British Columbia

Hundreds across B.C. attend rallies in support of Ukraine

Hundreds gathered Sunday at city hall in Prince George, B.C., for a rally in support of Ukraine following the country's invasion by Russia. Hundreds more attended a similar rally in Victoria on Sunday afternoon, with many wearing the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag.

Ukrainian flag to be raised at Prince George city hall, mayor says

A rally outside city hall in Prince George, B.C., on Sunday in support of Ukraine following the country's invasion by Russia. (Nadia Mansour/CBC)

Hundreds gathered Sunday on the steps of city hall in Prince George, B.C., at a rally in support of Ukraine following the country's invasion by Russia.

At the rally, Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall said the Ukrainian flag would be raised at city hall this week. Members of local First Nations communities also spoke at the event, which included songs and prayers for people in Ukraine. 

Tatiana Bodenham, 16, attended the gathering with her mother. They both have have Ukrainian family and friends. Bodenham said the show of support is helping her process the tragedy unfolding.

'What's happening is, of course, very unfortunate and makes my heart heavy but seeing this gives me light and gives me hope knowing that this will end eventually," she said.

Many of those attending had ties to Ukraine and showed solidarity by holding the country's flag and wearing the national colours of blue and yellow. (Nadia Mansour/CBC)

University of Northern B.C interim president Geoff Payne said the Prince George school, which has a number of students and faculty with ties to Ukraine, will work to ensure "any students that are in the system from Ukraine, we can screen those quickly and get those students through."

Elsewhere in B.C., hundreds more attended a rally outside the legislature in Victoria on Sunday afternoon, many of them dressed in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag. 

Hundreds of people gathered in solidarity for the people of Ukraine during a rally organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress on the steps of the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on Sunday. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)
Anastasiya Mysak and Mark Shevchenko were among the hundreds who attended the rally at the legislature. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

It followed a large rally in Vancouver on Saturday, where many signed petitions to push for the closure of Ukrainian airspace and donated to relief efforts in the country. 

Talks planned for Monday

Delegations from Ukraine and Russia prepared to meet for talks over the invasion on Monday, but a B.C. expert on the region said there was little to indicate the discussions would have any effect on the conflict. 

Florian Gassner, associate professor at the University of British Columbia's department of central, eastern and northern European studies, said the planned talks seem "very tentative in nature" as the Russian delegation would include low-level officials. 

"We haven't seen any of the items on the table yet," Gassner said. "Most likely, it seems that Russia will continue to go in with maximum demands. So unless Ukraine is willing at this point to give up a lot, it seems very unlikely that this would move somewhere, but we can always remain hopeful. Maybe there is a breakthrough."

Economic sanctions coming Monday will freeze more than US $400 billion of Russian money in Western banks, he said. 

"The Russian economy could basically implode and that would have ripple effects to the world economy too," Gassner added.

With files from Kate Partridge, Ashley Moliere and The Associated Press

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