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Thousands gather at Nathan Phillips Square in support of Ukraine

February 2022

On 27 February 2022, Toronto was a sea of yellow and blue today as thousands of Canadians, not just Ukrainian-Canadians, but from a variety of ethnicities, gathered with to show support for Ukraine in their fight against the totalitarian Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his invasion of their homeland.

The “Stand with Ukraine” march began at 2pm from Young-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto, with the participants heading for Nathan Phillips Square, two blocks south and a block west, where hundreds of other supporters were gathering to show their support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Many in the crowd were carrying Ukraine flags and an assortment of anti-Putin signs, while chanting patriotic slogans including “Slava Ukraini!” (Glory to Ukraine), and calls for a no-fly zone to be implemented.

There were also a few “Fuck Putin!” and “Putin War Criminal” chants uttered too.

Several dignitaries spoke at the rally, including Peter Schturyn, President of the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress, Consulate General of Ukraine in Toronto Oleksander Shevchenko, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has Ukrainian heritage through her maternal grandfather, Mykhailo Khomiak (anglicized as Michael Chomiak).

Toronto Mayor John Tory remined those in attendance that Kyiv has been Toronto’s “sister city” for 30 years and its residents stand with them in solidarity.

Ukrainian-Canadian Congress President Peter Schturyn told the crowd that what Ukraine needs immediately is for a no-fly zone to be declared over its airspace.

Organizers encouraged the Canadian government to supply the Ukrainian Army with more offensive weapons, body armour, clothing, boots, along with encouraging the crowd to donate money that will be sent to the people in Ukraine, including to the Red Cross’s Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.

Speakers at the rally also made note of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and former President Petro Poroshenko, both of whom have taken up arms and are fighting alongside their fellow Ukrainians;

Of Yaryna Arieva and Sviatoslov Fursin, who were married on the day that the invasion started, and immediately after saying their vows, picked up Kalashnikov rifles so they could defend Ukraine;

Of Ukrainian marine engineer Vitaly Skakun, who sacrificed his life to blow up the Henichesky Bridge;

Of the brave 13 Ukrainian Army border guards on the tiny Black Sea island of Zmiinyi Island, who when being told by a Russian warship that they should put down their arms and surrender, replied, “Russian Warship, go fuck yourself!” Although initial reports stated that they died from the resulting naval bombardment of the island, it was later confirmed that all are alive and being held as prisoners of war. Regardless, their bravery in the face of what should have been certain death is admirable and inspiring.

Toronto’s “Stand with Ukraine” march may not alone stop Vladimir Putin, but the more people in free countries around the world march in support of Ukraine, the greater chance the average Russian will learn that Putin has lied to them about why he invaded Ukraine; the greater the chance that the world will turn against Putin (it’s already starting); the greater chance that Putin’s days as Russia’s President will be ending.

“Slava Ukraini!”

**This article was updated to indicate that the Ukrainian Army border guards thought killed defending Zmiinyi Island, were alive and being held as POWs.

Sources: https://globalnews.ca/news/8649308/ukraine-solidarity-mega-march-toronto, https://www.cp24.com/news/toronto-stands-with-freedom-thousands-march-downtown-in-support-of-ukraine-1.5798204, https://mobile.twitter.com/profgalloway/status/1497630438797545473, https://www.jpost.com/international/article-698627, Miss Ukraine declares ‘we will win’ fight against Russian invasion | photos | news.com.au — Australia’s leading news site, Snake Island Soldiers Surrendered to Russian Forces, Still Alive (breitbart.com).

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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