Thousands of People in Prague Remember One-year of War in Ukraine

So far, the conflict claimed the lives of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and millions had to leave their homes to flee from the war. Photo: Coline Beguet for Brno Daily

Prague, Feb 26 (CTK) – Several thousand people met on Letna plain in Prague to commemorate the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and they marched around the Russian embassy to the Ukrainian embassy where President-elect Petr Pavel addressed them tonight, the organisers said yesterday.

Pavel compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler as both abused minorities, he said in his speech outside the embassy of Ukraine on the stage where the event would end with a concert later.

Ukrainian charge d’affaires in Prague Vitalii Usatyi, British Ambassador to the Czech Republic Matthew Field and US Ambassador Bijan Sabet also expressed support for Ukraine on this occasion.

Pavel said it war striking how much Czechia had in common with Ukraine, pointing out similarities with the Sudetenland in the pre-war Czechoslovakia.

“Since then before WWII, Hitler behaved in the same way as Putin now in relation to Ukraine. He (Hitler) also abused the German minority in our Sudetenland and incited passions and violence that he then used as a pretext for suppression,” Pavel said.

However, he added that Ukraine was fighting back and deserved respect.

On the one hand, this is a sad anniversary since it reminds of the war causing many victims, but on the other hand, it is an encouraging anniversary, since Ukraine is defending itself heroically, Pavel said. Putin has harmed his country, Russians are considered barbarians now, he noted.

People are carrying Ukrainian flags as well as flashlights that the organisers intend to collect after the rally and send to Ukraine. The event dubbed “We See Clearly What Needs to Be Done” is organised by the Million Moments association, the Nation’s Memory, the Embassy of Ukraine in Prague and the Gift for Putin group.

Writer and journalist Jiri Padevet gave an opening speech on Letna.

Along with one-year of the war start, he reminded of today’s 75th anniversary of the Communist power takeover in Czechoslovakia as well as the 73rd anniversary of the death of priest Josef Toufar who was tortured to death by the Communist secret police (StB) officers.

“Let us try at least by this march to send a message to the aggressor that we are standing on the side of Ukraine, on the side of the free world, resisting the Eastern despotism,” he said.

Usatyi thanked Czechs for aid to Ukrainians.

Field, on his part, thanked Ukraine for fighting for the free Europe.

Sabet said he was proud of standing side by side with Czechs there and repeating the simple message of continued support for Ukraine. Vivat Ukraine, he ended his words.

Interior Minister and Deputy PM Vit Rakusan (Mayors and Independents, STAN) thanked people for support at the rally.

Then a video mapping on the Interior Ministry seat showed the beginning of the invasion and subsequent developments in Ukraine.

After the after opening speeches and video mapping, people went around the Russian embassy to the Ukrainian one. Motorbikes were riding in front of the march and police halted the traffic. The demonstrators were booing and shouting “Shame!” outside the Russian embassy. Some people were sticking small Ukrainian flags into the ground and lighting candles at a cross in a park on Boris Nemtsov square near the embassy.

Then the crowd continued to the embassy of Ukraine. A roofed stage was built outside for a concert and large-scale screen was installed there .

Dozens of police officers from the riot, criminal and traffic police, including the anti-conflict team, are monitoring the event. “No incidents violating public peace have occurred so far,” police spokeswoman Violeta Siristova said.

Russia launched its attack on Ukraine by the ground and air forces on February 24, 2022. So far, the conflict claimed the lives of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and millions had to leave their homes to flee from the war. The Russian aggression against Ukraine stirred up a massive wave of solidarity in the Czech Republic and abroad. Western leaders condemned the invasion and imposed sanctions against Russia.


Brno Daily Subscribe
Sign up for morning news in your mail