Thousands of protesters in Prague, Munich, Paris and other European cities took to the streets to support Ukraine as President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to them in a live satellite broadcast.
Over the last few days, protests have occurred in Prague, Czech Republic; Tbilisi, Georgia; Paris and Lyon, France; Bratislava, Slovakia; Frankfurt and Munich, Germany; Vilnius, Lithuania as well as in other towns and cities.
Many of the protesters carried Ukraine’s blue and yellow flag and urged their own governments to do more to support Ukrainians and pressure Russia to stop their invasion.
Thousands of protesters in the capital city of Tbilisi, Georgia, gathered on Friday night. During the protests, Zelensky addressed the demonstrators via satellite. He asked viewers for a moment of silence out of respect to the Ukrainians who have died since Russia’s invasion.
TV news coverage of Zelensky’s broadcast was shared via Twitter.
“I want to urge you not to be silent,” Zelensky told the crowd. “I want you to take to the streets and support Ukraine, support our efforts and struggle. Because if Ukraine does not get on its feet, then Europe will not get up either. If we fall, you fall too. So please don’t be silent.”
Zelensky added that if Ukraine successfully fends off Russia’s invasion, it will be a victory for democracy and freedom as well as a victory of light over darkness, according to the Caucasus region website JAMnews.
“And if we win, we will prosper as much as Europe, and thanks to this glorious victory, Europe will prosper even more. Glory to Ukraine,” he was quoted by JAMnews.
Zelensky concluded his address by telling viewers in different European cities, “You are all Ukrainians today.”
In addition to protesting Russia’s invasion, the demonstrators in Tbilisi also voiced opposition to Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. Garibashvili angered some of his own citizens when he said he wouldn’t join other Western countries in issuing sanctions against Russia.
Garibashvili said sanctions would deprive his country of income from Russian tourism, trade and remittances sent by relatives working in Russia, according to Olesya Vartanyan, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group.
The prime minister’s decision may be partly based on the fact that Georgia fought its own war against Russia in August 2008.
The conflict left self-declared breakaway regions in Georgia’s northwestern portion that remain under strong influence from the Russian government. If angered, locals worry that Russian-backed forces from the regions could deploy attacks and seize control of even more territory.
Follow the latest updates on the conflict in Ukraine with Newsweek‘s live blog.
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