Supporters gather for rally in Winnipeg to keep Ukraine in Manitobans’ thoughts

More than 100 people, many holding yellow-and-blue flags, came out to rally in Winnipeg Thursday night to show support for Ukraine as the country marks one month since the Russian invasion began. 

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress organized the rally at The Forks in response to a plea from Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, asking people to gather in public on Thursday to denounce Russian aggression. 

“We think it is really important that we do not give up, we don’t get tired, because in Ukraine, they don’t get a chance to say ‘Hey we’ve been doing this for a month now, we’ve been fighting this war for a month, maybe we can just relax,'” said Halyna Shtoyko, who helped organize the rally. 

“They don’t get to do that. People keep dying. It gets uglier every day because Russia did not expect Ukraine to put up such a resistance.”

Shtoyko, who was born in western Ukraine, said she fears Russia’s goal is to destroy Ukraine and displace as many Ukrainians as possible. She said she wants Canada and its allies to do more. 

“A genocide is happening right now, a genocide of the Ukrainian people. If we do not stop it now, as the world democratic community, then what are our values worth?” she said.

“If we just let the Russian military and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin do what they’re doing in Ukraine, what do we really stand for?”

Before walking across the Esplanade Riel bridge, people at the rally gathered to sing the Ukrainian and Canadian national anthems. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

The rally started at about 6 p.m. at The Forks, where people gathered to sing the Ukrainian and Canadian national anthems, before walking across the Esplanade Riel bridge and back. Some chanted “no fly zone,” a reference to Zelensky’s repeated requests for NATO to impose one over Ukrainian airspace.

Some people attending the rally want NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, some the country’s president has called for repeatedly. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Myroslava Pidhirnyj, who is on the board of the Manitoba chapter of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, worries about what will happen next in the conflict, and that it could spread beyond Ukraine’s borders. 

“The struggle that’s going on in Ukraine now is a struggle for democracy, a struggle for freedom.”

She said more aid is needed for families caught in the middle of the conflict. 

“You’re talking about mothers and children who are often left with the clothes on their back and maybe a small bag with them,” she said. 

WATCH | Winnipeggers heed Zelensky’s call for support: 

Support for Ukraine marches on in Winnipeg

1 hour ago

Duration 2:10

Heeding the call of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to rally in support of his country one month into the Russian invasion, Winnipeggers march from The Forks to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. 2:10

Jacqueline Tymchuk came to the rally with her daughter, Bowie. She said she felt it was important for them to be there because of their Ukrainian heritage. 

“I can’t do much, but I can show up and I can post things on Instagram and make sure people don’t forget about what’s going on.”

Jacqueline Tymchuk came to the rally with her daughter, Bowie. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

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