Protesters gathered in Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei on Friday to demonstrate against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as tragedy unfolded for the second day in the eastern European country, according to local reports and social media.
A small group of protesters met from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. local time in front of the Representative Office of the Moscow-Taipei Coordination Commission to stand in solidarity with Ukraine, the Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association announced on Twitter.
“Today, a group of Ukrainians, Belarusians, Kazakhs, and Russians in Taiwan will gather in front of the representative office of the Mobility Association in Taiwan to protest the Russian invasion and show solidarity with the Ukrainian people,” the group tweeted earlier in the day, according to an automatically generated translation.
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Demonstrators carried flags and held signs that said, “Support Ukraine,” “Russia out,” “We say no to the war” and “We are all Ukrainians today,” among others, according to images tweeted by Radio Free Asia and Twitter user @analoguepizza.
The group plans to return to the office to protest on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. local time.
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“It’s the country where some of my family lives. It’s the country that my Ukrainian grandfather fought for in World War II,” Alex Khomenko, who reportedly organized the event, told Taiwan Plus News. “Thankfully, you know in some way, he didn’t like to see this day. If he did, it would just blow his mind that a fratricidal war is happening.”
Taiwan’s existence as a democracy, defying a more powerful authoritarian government, has attracted a spotlight amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, a similarly independent, democratic country with a much larger, more dominant neighbor country.
Taiwan, an island of 23 million people about 160 kilometers, or 100 miles off China’s eastern coast, is self-ruled, but claimed by China. The decades-old issue has grown more intense since independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen took the helm in Taiwan in 2016, and China stepped up military pressure on the island, sending ships into nearby waters and fighter jets in its direction.
Taiwan announced Friday it would join global sanctions against Russia, although it did not provide details on what those measures would be.
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“We can’t sit on the sidelines while a big power bullies a small neighbor,” Wang Ting-yu, a lawmaker from Tsai’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, wrote on Twitter.
Friday marked the second day of Russian forces’ invasion of Ukraine, with the Kremlin forging ahead on its attacks of the capital city of Kyiv, which was gradually being overtaken amid airstrikes and attacks from within.
Photographs from on the ground showed the devastation caused by the attacks, which had been looming for days before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats became reality.
The contributed to this report.