Protests have erupted around the globe in support of Ukraine as it continues fighting Russian forces that first invaded the country last week.
Protest signs reading messages such as “#HandsOffUkraine STOP WAR!,” “Stop Putin, Stop War,” “No War” and “Russians Against the War” have cropped up in Japan, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere over the weekend.
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“As a Russian we don’t want war. Only Putin does. The man is filled with greed,” one demonstrator in New York City on Saturday, Aliya Passova, told amNY.
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Passova was one of hundreds of people gathered in Times Square on Saturday to show support for Ukraine, which included waving the nation’s flag and holding signs critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We don’t like what’s going on. I do not want to be ashamed of my country,” a man identified only as Roman told the New York Post, noting he’s afraid of retaliation for his family back in Russia. “Russia is not Putin.”
Protests in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta also unfolded on Saturday, while demonstration abroad have erupted in Switzerland, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Taiwan and Spain.
“My family, my friends are now sheltered in their basements because of the air attacks,” Yulia Kolorova, a 49-year-old Ukrainian living in Taiwan, told The . “I just want them to be strong. I just can’t imagine how scary it is to see the missiles over your head. It’s surreal.”
The protests have also extended to major Russian cities, including in Moscow where riot police on Sunday were seen patrolling the streets to prevent demonstrations.
More than 3,000 Russian protesters were reportedly detained between Thursday and Sunday morning, according to the human rights group OVD-Info. Photos taken by the show Russian police cracking down on protesters in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
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Russia first invaded Ukraine on Thursday and was subsequently hit with sanctions from Western nations, including the U.S.
The fighting continued Sunday, with Russian forces penetrating Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, and missiles striking the city of Vasylkiv, which is located outside of Kyiv.
Tensions flared Sunday morning when Putin raised the alert status for his nuclear forces to “special regime of combat duty,” threatening the fighting could escalate into a nuclear war.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Sunday that a Ukrainian delegation will meet with a Russian delegation near the Belarus border for peace talks.
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“We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River,” Zelenskyy announced on his official Telegram channel.