Mother’s Rally for Ukraine draws hundreds to the Russian embassy in Ottawa

Chants of “We stand with Ukraine” echoed along Charlotte Street in Ottawa as dozens carried Ukrainian flags or signs of solidarity, while others held back in front of the Russian embassy. Those gathered, calling for an end to the invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s not a war it’s an invasion,” said Olenka Bastien with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), Ottawa chapter. “An illegal attack by Russian forces and there’s so many people impacted.”

In front of the embassy dozens of strollers sat empty, a symbol of the toll of the violence. Each one representing a Ukrainian child killed in the war.

“All this is ruining Ukraine and peoples’ lives,” said Iuliia Fil, who brought her nine-month-old daughter to the rally. Fil, who moved to Canada seven years ago from Ukraine has many family members still living there, including her father.

“I’m devastated,” she said.

The rally comes as Ukrainian forces discover the bodies of dead civilians in the streets of Bucha, some bound and others showing signs of torture.

“Pure disgust and heartache and heartbreak,” said Alexandra, who did not provide a last name. She was among the crowd gathered in front of the Russian embassy. “It’s unacceptable to turn away from what’s happening. It’s unacceptable to let this go on.”

“It’s kids just like mine that are being killed in Ukraine not just kids but women in Ukraine,” said Jake who brought his two young children to the rally. “Even my kids, nine and seven, just understand how wrong this is.”

As the war in Ukraine carries on, organizers with the UCC continue to call for tougher sanctions on Russia.

“When civilians and people are attacked for no reason it has to be acknowledged,” said Bastien. “These are war crimes and that has to be acknowledged by our government and the allies across the world.” 

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