'We can show the Ukrainian nation we are behind them': Leeds Ukrainian community to hold Stand With Ukraine rally amid Russia invasian fears

The Leeds Ukrainian community will be stepping out in support of its home nation this weekend with a rally showing opposition to movements by Russia.

By Emma Ryan
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 4:47 pm

A "Stand With Ukraine" rally will be held at Leeds Town Hall on Saturday at 1pm where Ukranians living in Leeds, plus their family, friends and supporters, will gather to show solidarity for their country.

It comes amid concerns that Moscow is planning to invade Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly denied it has any such designs, but the United States and its Nato allies are worried because Russia has massed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine's border and launched a series of war games in the region.

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The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain Leeds Branch, Newton Grove, Leeds.

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Olga Callaghan of the The Leeds Ukrainian Community Centre said: "There are lots of Ukrainians living in Leeds, a few members of our association have been brought up in the UK and a number who have come to Leeds because of job opportunities and have been brought here by their employers.

"Some have parents and grandparents over in The Ukraine, some have more distant family but the majority of Ukrainians in Leeds have connections in The Ukraine. Initially the rally is to show solidarity. We have supported and worked for independence and when it did become independent it was the start of a new age."

In 2014, following the removal of a Kremlin-friendly president in Kyiv, Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency in the country's eastern industrial heartland.

Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels has killed over 14,000 people, and efforts to reach a settlement have stalled.

Mrs Callaghan added: "We can't fight in England but we can show the Ukrainian nation we stand with them. People have been doing it in their own homes and posting pictures if they can't go out. There will be a couple of speeches and we are expecting a few people."

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