stop putin | 

Hundreds gather at GPO to call for end to Russian war in Ukraine

'We are standing and we are fighting for our future and for freedom'

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Hundreds of people gathered at the GPO in Dublin this afternoon to call for an end to the Russian war in Ukraine.

Protestors carrying Ukrainian flags and singing the national anthem chanted for Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces to get out of the country and called for more assistance from the west.

One of those at the protest, Victorya Dromatska (26), has been living in East Wall in Dublin for six months.

“My family live in Kyiv and they were trying to flee when the strikes came at night," she said. "But there is no safe place in Ukraine now.

Victorya Dromatska

“I am worried because there is no such safe place. Civilian places are being hit with bombs and are being targeted without any regard for human rights or life.

"Last night, they told me there were multiple strikes and planes were shot down. And now I don’t know when I can speak with my loved ones again.”

In message to the Russian people she added: ”Stop being blind. Stop Putin.”

Larysa Gerasko, Ukraine ambassador to Ireland, said this was a very painful time for her country.

“We are standing and we are fighting for our future and for freedom,” she said. “And we will continue fighting to the very end. Thank you Ireland for your support.

“But we need tighter restrictions and sanctions against Russia."

Her speech to the crowd prompted more chants of "expel Russian embassy" and "glory to the heroes”.

Dmytro Lutskiv, a 19-year-old student at Trinity College has been in Ireland for a year and a half.

“I am Ukrainian myself. I was born in Kyiv and my family is still trapped there.

Protestors at the GPO this afternoon

“I am worried about them, obviously ” he said.

“What is happening now is very frightening, but we will stand firm as we are a strong nation and we will survive.

Marina Ogorodkov, who was at the protest with her son Jason (9) said her husband was still in Ukraine and she was very worried about him.

She said she last spoke to him on the phone yesterday and he was crying.

There was a simultaneous protest outside the Russian Embassy in Dublin that was organised by members of the Ukrainian community in Ireland, who staged a similar demonstration there yesterday.

Orwell Road in Rathgar, where the embassy is located, was closed to traffic during the protest with diversions in place, after large crowds turned out.

On Thursday there were other protests outside the Dáil and the Russian embassy where the entrance was covered with red paint by protesters to symbolise what they call the ''bloodshed'' that is happening in their homeland.

Holding placards with messages "Stand with Ukraine" and "Putin out of Ukraine" they were joined by a handful of Russian nationals living in Ireland, who wanted to show their support.

Outside the Dáil, an estimated 200 protesters held posters demanding an end to the war, waving Ukrainian flags and calling for tough sanctions to be imposed on Russia.

Others took to social media to offer their support to the Ukrainain people.

Billy Kelleher MEP tweeted to the Russian ambassador: "Leaving Cork now and will be outside your embassy in three hours and will drop you to Dublin Airport. You’re not welcome here. Time for you to go home!"

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