BETWEEN 200 and 300 people gathered at Lerwick’s Market Cross at lunchtime to show their solidarity with the people of Ukraine and express their horror over the Russian military aggression against the country.
The vigil was organised by Bigton resident Annalie Irvine, who has friends in Ukraine, as well as North Isles councillor Ryan Thomson.
Following a minute silence, the Ukrainian national anthem was played, before there were short speeches from both organisers as well as a message of support from Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart who couldn’t be there.
Two further councillors, Shetland South member Robbie McGregor and Lerwick member John Fraser, were also in the crowd.
Speaking for many of those who had gathered at the Cross, Lynn Anderson said she wanted to “stand alongside Ukraine” and show her “solidarity with a country that is massacred and destroyed”.
“It is absolutely horrific and it’s something that should not be happening in this day and age – we should not be looking at the brink of what potentially could be a Third World War,” she said.
“It is horrific if you think that Russian soldiers actually didn’t even know they had gone to war – that poor guy who was crying because his mum didn’t know where he was.
“What kind of man sends people to war and doesn’t tell them?”
Irvine said she was amazed and pleased at the number of people who had turned out to show their solidarity given the short notice.
She said the turnout demonstrated that Shetlanders had taken the human suffering in the country “to heart” but added that Ukrainians wanted to see more commitment from the West, particularly a no-fly zone to stop Russian bombing raids.
“It’s controversial, but all that my friends in Ukraine want is for the West to close the air space and we all know that the West is terrified doing this.
“It’s really difficult to see what they are screaming for but know what impact that would have – and it is a balancing act: the suffering of the people of Ukraine versus the wider suffering, potentially, of everybody else in the world.
“It’s not an easy decision but is very difficult not be able to support my friends.”
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