Czechs mark second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Czechs are marking two years since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine with commemorative events, marches, rallies and fundraisers taking place all around the country on Saturday.

In Prague, thousands of people gathered on Old Town Square on Saturday afternoon at the United for Ukraine rally in support of the Ukrainian struggle against Russian aggression.

Petr Pavel | Photo: Kateřina Šulová,  ČTK

President Petr Pavel held an opening speech, in which he said the goal of the war was not to defeat Russia, but to get it out of Ukraine and allow it to develop freely. According to the president, the West has no choice but to support Ukraine if it doesn’t want Vladimir Putin's vision of the world to prevail.

Apart from thanking the volunteers, Mr. Pavel also expressed pride that Czechia was among the first to start helping Ukraine with arms and ammunition supplies. The participants of the event observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the war in Ukraine

The rally was part of a broader initiative called the Day for Ukraine, organised by some of the country’s prominent civic organisations, including People in Need, Memory of Nations and Million Moments for Democracy. It also involved March for Ukraine leading from Smíchov’s Kinský Square to the meeting on Old Town Square.

Photo: Kateřina Šulová,  ČTK

Czech parliament speakers Markéta Pekarová Adamová and Miloš Vystrčil, along with the Chargé d'Affaires of the Ukrainian Embassy, Vitalii Usatyi, and several other MPs and senators, held speeches at the monument to the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko on Kinský Square.

Photo: Václav Šálek,  ČTK

The day culminated with a concert at Prague’s Forum Karlín, which got underway after 5 p.m. The proceeds of the concert will be used for the purchase of medical equipment for the Ukrainian army.

Commemorative events and meetings were also held in other Czech towns and cities, including Brno, Olomouc, Pilsen, Litoměřice and České Budějovice.

Czechia was one of the first countries to offer vocal and active support for Ukraine following Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country on February 24, 2022. It has also provided temporary protection visas to around half a million refugees from Ukraine.

Author: Ruth Fraňková