Demonstrators protest over invasion of Ukraine outside Russian consulate

A crowd waved Ukrainian flags and chanted as they demanded that Vladimir Putin withdraw his troops out of Ukraine.

24 February 2022

Protesters waved flags and chanted as they demonstrated against the Russian invasion of Ukraine outside the Russian consulate in Edinburgh.

Gathered outside the building in the capital’s New Town on Thursday, about 40 protesters raised Ukrainian flags and chanted “Glory to Ukraine” while holding placards demanding Putin orders his troops out of the country.

For many, the onset of war and the full scale invasion represents an attack on their families, friends, and fellow countrymen.

Majan Poikhylyy was born in Kyiv, and at the protest the 28-year-old described the attack as a “horror movie”.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
A young woman with a Ukrainian flag demonstrates outside the Russian consulate in Edinburgh following the invasion of Ukraine (Jane Barlow/PA)

“I was watching CNN live and he (Putin) was just finishing his speech about starting a military operation. But then I go onto Facebook and then I see explosion here, explosion there,” he said.

“I was watching the whole night my country get bombed. I was watching it live. And it was a horror movie. And I don’t want to watch that horror movie.”

Speaking outside the Melville Street consulate, he said: “The guys in that building represent the government that has been bombing my country and I’m not happy about it. At all.”

With family in its capital, he has been keeping in touch. “I’m just asking how are they? What’s happening? What’s happening? What’s happening?

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Protesters get their point across outside the Russian consulate in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

“I have been speaking to my friends in Kyiv on the chats, on the Facebook chats, sometimes live video, and we’re just reading the news together and just telling news to each other and just being scared and being supportive to each other.

“And it’s just a really scary time. I think a lot of people abroad from Ukraine can see it happening but they just can’t do anything and it’s really frustrating.”

Another Ukraine native watching on in horror is 22-year-old student Ruslana.

She has been in touch with her family in the east of the country, who live less than 60 miles from the Russian border, and said the attack had not come as a surprise to most.

“We were expecting it, especially after a very hateful, xenophobic speech Putin gave on Monday, basically stating the Ukrainian state does not exist and Ukrainian people, well, probably don’t exist as well, or should not. From that time people were prepared.”

And Ruslana, who did not want her surname to be published, said: “My message to the Russian people would be, now’s too late to post any kind of supportive stories on Instagram or share posts on Facebook saying we don’t want war, we just want peace, if you really don’t want war you should take to the streets and show your government and Putin himself that Russian people do not agree to live under dictatorship that will isolate it from the world.”

Student Iris Vyjverberg, who has family in Poland, attended to show her solidarity.

“I can’t imagine (what all my friends) in Ukraine are going through today,” said the 23-year-old student, who said she has family who have had to fight Russian aggression in their homeland.

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