Ukrainians at solidarity ceremony thank Britain and worry about homeland

The Ukrainian flag was hoisted and national anthem sung at a gathering in Salford.

Pat Hurst
Thursday 03 March 2022 16:31 GMT
The Ukrainian flag (Yui Mok/PA)
The Ukrainian flag (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Ukrainians in the UK sang their national anthem as their flag was hoisted at an event in Salford to show solidarity with their homeland facing Russian invasion.

“Slava Ukraini!” meaning ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ rang out as a joint flag, half Union Jack and half the yellow and blue of Ukraine, was hoisted up outside Salford Civic Centre in Greater Manchester.

Afterwards Ukrainians living in Britain spoke of their thanks to Britain for their support as they worried for loved ones back home.

Marianna Vaszilyiv, from the Lviv region, a teacher living in the UK said: “We have family, friends relatives in Ukraine, throughout the whole country and we are terrified with the scale of the disaster that broke in our country.

“We are very concerned about the safety of our nearest and dearest there.

“We are very concerned about the future escalation of the conflict, because this evil dictator won’t stop if the world does not step in and do something.

“We do appreciate the level of support from the UK government, from British people, we are very grateful because we feel that support and we feel you are with us, even such signs as we had today, our flag is in the UK sky.

“It means a lot, thank you for that.”

Salford councillor Tanya Burch, who was born and raised in Lviv, western Ukraine, used Facetime to share the ceremony to family in Ukraine, where her parents, sister, a hospital doctor, and wider family still live.

Ms Burch said she did not believe Russia would invade, but her family began to hoard cash and food before the Russian invasion as, “they knew it was going to happen”.

She said: “I don’t have the words, it is just incomprehensible, indescribable.

“You are just one big wound inside and everything is numb.

“I did not know these emotions before.”

You are just one big wound inside and everything is numb. I did not know these emotions before

Ukraine-born Salford councillor Tanya Burch

Bohdan Ratycz, whose parents came to the UK from Ukraine in 1949, said the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain has created a humanitarian fund to help its homeland and thanked those in the UK who had already given support.

A local Ukrainian church and groups within the larger Polish community locally were helping with donations.

Mr Ratycz said: “I’m pleased to see we haven’t got the, ‘It’s not happened here’ syndrome and people genuinely do care.

“It is good to see solidarity, there’s nothing like the feeling that people support you.

“If Ukraine was to fall, God help us.”

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett and Salford MP Rebecca Long-Bailey both spoke at the event.

The mayor said: “I cannot begin to tell you how horrified and appalled we are that the people of the Ukraine are facing an unprovoked invasion by Russian military forces.

“Both myself and the people of the city of Salford strongly condemn these hostile actions taken against the Ukraine and its people.

“Our thoughts and prayers are will you all.”

Mrs Long-Bailey added: “We were absolutely horrified to hear of the situation in Ukraine.

“So as a city we send our solidarity to the people of Ukraine and anybody in our community that is worried or affected by this terrible situation at this time, solidarity.”

A march in support of Ukraine is to be held in Manchester on Saturday.

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