Vancouverites rally against invasion of Ukraine, as Russia's consul to Vancouver resigns
Event billed as the "Stand with Ukraine against Russian Invasion" rally
Hundreds of Vancouverites rallied in support of Ukraine on Saturday afternoon downtown, protesting Russia's ongoing invasion of the country.
Protesters gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery, many waving Ukrainian flags, as the Russian military continued its attack on Ukraine, including in its capital Kyiv. The invasion has sparked Canadian and international financial sanctions.
The rally in Vancouver, billed as the "Stand with Ukraine against Russian Invasion" rally, is one of many happening in major cities around the world.
"I'm here today because I am in support of Ukraine, and I want to yell as long as I can to stop Russian aggression," Julia Tchezganova, who identified as being of Russian ancestry, told CBC News at Saturday's rally. "In Canada, this is all we can do ... to show our voice and solidarity with Ukrainian people.
"I'm pro-democracy and against the [Russian] regime."
Speakers at the rally led the crowd chanting, "Stand with Ukraine," on the gallery's steps.
A Vancouverite from Ukraine attending Saturday's rally said her parents had to flee their downtown Kyiv, Ukraine apartment this week because of the bombings.
Mariya Miloshevych said her relatives back home have been huddling in bomb shelters and hiding in parking garages.
"The last couple days have been really, really hard," she told CBC News. "My mom, my dad, my sister, my brother, my two grandmas are back there [in Ukraine].
"The best thing I can do is tell their stories. I'm here today to spread the awareness ... The more people are aware of this, the more people will realize how insane that in 2022 we have bombs destroying buildings and killing people."
'I am no longer the Honorary Consul'
Meanwhile, CBC News has confirmed that Russia's official representative in Vancouver has resigned from her post following the country's invasion of Ukraine this week.
Erin Campbell, who was the Russian Federation's honorary consul in the city since 2016, told CBC News she quit the role but would not be commenting further.
Asked about her resignation, Campbell said in a text message, "Yes, I am no longer the Hon. Consul."
Russia's embassy in Canada confirmed its ambassador, Oleg Stepanov, is aware of Campbell's decision.
"Ambassador Stepanov accepted Ms.Campbell's resignation," an embassy spokesperson said in an email Saturday. "And Global Affairs Canada was informed about it by the Embassy's diplomatic note."
VPD work to 'mitigate disruption'
Vancouver police said its officers were prepared for "significant traffic delays throughout downtown Vancouver today due to several planned protests," the force said in a tweet Saturday.
"We will have extra officers working to mitigate the disruption. Please plan alternate routes if possible."
Following the Russian invasion, British Columbia announced it was ending sales of Russian alcohol products in provincial liquor stores.