-89, with the reference "Help Ukraine" and finally through our fundraising page on GoFundMe by following the link that can be found here: