PRAGUE (AP) — Ukrainians gathered in the Czech capital of Prague on Tuesday for the second straight evening to condemn this week’s barrage of Russian missile strikes against cities across Ukraine and to demand more weapons from the West to protect their nation.
Protesters held blue and yellow crosses with the names of towns hit by Russian missiles.
“Ukraine needs air defenses to be able to prevent the massacres of the civilian population and the destruction of our cities,” Anastasiia Sihnaievska told the crowd.
“We are protecting our right to live,” said Sihnaievska, who fled her town of Zhytomyr because of the Russian invasion.
People chanted “Terrorist from Russia!” and “No more weapons for Ukraine!”
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They unveiled a giant Ukrainian flag and displayed banners that read “Air defense systems for Ukraine”, “We won’t forget, we won’t forgive” or “Stop bombing Ukraine”.
“It’s great that Europe is supporting us, but we need more help,” said 21-year-old Ivanna Mykuliak. A physics student in Odessa, she came to the Czech Republic to work in order to support her family in Ukraine.
Protestors who were not Ukrainians also joined the rally.
“Ukraine is fighting for us,” said Julie Levkova, a Czech who helped organize the protest. “I want to use all the possibilities I have here and all my energy to fight for Ukraine in the Czech Republic.”
A similar rally took place in Bucharest, the Romanian capital, on Monday.
On Tuesday, the presidents of 10 European countries – Czechia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Montenegro – said deadly Russian missile strikes this week against civilians in Ukraine “constitute crimes of war under international law. “
“On behalf of our states, we demand that Russia immediately cease attacking civilian targets,” they said in a statement. “We will not cease our efforts to bring those responsible for yesterday’s crimes to justice.”
Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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