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Ukrainians in Australia rally as Russia terrifies mother country

Ukrainians in Australia and their supporters have taken to the streets in a series of a nationwide rallies, condemning Russia’s intimidation tactics and enormous increased military presence on border of the two countries.

Displaying signs which included demands ranging from “Stop Putin Now” to “No War in Ukraine” and one which claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a murderer, protesters marched through the streets in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra on Sunday.

UKRAINE PROTESTS
Camera IconUkrainians in Melbourne on Sunday. NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly Credit: News Corp Australia

The rallies come amid increasing warnings from world leaders about the growing risk of potential humanitarian and economic disaster, with more than 100,000 Russian troops gathered at the border.

Rally organiser and vice president of the Ukrainian World Congress Stefan Romaniw said he estimated between 500 and 1000 people attended the Melbourne Rally, with similar crowds in other states.

“I think it’s an indication of how close this is to people’s hearts,” he told NCA NewsWire. .

“There’s a lot of support from the Australian people because we have the same values of democracy and freedom.”

UKRAINE PROTESTS
Camera IconFormer Labor leader Bill Shorten addresses the crowd. NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly Credit: News Corp Australia

Among the speakers to front the Melbourne rally were former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten, Senator David Van, Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and Steve Dimopoulos, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Victorian Premier.

“We even had a representative of a Russian group that is anti-Putin speaking at the event, asking for Putin to stop his aggression,” Mr Romaniw said.

UKRAINE PROTESTS
Camera IconThe Ukrainian community in Sydney gather at St Andrews Church in Lidcombe as the Russian Ukrainian relationship remains unstable. NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

Ukrainians, including members of Mr Romaniw’s family, were understandably anxious but determined to protect their way of life, he said.

“They’ve had this experience for the last eight years with the Russian aggression.

“We don’t want war … but if anything were to happen, apart from the regular Army and the reservists, there are about 1 million people who’ve now signed up to fight.

“If it were to happen we would be asking the international community to stand up, I know most are saying there will be no boots on the ground but there has to be something that is going to support Ukraine because we can’t have Ukrainian blood flowing because of Putin’s actions.”

UKRAINE PROTESTS
Camera IconThe Ukrainian community rally in Sydney. NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Romaniw called on governments around the world and in Australia to impose “real economic sanctions” to deter Russia from possible incursion into Ukraine.

“Asking some secretary at some embassy to leave is not a tough sanction,” he said.

Among other protesters to join Mr Romaniw in Melbourne was Liana Slipetsky, the president of the Noble Park chapter of the Ukraine Association of Victoria.

UKRAINE PROTESTS
Camera IconUkrainians protest at the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne on Sunday. NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly Credit: News Corp Australia

She has family in Ukraine and fears they could be killed if war breaks out.

“What’s motivated us is the unrelenting, continuing aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which is a sovereign and independent country and has the right to chose its destiny,” she said.

“In this day and age, 2022, this should not be happening.”

UKRAINE PROTESTS
Camera IconLabor frontbencher Jason Clare and Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke attended the Ukrainian community rally at St Andrews Church in Lidcombe. NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

In Sydney Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke and Labor frontbencher Jason Clare joined Ukrainian community members for a service at St Andrews Church in Lidcombe before a rally took place afterwards.

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