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Volodymyr Zelensky calls for global protests to mark a month since the invasion of Ukraine

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for global protests to mark a month since Russia invaded Ukraine.

In his late-night video address, Zelensky called on people around the world to take to the streets on Thursday and show solidarity with Ukraine.

He said: “Come from your offices, your homes, your schools and universities, come in the name of peace, come with Ukrainian symbols to support Ukraine, to support freedom, to support life.”

Zelensky said that Russia was not only waging war against Ukraine, but also against the freedom of people everywhere.

It comes ahead of a NATO gathering of world leaders, including Boris Johnson, for an emergency summit.

Boris Johnson on his way to the NATO meeting in Brussels (PA)

Johnson will use the visit to lay out the details of a new support package for Ukrainian forces, including an additional 6,000 missiles comprising anti-tank and high-explosive weapons.

US President Joe Biden will also attend the meeting where Zelensky will address NATO members remotely.

The meeting is expected to sign the formation of four new battle groups in Eastern Europe.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the battle groups, each with between 1,000 and 1,500 soldiers, would be deployed to Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.

The alliance already has 40,000 troops in Europe under its direct command, almost 10 times the number it had a few months ago.

Stoltenberg told a news conference on Wednesday that forces would remain on the scene “as long as necessary.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (PA Media)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (PA Media)

“This is a significant reinforcement of our presence in the east with air, sea and ground forces,” he said.

“We are there to protect and defend allies, ready to massively respond to any potential threat or attack against any NATO-allied country.”

Before President Joe Biden attended the summit, the US administration announced that it had formally assessed that Russian forces had committed war crimes in Ukraine.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken cited the defeated city of Mariupol, where some 100,000 people remain trapped by chronic shortages of food and clean water.

In a call with Zelensky on Wednesday, Johnson called the shelling of civilian areas in the city “unconscionable” and demanded a response from the international community.

The prime minister said it was time for Western powers to increase the supply of military equipment to kyiv and increase sanctions against Moscow.

“We cannot and will not stand idly by while Russia reduces the towns and cities of Ukraine to dust,” he said in a statement ahead of the summit.

“The UK will work with our allies to step up military and economic support for Ukraine, strengthening its defenses as they turn the tide of this fight.

“One month after this crisis, the international community faces a choice. We can keep the flame of freedom alive in Ukraine, or risk it going out in Europe and the world.”

Ukraine protests in London (Getty Images)

Ukraine protests in London (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Mayor of London has announced that a “London Stands With Ukraine” peace march will be held on Saturday 26 March.

Sadiq Khan said the march “will give everyone who wants to show their solidarity an opportunity to join the people of Ukraine.”

The march will kick off from Park Lane at 2pm, with Yoko Ono’s ‘Imagine Peace’ message displayed in Piccadilly Lights.

A vigil will take place later in the afternoon in Trafalgar Square.

A month ago Vladimir Putin launched what he described as a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24.

Putin said Russia sought the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine, with troops attacking major cities including Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol.

Vladimir Putin (AP)

Vladimir Putin (AP)

In the months before the invasion, Russia began amassing up to 190,000 troops on its border with Ukraine.

NATO allies including the UK and the US have condemned the attack and imposed heavy economic sanctions on Russia in a bid to destabilize its economy and punish the Putin regime.

More than 3.5 million Ukrainians have already fled the country, according to the United Nations.

Donate here: Please donate what you can to the appeal of the Evening Standard Ukraine (EN)

Donate here: Please donate what you can to the appeal of the Evening Standard Ukraine (EN)


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