PRAGUE (AP) — Ukrainians rallied Tuesday in the Czech capital of Prague for the second straight evening to condemn this week’s barrage of Russian missile strikes against cities across Ukraine and to demand more weapons from the West to protect their nation.
The protesters held blue-and-yellow crosses with the names of the cities hit by the Russian missiles.
“Ukraine needs air defenses to be able to prevent the massacres of the civilian population and destruction of our cities,” Anastasiia Sihnaievska told the crowd.
“We are protecting our right to live,” said Sihnaievska, who fled her town of Zhytomyr because of the Russian invasion.
People chanted “Russia’s terrorist!” and “More weapons for Ukraine!”
They unveiled a giant Ukrainian flag and displayed banners that read “Air defense systems for Ukraine,” “We will not forget, We will not forgive,” or “Stop bombing Ukraine.”
“It’s great that Europe supports us but we need more help,” said the 21-year-old Ivanna Mykuliak. A student of physics in Odesa, she came to the Czech Republic to work to help support her family in Ukraine.
Protesters who were not Ukrainian also joined the rally.
“Ukraine is fighting for us,” said Julie Levkova, a Czech who helped organize the protest. “I want to use all possibilities I have here and all my energy to fight for Ukraine in the Czech Republic.”
A similar rally took place in Romania’s capital of Bucharest on Monday.
On Tuesday, the presidents of 10 European nations — Czechia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Montenegro — said the deadly Russian missile strikes this week against civilians in Ukraine “constitute war crimes under international law.“
“On behalf of our states, we demand that Russia immediately stop attacking civilian targets,“ they said in a statement. “We will not cease our efforts to bring to court people responsible of yesterday’s crimes.“
Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine