Ukrainians call on Scottish politicians to do more as war protests continue

Crowds gathered near Holyrood on Saturday with campaigners chanting ‘please help Ukraine’.

26 February 2022

Demonstrators protesting over the Russian invasion gathered near the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh to urge politicians to do more to support Ukraine.

Tears were shed as the crowds chanted “please help Ukraine” and “slava Ukraini” (glory to Ukraine) on Saturday to show their solidarity with those at the hands of Vladimir Putin’s aggressive advance.

The protest comes after hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Russian consulate in Edinburgh on Thursday and Friday, voicing their outrage at the war.

A megaphone was passed around demonstrators, some sharing personal stories about relatives currently hiding in basements in Kyiv to avert shelling and gunfire, with others urging the Scottish Government and other European powers to do more.

Marjan Pokhyly, originally from Kyiv and now living in Edinburgh, was one of the demonstrators.

Speaking to PA reporters, he shared his concern for his grandmother, who is still in Ukraine.

“On her house there was a mark for artillery strike,” he said.

“I don’t know if the mark has been rubbed off, but there were people dressed in regular clothes and they were walking around marking for artillery to strike.”

Standing with his back to Holyrood with a Ukrainian flag draped around his shoulders, the 28-year-old graduate said MSPs need to do more to help protect his country.

He called for Nato – the intergovernmental military alliance between 28 European countries and two North American countries – to protect Ukraine’s air space.

“They (MSPs) can fully demand that Nato does more, that Nato covers the skies.

“People like me can just talk, that’s all we can do, we can come to these demonstrations, but it’s politicians who must make those laws happen.

“They must look for more opportunities to help Ukraine.”

He added: “At the moment it’s just words. It’s very easy to stand here and speak to show support. But words don’t stop Russian aggression.”

Also demonstrating was Vlada Kren, who is from Ukraine, but now lives in Edinburgh.

Speaking at the protest, the 40-year-old said: “World, please help.

“Don’t wait for Putin to attack you, because if it’s as easy as it’s been for Ukraine, I am pretty sure he won’t stop at Ukraine, he will attack the rest of the world.

“I know the Scottish Government supports Ukrainians very much, but we hope that support will be even bigger because we need to protect the air space on Ukraine because Russia is bombarding them.

“We need real support, not just words.”

Ms Kren said her friends and relatives of her husband, Vasyl Kren, who practices as a Ukrainian priest in Edinburgh, are still in parts of the country that are being heavily targeted.

“A lot of my friends here have parents in the worst of Ukraine, in the middle of Ukraine, and they have parents hiding in the basement, and they are crying because they are helpless that they can’t help,” she said, wiping away tears.

“Thank goodness they still have internet and the phones are working so we speak every day.”

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