Protesters gather in central London to show support for Ukraine

Hundreds of people gathered in central London to protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Chants of “Stop Putin, stop the war” and “Ukraine is Europe” echoed around Trafalgar Square, as demonstrators showed their solidarity with Ukrainians.

The protest began with the playing of the Ukrainian national anthem, and Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the papal nuncio to Great Britain, led prayers, saying: “Today we are all Ukrainians.”

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Demonstrators unfurled a giant banner on the steps of the National Gallery reading: “When the last Ukrainian soldier falls, Putin will come for you ladies & gents.”

Others were carrying placards saying “Putin terrorist” and “Protect Ukraine, save Europe”, and many were draped in the blue and yellow national flag of Ukraine.

It was one of two protests planned this weekend in London, with similar rallies already taking place in Edinburgh, Manchester, and across the world.

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Key developments:
Russia declares ceasefire in two areas to allow humanitarian corridors out of Mariupol and Volnovakha
Zelenskyy warns ‘weak’ NATO will be partly responsible for fatalities as it fails to impose no-fly zone
Boris Johnson says Putin sees no way out ‘except to continue destruction’
‘Highly likely’ four Ukrainian cities ‘encircled by Russian forces’ – MoD
Haas Formula One team cuts ties with Russian sponsor Uralkali and driver Nikita Mazepin

Sky News reporter Sadiya Chowdhury spoke to an emotional protester, Natalya Courtney, who said: “My mother and stepdad are still in Sumy [Ukraine].

“It is being bombed and shelled, and they haven’t had water or electricity.

“It’s a very, very hard situation, I’m waiting to hear back from my mum to make sure she’s alive.”

Meanwhile her children Alicia and Genevieve said they wanted to attend the protest to “show people that what Putin’s doing is wrong”.

Many families who had relatives stuck in Ukraine were in attendance, as they chanted for freedom and for an end to the war.

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