Ukraine Allies Mark Invasion Anniversary With Slew Of Sanctions On Russia
Berlin: Ukraine allies around the world lit up landmark monuments, held vigils and prepared new sanctions in a collective show of support on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
In Germany, which has ditched its “Wandel durch Handel” (change through trade) approach to Russia and funnelled weapons to Ukraine, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the invasion was an assault on the lessons of the two world wars.
“It is an attack on everything we stand for,” he said at a commemorative event, calling Russia’s invasion an “epochal breach” and adding he was sure Germany would continue to be Ukraine’s biggest military supporter on the European continent.
In Poland, sandwiched between Germany and Ukraine, protesters held up a banner reading “Russia is a terrorist state” and sounded sirens outside a residential building for Russian embassy employees in Warsaw.
Polish Premier Mateusz Morawiecki went to Kyiv and, together with Ukraine’s prime minister, laid flowers at the Wall of Remembrance of those who died for Ukraine.
The United States marked the anniversary by announcing new sanctions against Russia and its allies, new export controls and tariffs aimed at undermining Moscow’s ability to wage war. Britain also issued new sanctions.
Steinmeier, a former foreign minister, said any constructive suggestion that brings peace closer would be welcome.
“Whether the world power China wants to play such a constructive role is still in question. If that is the case, then China should definitely not only talk to Moscow, but also to Kyiv,” he said, calling for peace efforts to be channelled under the umbrella of the United Nations.
China said on Friday that dialogue and negotiation were the only viable ways to resolve the crisis, and called in a 12-point foreign ministry paper for a comprehensive ceasefire and a gradual de-escalation.
Paris lit the Eiffel Tower in the Ukrainian flag colours of blue and yellow on Thursday night and people draped in Ukrainian flags, with hands on their hearts, gathered at a vigil in London holding a banner: “If you stand for freedom, stand for Ukraine.”
“There will be a life after this war, because Ukraine will win,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a speech.
EU institutions were also lit in Ukrainian colours, along with the Sydney Opera House.
In Italy, the Senate said it would illuminate its Palazzo Madama building in the colours of the Ukrainian flag from sunset on Friday to sunrise on Saturday.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said in a YouTube video message that Ukraine was “defending the values of freedom and democracy on which European identity was born”.
“Ukraine is not and will not be alone,” she said. “The free world owes the Ukrainian women and men.”
There were no major public events to mark the anniversary on Friday in Russia, which set off fireworks on Thursday for the annual “Defenders of the Fatherland” holiday and held a pop concert on Wednesday attended by President Vladimir Putin.
Putin says he is battling the combined might of the West in what he now depicts as a fight for Russia’s survival. Kyiv says there can be no peace until Russia, which denies intentionally targeting civilians, withdraws.