AN ESTIMATED 1,000 people packed into Radcliffe Square to stand in solidarity with those living in war-torn Ukraine.

The protest, organised by the Oxford University Ukrainian Society, called on the UK government to step up efforts to support the country and do more to pressure Vladimir Putin.

The society’s president, Kateryna Marina, urged Whitehall to make it easier for Ukrainians fleeing the war to seek asylum in the UK. She called on the government to provide more military and humanitarian support, work with other NATO nations to police a no fly zone over Ukraine, and increase sanctions on Russia including stopping Visa and Mastercard from processing payments in the country.

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Kateryna Marina

Earlier, the 25-year-old student from Kyiv told the Oxford Mail: “This is our second protest. We have advertised it in advance and we are hoping for a massive turnout.

“Our message to people in Oxford is to support Ukraine by any means possible, to urge their governments to do the same and oppose Russian aggression in Ukraine.”

She said of watching the invasion of her country last Thursday: “It was devastating – shocking – I was speechless.”

Maslova Victoire, 27, a first year DPhil student at Oxford, said: “I’m from Kyiv. My family right now are back in Kyiv. They’re very scared. They’re trying to hide from bullets and rockets.

“There is no other place I should be right now [other than the protest]. We all should unite because today Ukraine, but tomorrow it could be any other country.”

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Anastasia Yurkevich, 33, said: “I hate Putin. I hate [him]. I’m from Belarus. He killed my country. I don’t know what the next country will be. Poland? Lithuania? I don’t know and I think we must stop him.

“I have cried all day. I am crying because [some of] my family live in Ukraine.

“I want to do something, but I don’t know what.”

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Another Oxford student, a 23-year-old from St Petersburg who gave her name as Anna, said: “I’m very much against the war that’s happening now. I want to show to people that Russians are against it.”

Mike Hogan, 57, said: “I’m horrified by what is happening. I thought we’d consigned invasions of European territories into the dustbin of history. I thought we’d never see this kind of thing again. I’m absolutely horrified by it.”

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