Protesters from a number of countries gathered outside the Scottish Parliament on Saturday to show their support for those facing President Putin’s terrifying advances in Ukraine.
Demonstrators broke down in tears as they chanted “slava Ukraini” (glory to Ukraine) and “please help Ukraine”, with many draped in Ukrainian flags and carrying placards with messages such as “long live Ukraine” and “no to Putin’s war”.
Many who joined Saturday’s protest had also been demonstrating outside the Russia Consulate in Edinburgh on Thursday and Friday. They collectively decided to move their efforts to Holyrood in a bid to force the Scottish Government to listen to their calls.
One of the organisers, Christina Iscenco, said: “I want the Scottish Government to help provide aid and donate money. In Ukraine they require medical support and military aid, things like weapons and helmets, that’s what they need and it is something I believe Scotland can help with.
“I know Scotland is part of the UK so it cannot change the law when it comes to visas but they need to be adding pressure so that Ukrainians can come safely.”
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Ms Iscenco is from Moldova but her spouse is Ukrainian and she has friends and family that live there too. With tears in her eyes she described the pain they feel watching Putin advance.
“It is not only the military who suffers,” she said.
“They killed children, they bombed a kinder-garden, they bombed several houses.
“This is a genocide, they are trying to kill Ukrainians. As a nation we will not surrender but if the whole world doesn’t help more people will die and that is the cost of this war.
“My friends and family are of course not fine, but I really believe in Ukraine and I do believe we will win this awful war.”
A Ukrainian demonstrator, Marie, said she hasn’t slept in days because she cannot stop thinking about her mother stuck in their home city of Lviv – roughly 40 miles from the Polish border.
“Every night they are bombing, destroying civilian buildings and it is not safe,” she said.
“My mother is having to shelter underground in the metro station, she cannot sleep in her own bed. Nobody can.”
Marie’s mother is unable to escape the city because of her age and lack of mobility but has friends supporting her through the bombings.
“Coming out to these protests it is nice to see the support,” Marie said.
“But it’s also very important for me to speak up and show people that this is real and things are serious and that we really need help very quickly, we’re counting in hours now not days.”
Julie Miller-Erskine traveled from Falkirk to Parliament with her four-year-old boy Ollie because she wanted to voice her support and set an example for her young son.
“I didn’t sleep very well last night, I’m here because it’s I think our duty as human beings in this world to support Ukraine right now.”
Originally from Boston in the US, Ms Miller-Erskine said she is “disappointed” with the international community and “disgusted” with her own country for their “lack of support.”
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