‘We are in shock, we did not choose this war’: Russians speak out against invasion of Ukraine
- NQ looks at how the war is being views by both Ukraine and Russia
- Protests took place in Manchester against Russia's invasion of Ukraine
One is Ukrainian, the other from Russia, but both are implacably imposed to the invasion currently being carried out under President Putin’s orders.
Natasha is a blogger who specialises in showcasing the ‘real’ side of Russia to thousands of individuals on her Tiktok and Instagram accounts.
She is one of the many thousands who took part in protests in St Petersburg to show solidarity with Ukraine and speak out against their president for his actions.
Those who took part in the protests in St Petersburg were at chance of risking imprisonment. Natasha saw people being taken away for expressing an opinion on the war and denouncing Vladimir Putin.
She said: “Most of us are in shock. I feel devastation and anger, I wasn’t choosing this, I wasn’t even choosing this government.
“I have friends and relatives in Ukraine and I worry about their safety but the only thing we can do is to speak openly, write letters to local authorities and ask them to respond to this.”
In a video taken in St Petersburg, Natasha showed buses lined up to take away citizens who speak out against the invasion and cause a disturbance for showing their anger at what Putin is doing in Ukraine.
NQ also spoke to Ukrainian Anton Kotee famous for his endeavours at Chernobyl and featured on the documentary Inside Chernobyl with Ben Fogle.
Anton lives in Kyiv and suffers from multiple sclerosis. He was woken at 4am by a friend who warned him of the impending invasion.
Like many Ukrainians, he attempted to take as much money as he could out of the bank before travelling to his parent’s house to escape with his family.
Anton was able to escape the city before the explosions began and headed towards the Romanian border with his family and girlfriend, but due to the high volume of people escaping they were turned away and sent to the Moldovian border.
Anton, who is exempt from joining the frontline, was sent away and told to travel back to Kyiv to receive an exemption stamp.
The Ukrainian government implemented martial law which included an order for 18-60-year-olds to join arms against the invading Russian troops.
His situation is similar to many in Ukraine with young men not allowed past the borders with their families and mothers having to say goodbye to their children and husbands as they go to protect their country.
Anton expressed his dismay at the war and how frightened he was of what is happening but is glad his family is safe while he awaits further news about leaving.
He says he has seen children crying at being separated from families, and tanks rolling past heading towards Kyiv.
Another Ukrainian citizen Yuli reached out to NQ on Twitter to say “Ukrainians have always been free people who were ready to fight for their freedom and rights, what’s going on right now shows that we are not breakable and will fight for our land till the end. We can’t help but be scared and angry”.
This anger was felt worldwide with protests set up in cities all around including in Manchester.
The Ukrainian culture centre in Manchester, Dnipro, organised a protest in Piccadilly gardens for Ukrainians living in the northwest to come together and voice their anger at what Putin is doing, and to ask the British government to do more to help families and friends get to safety.
The show of solidarity from Manchester could be felt throughout with shouts of “no war” and “stand with Ukraine” could be heard all around.
Young children were carried along by their families holding signs painted in the Ukrainian flag and wearing traditional outfits.
Whole families were crying in thought of their families trapped in Ukraine and those who have lost their lives in the bombings.
Earlier in the week, a small gathering was set up outside of St Peter’s square where Manchester City footballer Oleksandr Zinchenko, who is from Ukraine, was seen with his family in deep thought about the events taking place in his country.
At a recent city game, applause was heard as Olexsandr embraced Everton player Vitaliy Mykolenko, also from Ukraine.
Bolton Ukrainian Club will be opening its doors tonight (Thursday) from 7pm-9pm to accept donations to be sent to Poland for refugees from Ukraine.