UKRAINIAN families who fled their country following Putin's invasion 18 months ago will be marching peacefully through the streets of York tomorrow (Thursday) to mark Ukrainian Independence Day.

And they are inviting local York people to join them, to send a message of solidarity.

The peace march will leave the Spurriergate Centre at 5pm, before marching up Coney Street to the Mansion House and St Helen's Square.

From there, the marchers will head for York Minster.

"There, we will reflect on what has gone on in the last year, and will also sing the Ukrainian National Anthem," said Sergiy Sokolov, the chair of the York Ukrainian Society which is organising the march.

Sergiy said there were something like 300 Ukrainians now living in York who fled their country following the invasion by Russia.

Most are women and children, who were forced to leave their menfolk behind.

Many are now desperate to be able to return home, Sergiy said.

When they fled their homes last year, they 'were not prepared to be away from Ukraine and their loved ones for such a long time," Sergiy said.

York Press: A rally in York last year against Russian aggression in UkraineA rally in York last year against Russian aggression in Ukraine (Image: Supplied)

Tomorrow’s march and subsequent gathering at the Minster will be a chance to bring the Ukrainian community in York together to remember their homes, and their loved ones still back in Ukraine.

It will also be a chance to remember those who have lost their lives in the 'horrible war' - both soldiers, and innocent civilians caught in the cross-fire, Sergiy said.

But it will also be a message of defiance to Putin, he added. "We have not given up and we will not give up."

Sergiy stressed the march would not be just for Ukrainians.

The hope is that ordinary York people will turn up too, to show their solidarity.

"We want to reach out to members of the local community, so that we can all be there together," Sergiy said.


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It was on February 24, 2022, that Putin's tanks rolled into Ukraine.

There was fierce fighting and bombing in and around cities in Ukraine’s far east, such as Kharkiv.

Many Ukrainian women and children were forced to flee - leaving their menfolk behind. Adult men were not allowed to leave the country.

Since then, something like 300 Ukrainians - mainly women and children - have come to live in York under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Many live with host families.

The York Ukrainian Society has begun holding drop-in sessions, along with arts and crafts groups, at the Spurriergate Centre for the city's Ukrainian community.

But from this Thursday, these will become more regular - so that there is an event at the Spurriergate Centre every fortnight on a Thursday afternoon.

Ukrainian Independence Day on August 24 marks the country's Declaration of Independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

It has become the main state holiday in modern Ukraine.