Rallies in Berlin, Paris call for peace in Ukraine

AFP - [email protected]
Rallies in Berlin, Paris call for peace in Ukraine
Protesters surround a giant Ukrainian flag as they take part in a demonstration in solidarity with Ukraine at Republique square in Paris, on February 25, 2023, on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Emmanuel DUNAND/AFP

Protesters in Germany and France on Saturday demanded peace for Ukraine, a day after activists in both countries marked one year since the Russian invasion.


Police said about 10,000 people braved the falling snow in central Berlin to call for negotiations with Moscow rather than weapons deliveries to Ukraine.

Under the slogan "Rise up for Peace", demonstrators bundled up against the cold gathered at the iconic Brandenburg Gate near where a day earlier activists had parked a bombed-out Russian tank in front of Russia's embassy in Berlin.

Organised by far-left politician Sahra Wagenknecht and feminist Alice Schwarzer, who both addressed the crowd, the demonstration is controversial for drawing support from far-right politicians too.


The two women have also launched a petition which claims to have gathered more than 645,000 signatures.

In Paris, police said 3,000 protesters rallied as they sang Ukraine's national anthem at Place de la Republique before Ukrainian children dressed in traditional costume led a procession.

Hand on his heart, 73-year-old Volodymyr Kraftchenko, who fled Ukraine a year ago, condemned "those who violated our land and our rights".

Krystina Krasnoboka said the "guilt" of not being in Ukraine had over the past year faded and become a feeling of "being more useful here (in France), to send supplies and money to the country".

Hundreds also rallied elsewhere across France, including the southern city of Montpellier, where Litouka Kseniia arrived with her two-year-old daughter in April last year.

"We must not think the war will end soon, we must shout everywhere that Ukraine is suffering and unfortunately is still going to suffer," the 29-year-old told AFP.

On Friday, thousands of protesters across Europe marched against Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.


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