The word “murder” was spray-painted outside the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC on Thursday morning, hours after tearful protesters gathered to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As chilling images of the invasion emerged overnight, a peaceful crowd gathered outside the embassy to demand an end to the attack. Some were draped in blue and yellow Ukrainian flags. Some were Ukrainian or had ties to Eastern Europe. Others just wanted to lend their support.
Up to 100 people gathered outside the gates at one point. Many were glued to cellphones, watching live feeds of weapons and heavy artillery moving around the country.
Russian troops launched their planned attack on Ukraine on Thursday, and within hours protesters gathered outside the Russian Embassy in northwest DC to protest the move. Reporting by Justin Finch of News4.
“It is absolutely appalling what is happening, what Putin is doing,” said a man from Belarus, which borders Ukraine and Russia. “It’s really scary for [Ukrainians]you never know where a missile might hit.”
“It’s going to be another refugee crisis for Europe and it’s going to be difficult,” predicted another protester.
Hours later, the word “murder” was found written in red spray paint in the driveway outside the embassy. DC police have confirmed they helped the US Secret Service arrest a suspect charged with vandalism. Information about the charges they face was not immediately available.
A small group of protesters returned in the pouring rain around noon, surrounded by a squad of DC officers.
US senators condemn Russian attack on Ukraine
US Senator from Virginia Mark Warner said the invasion “tragically ended decades of general peace”. in a statement on social media.
Warner, who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, praised the intelligence community for helping President Joe Biden’s administration anticipate Putin’s moves.
US Senator from Maryland Ben Cardin blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Only one person, Vladimir Putin, is responsible for the destruction and probable deaths that will result from this unprovoked military incursion. He will be held accountable for these actions,” Cardin wrote on Twitter.
US Senator from Maryland Chris Van Hollen has urged the United States to rally its allies to impose “punitive” sanctions and “arm resistance”.
“You have to make Putin regret the day he started this bloodshed”, Van Hollen said on social media.
Follow live updates on the crisis in Ukraine here.